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Racial Names

Posted on 2015.12.24 at 01:05
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Okay, so I read an article someone posted about racism and laughing at names. I was going to comment but realized it was a waste of breath so I refrained. In the article it claimed that when we laugh at the names of African Americans, we are racist and if we want to end racism it starts with not laughing at a person's name.

Now, I fully agree that some people who laugh at names are racist...however, I do not think everyone who does is racist. First of all, many cultures will laugh at what sounds strange in their language and it has nothing to do with their sentiments towards people or culture; it merely sounds strange. Second, this article assume the only names laughed at are African American names and the ones it listed were very typical and not amusing in the least. If you are laughing at the name Aliyah, perhaps you are racist. However, if you found the spelling of Shitonya amusing, your brain may just be recognizing the separate words in that spelling. If the latter, there is also a good chance you might find the name of the Asian student, Clit, or the Latina student, Vagina, amusing. Let's not even get into the ones that you have no idea how to pronounce. It isn't a black vs. white thing; it is the same fucking thing that happens when you are translating from one language to the next. I speak four and I have often laughed when something translates so poorly or a word sounds absolutely ridiculous.

For example, take the Japanese word for father: chichi. It does not mean father in Spanish. It doesn't make me racist to find that amusing either. It makes me literate in multiple languages and not overly serious about life. Let's look at my own damn name. I don't go by my first name because most people can't fucking pronounce it--which baffles the fuck out of me. My middle name is almost always misspelled. It's annoying, but mostly I just laugh at people because really it is them that looks like the fool. Had I been able to have a child, I would have named him Kieran and I can assure you it would have doomed him to a life of misspelling and mispronunciation. It isn't a racist thing; it is merely a HUMAN thing.

Humans like to categorize EVERYTHING. Then when we encounter something outside of our box, we either respond with fear or humor. I think what bothers me the most about the post was that it implied that if we stopped laughing it would be a step to ending racism. While I understand a change in perspective is needed, this isn't what needs to change. I would rather someone wear their hate openly than hide it and pretend to the world to love. The change in perspective must come from society and culture: that we embrace rather than fear or dismiss what is different.

The irony of the post was that all cultures encounter this type of thing...it is not indicative of just American or white vs. black. Racism stems from a much deeper hatred than the author, or poster for that matter, seem to realize. Racism, like all forms of hatred, is a problem but we must also guard against blindly jumping on the band wagon in the name of change. Determining what a person finds funny is not a step towards ending anything other than encouraging deceit and further pushing us from embracing the wonderful uniqueness in every human being.

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