Say My Name (Correctly!)

My job responsibilities have grown, and I find myself in more Zoom calls with senior colleagues I’ve never met. A lot of people find my name hard to pronounce, so I make a point to introduce myself clearly when I enter the Zoom room. More often than not, people don’t remember, and they botch my name.

This didn’t happen in in-person meetings as much because people would make eye contact instead of attempting my name. It’s infuriating and brings back a lot of memories from school, when teachers could never pronounce my name. Should I interrupt these colleagues and tell them how to say it correctly?— Elaheh Nozari, New York

How to Learn All of Your Students' Names on the First Day of School

The headline”Say My Name, Say My Name, Say My Name (Correctly!) jumped out at me at me like a mad lion, and annoyed the hell out of me before I could even read Roxane Gay’s response. I had formulated my own- people who don’t take the time to learn an individual’s name are assholes, to me learning someone’s name and properly being able to say and spell it is a sign of respect. Names are important. Your colleagues reveal themselves when they don’t extend you the courtesy of pronouncing your name properly or asking for guidance.  I have always taken the time when I don’t know someone’s name to ask kindly, how do you pronounce your name? Do you prefer to be called by that name or do you preferred to be called something else? There is a peculiar American resistance to the unfamiliar. As you well know, people will mispronounce your name, shorten it, bestow an Americanized nickname upon you without your consent, and act aggrieved when you expect the dignity of being called by your proper name, with the proper pronunciation.

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5 Responses to Say My Name (Correctly!)

  1. adguru101 says:

    Oh, this is something that aggravates me too! My name is pretty straightforward: pronounced the way it is spelled (Alisa =”uh-Lisa”), yet it is often pronounced “El-liss-uh”, “A-Lisha”, “Allison”, “Eliza”, “Elissa”, etc… even by people who have met me before. ARRGGGHHH. Yes, it is completely rude not to bother to learn someone’s name, and don’t get me started on attitudes towards so-called “ethnic” names from a culture other than one’s own!

    Liked by 2 people

    • msw blog says:

      I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way, and yes I too can go on about so called  so-called “ethnic” names from a culture other than one’s own! It all just pisses me off…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It doesn’t bother me. As long as you don’t call me the B or N word, I never correct you. One of my contractors called Sarah for months, until he heard someone else call me the correct name. Yeah, I don’t care!

    Liked by 1 person

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