Kind of rude...

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by LemacST, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. LemacST

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    I'm about to rant so if you're not in the mood, please don't read on.

    I am an immigrant from another country but I moved to the United States at a young age, so I speak English fluently and unless maybe you see my name, you'd never pick me out as being an immigrant. I stayed with the same uncommon/foreign name that I was born with. When I went to the citizenship office in order to finally become a citizen, I was interviewed by some girl, maybe 5 years older than me, that seemed pretty jaded/bitter that day. She asked me a series of questions, including if I wanted to legally change my name. I assume they ask everyone this when becoming a citizen and I said no. "You sure?", she asked. Thinking back retrospectively, it seemed like she asked it sarcastically, or with a vague attempt to offend out of her own personal pleasure...I mean, why else would she ask twice, you know? I didn't say anything (or really think about it) afterwards but thinking back now, it just seems extremely rude and it really offended me.

    I don't want to share my name here due to privacy reasons, but several times in my life has someone responded negatively in my face to my name. It's a name that is really only odd in America and not at all in other countries. I remember one in response in particular by an acquaintance's white trash mother: "(My name)? Your momma must have not loved you". I know there have been similar reactions when someone tells another person my name while I'm not present. I do have to admit that I've also gotten positive feedback whether or not I was there to hear it "Wow, (My name)? That's a cool name", but still, the negative still leaves me self-conscious in settings where I have to meet people or introduce myself.

    I'm not sure what gives people the impression that judging someone for having an odd name is any different from judging someone for having an oddly shaped nose, or something like that. It seems people are really ballsy or really stupid and ignorant to things that might offend others. Anyways, I'm wondering if anyone else has had similiar experiences with having an uncommon name.
     
  2. ManlyBanisters

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    I have a slightly unusual name and I know what you mean. There are 2 or 3 countries in the world where my name is common, but not my country of origin or the country I live in right now. Mostly I get positive comments on the actual name but what I do get that pisses me off no end is mispronunciation.

    How hard is it to listen to someone and repeat back what they say? But no - I have a 2 syllable name, the first syllable is emphasised, the second not - and yet about 50% of people in my home country do it the other way round, despite repeated correction from me. I have got so pissed off that I contract my name down to the first syllable only when introducing myself, and mainly go by that shortened version anyway as it is the same as a diminutive for a much more common name.

    Here in France the middle consonant of my name is not part of the phonemes of the language so it is next to nigh on impossible to get the fuckers to pronounce it - that I don't mind so much - I have 2 friends who manage it, for the rest I have changed my name to a diminutive version they can pronounce (different again from the one I use in Ireland).

    In short I agree with LemacST - a person's name, especially the first name, is extremely personal and getting it wrong or commenting negatively on it is just rude. I always make the effort to pronounce peoples' names correctly and when I meet people whose names are strange to me I will either say nothing or say something nice. I love my name, it is a big part of my identity and I find it easier to get on with the people who make an effort to call me by it properly.
     
  3. omgiswatdeysay

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    There are some rude people in this world my friend. So much hate, so much anger...Why? I'm sorry for the embarrassment that so many have caused you..On a lighter side of things, if your mother did happen to name you something to the effect of Dogshit (all joking, not to be taken seriously) that would be slightly F'ed up. My name is common, but if you knew only knew how many assholes have my name, lol.
     
  4. green carnation

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    I have fantasized about having a name (both forename and surname) that I didn't have to spell to every one each time. My names are completely english but there are choices of the spelling in my first name and a slightly difficult pronunciation of my surname! At least if it were foreign I would accept having to spell it out. But then would I find my name boring if it was a name everyone knew how to spell straight out?

    People are rude, I agree. But also scared of the unknown and an unusual name clearly freaks out some small minded people.

    I always attempt to pronounce somebodies name as correctly as I can- as it is a common curtesy. Things like this only show how ignorant and ill mannered others are
     
  5. Northland

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    This sounds eerily similar to my life story...
    I think it may be protocol which dictates that they must repeat the question to all persons. It's another slap at the immigrant; in that it presumes the applicant for ciizenship is too stupid to understand English (they even offered me the citizenship test in my 'native language').

    The following happened after that:

    Me:"Excuse me? Mr. Darling," (he was not living up to his name), "take another look at the papers in front of you. I have been in the U.S.A. since before I spoke my first word. I wasn't even three months old. To me, English is my native language."

    Him:"So would you like to take the test in your native language and/or the language of the land of your birth or the language of the country from which you came when you came to The U.S.?" (my jaw dropped open and my eyes popped wide).


    Me:"Oh for crying out loud. Were you born without ears? No. You appear to have them. Now listen to me carefully! ...I...have...been...in...the...U.S.A....since...I...was...a...baby...
    English...is...my...first...language." I saw the look of confusion and added: "Ga ga goo goo." after which I rolled my eyes-something else which he didn't understand.

    Him: "We don't have the test here in that language. Let me check with my supervisor to find out if it can be sent here." He took his pencil and jabbed the telephone buttons, I reached over and pressed the hangup button down. Needless to say, I was escorted to a separate office and interrogated for several hours. Once I was cleared, I was taken to another room and with 4 federal workers watching, I was given the citizenship test. They informed me during that exciting time, that they could have me arrested, deported, and held against my consent for a long period of time if I did not fully cooperate. (this was before the Patriot Act went into effect-it may be more insane by now)

    People are rude and unbelievabley stupid (or just ignorant out of being uninformed). My name (given name) doesn't tend to be a problem. My surname (family adjunct) has created a whole slew of issues and comments. Still, it's far better than my oldest brother who has a name which causes people to step back in a mix of fear and uncertainty. I try not to get too shaken up by it (although airports are a nightmare). Additionally, I no longer hope that anyone can spell the surname correctly-even my green card had that wrong (which only led to more difficulty upon my journey towards citizenship).
     
  6. D_Roland_D_Hay

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    It seems as though ethnic names always seem to cause a comment of some sort. My last name is usually butchered-I have grown immune to the comments. I am proud of my heritage and don't let it bother me.
     
  7. D_Theophallus Kneedgroin

    D_Theophallus Kneedgroin Account Disabled

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    I love your last name....it's sexy.

    I don't know if my would be considered ethnic (it's English) but still gets butchered.
     
  8. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Isn't it rather rude on your part to refer to an acquaintance's mother as "white trash"?

    An appropriate response on your part would be, "It's an (national origin) name and it means "--------."
     
  9. Mr. Snakey

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    When it comes to life we often get back what we put in. Your casual use of just two words is the answer to your problem.
     
  10. tripod

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    Where in the hell are you guys getting the word "white trash" out of this? I have read these posts over and over and not once did they use this term... am I missing something?
     
  11. VeeP

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    From the OP:

     
  12. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Some insults are easy to miss. Others are quite obvious.
     
  13. tripod

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    Wow... my speed reading skills are for shit! lol!!!

    What is up with the white trash sensitivity though? I've never understood it... white people are privileged and the "chosen" people of this country... white people hold all of the cards... and then wanna freak the hell out when someone utters the word white trash.

    I have had one lady look at me and say, "Don't you EVER say that word again!" when using it in private conversation. The lady was a racist though...

    When I refer to white trash I implicitly mean WHITE TRASH! I am not being racist, I am referring to an ignorant, little or non educated, slightly racist or racist person. The only people I ever call white trash are white supremacist types. When I use it in casual conversation, I only offend racists or insanely politically correct types.

    I have met plenty of white trash people, I live among a shitload of em'.

    Does it upset white people because they feel that it challenges their great power in society? Does it upset them because they are white supremacists deep inside and can't stand any diminishing of the great white way? Were they called white trash as a child and are now ultra sensitive to the word?

    What upsets you individually about the term?
     
  14. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Who determines that a person qualifies as trash?
     
  15. midlifebear

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    Agreed, one of the previous posters must be reading multi-dimensionally. I, however, am more than happy to use the terms "faggot" and "white trash." For I am a card-carrying old faggot and all my ancestors on my mother's side of my family were unquestionably "white trash" in the sense that their personal histories read like rough drafts of Faulkner's short story Barn Burning; poor share croppers from the south whose origins seem to have been formed in the mist of the hills of Kentucky and the Smoky Mountains. They were definitely a pack of grifters who lived rather questionably on the edge of what was and wasn't legal. I do not, however, use those terms to refer to others than myself or my family. I do use the term "trailer trash" as a general descriptive term for those, whether they live in mobile homes or not, who appear and behave in public with less than common courtesy and manners.

    As for changing one's last name just to satisfy Immigration or the State Department, fuck 'em. I have a dear friend whose family is fourth generation rich Seattle-ites. The family name is a common two-part Portuguese surname: the first beginning with a capital D and second part followed by a capital F. With the exception of his wife and daughter, only myself and a close circle of friends have taken the time to learn how to pronounce it correctly. Therefore, when someone enunciates his last name incorrectly, he's discovered that it's usually someone who wants to sell him something or asking for money. He uses this to his advantage to screen people he knows and doesn't know.

    Tangentially, I celebrate anyone on LPSG whose real name is Mike Hunt! :biggrin1:
     
  16. tripod

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    White trash doesn't mean that they are to be set out on the corner and picked up by the city... trash is a euphemism for "backwards" and "ignorant". It has nothing to do with Oscar the grouch.
     
  17. ManlyBanisters

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    Agreed - and not only that... in the OP Lem may have referred to the woman that way because he is cross and felt insulted by her reation to his name, it doesn't say anywhere he said that to her face - so why would his opinion of her as white trash have anything to do with the way she reacted to him and chose to be rude about his name.
     
  18. Phil Ayesho

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    hard to say without hearing the name...

    It may mean something or have a connotation that is unflattering...

    FOr example, in America you probably would not want to be saddled with the name Mike Hunt.
    It seems a perfectly ordinary name... but when read aloud it sounds like " my cunt".

    I knew a guy with this name in grade school, and everytime his name was read at assembly, the whole class tittered.

    I know an Asian guy whose business card shows his name in Pinyin... but Americans are not familiar with pinyin pronunciation and to them it looks like its pronounced "Yucky Man".

    He gets a reaction every time...
    On the other hand... he points out, no one EVER fails to remember his name...


    Thirdly. Americans understand that your name is something your parents gave to you... they have a sense of humor, and sympathy, over the fact of unfortunate names... by that I mean they do not see it as applying in any way to YOU personally...


    The best way to deal with it is to, first, figure out WHAT it is about the name that people are reacting to...so you can understand why folks respond that way...
    And be willing to laugh about it...

    Its just a noise associated with you as an identifier...

    Don't take it so personally...


    I also knew an guy whose mother named him Tumor Ferguson.
    How would you like to have the name Tumor?

    When folks would comment that that was an odd name... he would reply, "it grows on you".
     
  19. SteveHd

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    LemacST, without knowing what the name is, I think you overreacted. It may be a custom in the bureaucracy to press individuals with difficult names to change them. Over time they may be become insensitive but without intending to be.
     
  20. SeeDickRun

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    Guys, I know what you mean about names. Callers trying to sell me something always mispronounce it. People calling me in a room full of people mispronouce it. I always correct them, and maybe the next time the see me they remember it.

    I like my name though. I've always laughed that my parents never meet a surname they didn't like. I've got three of them. lol
     
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