This is a very important piece. Not many will understand it. A recent encounter has made me realise that not many would. They did not have to face this and probably never will. They may not be of an Anglo Saxon race or origin nor European beginnings but they may already been born with privileged passports and into so-called “World Powers” so they will never face these issues. They won’t face someone mispronouncing their name nor do they have to face the struggle between appropriating secularness with religiousness to accommodate others into their work and all of that. When you have ancestry from other places you will always be mapped from there. Many people who are probably from a place where their origins are erased or you know severed ties with may not face this problem as they have already cut that limb from them and called this place the new place or something so they are always beginning in this specific here and so from them they are just this and so communicating only a certain “this” when you are in a specific “there” is much easier. I asked a person at an airport where they are from. It was the Bangladesh airport and he said UK but I had to ask twice to iterate he may have Bangladeshi ancestry. I did this just to be sure as South Asian can mean also Indian and Pakistani or Sri Lankan or Nepali. But the fact he was recalcitrant to say it and was a bit avoidant of me later, only initially made me upset, but thing is he lives in a culture maybe he is still seen as a bit of a foreigner or with foreign origins and to be reminded of that comes with the baggage with many other painful experiences that this post makes me aware of. And many people will never have to face this. They are spared this pain. This feeling of isolation. And then they also think this means they need not practice any empathy. I have seen people uppity on this and I am afraid I do not like their attitude when it becomes that. Then again, I am happy this post was written. It was very needed.
It was raining heavily as I waited for my Uber to arrive. My thoughtful Uber driver called me and calmly made sure of where I exactly was. It made the processes of hopping into the car as soon as it arrived fairly easy. I got myself seated comfortably in the car when Akram turned around and confirmed my destination. As we were on our way, Akram looked into the rare view mirror and asked, “How do you pronounce your name?”
“Well, I did pronounce it right until I came to States. To make it easy for people here to pronounce… currently, I say Fat-ma.” I said, pretty disappointed at myself. Growing up I had issues with my name because I didn’t think it was cool enough. He asked me where I am from and when I asked him the same, he said he was from Iraq and we moved on…
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