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  • Yoyo Yuan

The Power of a Name

As a Chinese girl, I'm a foreigner and a stranger to the United States. I have black hair, yellowish skin, and black pupils. I am a completely strange person in most Americans' views. Because in Americans' views, Asians look alike. Last year, I came to the United States to continue my education. I adapted pretty well, actually. I made friends with a lot of people in my grade. I talked and chatted with teachers. I also chatted with my parents, on the phone of course. However, there were small issues going on. Chinese names are complicated. They are hard for Americans to pronounce. I can see how others struggle to pronounce my name right, so I'm ok with it, to an extent. But it just feels bad when you have your name read wrong. It feels as if you are not viewed as important by other people. As we all know, names are one of the most important parts of a person's identity. Mispronouncing names is just disrespectful towards other people. Although I understand why they are pronounced wrong, it just feels bad as someone who's experienced it.

In addition, I always get mistaken with other Asians. When I was in class last year, the teacher just kept calling me the name of another Asian. This happened to me not only in classes, but at sports, in carpool, at parties, etc. Again, it's kind of the same thing as our names, in the sense that it's kind of confusing for other people to get it. But I would really appreciate it if people, mostly teachers, could spend more time looking and finding out how different and unique everyone is. Spend more time developing a way to tell people apart. That way, everyone will be happy, and we can create a respectful environment for all. People are capable of telling apart twins, so why not just be more serious and careful when telling apart people from the same racial background? It may not be important to you, but it's really important to those who have been on the other side of it.

These are the problems I faced during my time in the United States. It can happen to anyone, not just Asians. Everyone's identity is important.

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