Beliefnet
City of Brass

This is probably more worthy of mockery than scorn:

A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification
legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are
“easier for Americans to deal with.

The exchange
occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony
from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese
Americans.

Ko told the
committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often
have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may
have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is
used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

“Rather than
everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather
difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your
citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?”
Brown said.

Brown later told
Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot
easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a
name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to
deal with?”

God forbid that Americans learn someone’s name. No, if your name is too ethnic, then it’s your responsibility to make it simpler, i.e. less Asian. What is particularly ignorant here is that the whole point of the confusion that Ko alluded to is that Chinese and other oriental immigrants often do adopt english names in public to make things easier – my childhood Korean friend (citizen born in the US just like myself) Yongsuk goes by Dave, for example. Other asian friends and acquaintances of mine are James, Johnny, Phil, even a Rosemarie. The problem arises not because the legal, transliterated name is too complicated, it’s because new and/or elderly immigrants might get confused by the process because it is sometimes unclear what name to use. The desire is to have their vote expressed and counted; it’s easy to see why someone might be worried that if they used their real name, then no one mihgt know who they are, because everyone calls them Jim. It’s a matter of voter education and some effort at simplifying the registration process to accomodate this pootential confusion so no citizen – especially an immigrant – is excluded from this basic democratic function.

However we desis, admittedly, are pretty stubbborn about insisting on our full names in all their glory. So in the spirit of compromise, I am doing my part. Henceforth I will be known as Osbourne Piszczatowski.  Call me Ozzie P for short.

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