DIY Faith Double Helix Opinion Simran Jeet Singh: Articles of Faith

Dear America: Please stop expecting us to whitewash our names

A wall of name stickers in Chicago. Photo by Travis Wise/Creative Commons

(RNS) — It took my wife and me almost six weeks to name our first daughter after she was born. We spent all our free time trying to find the perfect name, one that reflected her personality and our aspirations for her, and one that carried the memories of her family and ancestors in Punjab.

We ultimately settled on Jiya Sundari Kaur, a name that, when taken together, means “A beautiful and divine life, sovereign from casteism and patriarchy.”

Six months ago, we named our second daughter, Azaadi Amro Kaur, which loosely translates to “Eternal Freedom, sovereign from casteism and patriarchy.”

Both of their middle names are drawn from historical Sikh female leaders. Their shared last name, which is different from mine, is a royal name that Sikh women have carried for centuries. The name is a mark of their sovereignty and a statement of resistance against social distinctions and oppression. Preserving this last name was of central importance in naming our daughters.

For my wife and me, naming our daughters was a deeply personal, spiritual and collective experience. That has long been part of the Sikh naming process.

We also knew implicitly that giving our daughters traditional Sikh names would have consequences. We were consciously choosing to mark them as different in a society that often struggles with diversity. By naming our children differently, my wife and I were not just preserving our own cultural heritage – we were also challenging societal expectations of sameness, homogeneity and, ultimately, what it means to be American.

Lists of popular names. Image courtesy of the Office of National Statistics/Creative Commons

The memories of naming our daughters flooded my mind last week after a friend sent me a deeply problematic piece from the prominent advice columnist Dear Abby, titled “Couple Must Choose Between Practical and Unusual Names for Children.”

In the piece, the columnist discouraged a couple from giving their child a “foreign name.”

“Not only can foreign names be difficult to pronounce and spell, but they can also cause a child to be teased unmercifully,” she wrote. “Sometimes the name can be a problematic word in the English language. And one that sounds beautiful in a foreign language can be grating in English.”

She finished with this question: “Why saddle a kid with a name he or she will have to explain or correct with friends, teachers and fellow employees from childhood into adulthood?”

Abby’s advice is well-intentioned here. She is trying to protect kids from potential discrimination.  She is trying to be kind. But her kindness is masking the cruelty of her words.

Her underlying message is this. If your name sounds foreign, you aren’t really an American.

Her advice is harmful at best, xenophobic and racist at worst.

Ten years ago, I probably would have agreed with her.

I went by “Sim” all through grade school and college, in part because it was easier for others to pronounce and in part because I liked the computer game Sim’s City. I moved from Texas to Boston after college and took the opportunity to embrace my full first name.

Because Simran is such a common name (believe it or not), I also decided to use my middle name (Jeet) to distinguish myself in public contexts. Along the way, I learned to cherish my own name. And I want to pass that gift on to my daughters.

Today, I find Abby’s guidance “grating.”

Abby is advising people to hide their cultural differences in order to be accepted in America. French philosopher Michel Foucault would call this “cultural imperialism” — the idea that a dominant group gets to decide what is considered normal or acceptable and what is considered different or foreign.

Piles of potential names. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Creative Commons

And sounding foreign, according to Dear Abby, is something to be ashamed of. To get ahead, those of us with “foreign-sounding” names have to hide who we are.

It’s advice that many Americans have followed in the past.

Pauline Phillips, who created Dear Abby, was the child of Jewish immigrants – and wrote under a pseudonym, not her real name. She had to pretend to be someone else to succeed. This is part of the conceit of the advice columnist and also a marketing strategy baked into the trade. To be a respectable advice giver, Phillips had to come off as a generic American.

She could not be who she was.

After Phillips was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2002, her daughter Jeanne Phillips took over the column and continues to write the column to this day. In addition to following her mother’s example of pretending to be someone else, she is also advising parents to do the same — to hide who they are in order to achieve success.

This is not great advice in a country that is becoming increasingly diverse, ethnically and religiously. And it was never good advice.

It is racism, disguised as kind advice on how to get by.

It’s time to stop erasing our differences and time to start embracing our differences. This is what will enable us to confront racism head-on.

This is what will allow us to create a better world for our children and for future generations.

About the author

Simran Jeet Singh

Simran Jeet Singh is a scholar of religion currently based at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media. He is also senior religion fellow for the Sikh Coalition.

142 Comments

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  • Oh gosh, he’s a victim again!!!! He ends up in the United States and doesn’t wish to assimilate into the culture, but whines when the culture will not adopt the culture that he left.

  • Thankfully the United States has always been a great melting pot of various cultures, something that has always made us great in the eyes of the rest of the world; that is, until the current squatter in the Oval Office came along to try to Make America White Again.

  • Perhaps Elag, but to demand a culture not one’s own, to act like that his culture, unless it is a salvation issue, is redundant. The man has control issues, I would say.

  • You provide the platform for Christ’s truth to be told. No need for control whatsoever. A fervent desire to see one saved, or the people reading the blog to know the truth – definitely. I don’t want to see anyone perish in Hell

  • Oh gosh, as usual you want to defend treating people like crap for your own amusement.

    If you can’t be bothered to say someone’s name correctly, or feel the urge to make fun of their name, you are a terrible person.

  • To demand that one’s name be said correctly is simply asking for the most basic level of respect one expects of others in society. If it is a problem for you, it just means you are a terrible person.

  • One of the things that I love about this country is that one is able to keep one’s own customs and still be American.

    I congratulate Mr. Singh and his wife on choosing names for their daughters that they consider beautiful and appropriate. I hope that they teach their daughters love and respect for the cultures of their parents. It is wonderful to be comfortable in more than one culture.

  • 1000% agree. What defines American is our diversity and loyalty for the country. Not our name, skin color, religion and all of that , you know, factors.

  • You sure do get worked up about trivial stuff…. must be tough to go through life worrying about dear Abby articles… most people are too busy working to care.
    I have a long, last name – Eastern European; more j’s, v’s and c’s than than you can shake a stick at.
    I always hated roll call in school; waiting for the pause while the teacher struggled to sound out my name. Then, they would ask me to pronounce it and I would let my name flow out with the proper accent. I would get responses from, “it must be tough” to “how beautiful”. Either way, I shrugged and moved on. I could never control how someone reacted to my name; or the comments made; but, I was always proud that it was MY name.
    I suspect your daughters will have similar experiences; better yet, when they explain what their name means.

  • Why do you insist upon hegemony and homogeneity?
    This is something that has perplexed me about you for quite some time.
    No wait, you demand these two as it seems to feed the persecuted Christian complex.
    Refusing to Anglicize names is not seeking victim status. Not sure how you made that leap.

  • The issue was not saying someone’s name correctly. The issue was that he wanted the United states to bow to his culture. Try reading it again Spud

  • Actually the issue is whether people should respect his decision to name his children to something which is not Anglo-Saxon in nature. Rather than appeal to those who would denigrate or insult his culture.

    Basic common courtesy.

  • Just read EPH 3:14-21.
    What an awesome reading for today. Just felt I had to reach out and share. 🙂

  • To suggest anglicizing one’s name or giving children an anglicized one is to appeal to those who will not give a basic level of respect to someone on the basis of their ethnicity.

  • That is beautiful; isn’t it? Strengthening.
    Mine was Isaiah 48:9-11 – showing Christ grace toward us
    Blessings to you Parkerl

  • This is the only choice the social sciences give Simran Jeet Singh. You see, the non-Western cultures are but children, while the Western culture is the adult. This is the developmental framework of thinkers like Fontenelle, Vico and Hegel.

    Coming as he does from a childish culture, what else can Simran Jeet Singh do, but behave like a victim?

  • I disagree. “Victimhood” has become the means of manipulation and acceptance in this culture. Look at the claims of PTSD in students because they don’t like the president who was elected – all though throughout the election, they said Hillary would win. So, a poll shortly after the election indicates PTSD and the need for safe places.
    Victimization is the new status symbol in North America. He’s just trying to assimilate – like, “Hey Im a victim too” to manipulate the masses to change for him – control issues

  • “Look at the claims of PTSD…”

    News to me. Got a link to a story on it. I need a good laugh.

    I think the word you were looking for to describe him is is “uppity”. Someone who asks for basic respect for who they are despite casual and ubiquitous bigotry.

  • Ok, let’s all settle down a bit before things get out of hand. I feel that this is one of those articles designed to get us fighting amongst ourselves. A few questions:
    1) is the author a racist, bigot or Americaphobe? To imply that Americans expect him to de-Sikh his daughters names is 100% false and without merit;
    2) sounds like the author is looking for drama – “by naming our children differently my wife and I were challenging societal norms”. Really??! My kids have gone to school with kids who are named after fruit, laundry soap, female genitalia and beverages; or kids who have first names as confusing as my last name. Get over it. Someone screws up the pronounciation, the kid corrects them; and you move on;
    3) the author cares about what is written in dear Abby??! Really? He cares about what some clown wrote? And then applies it to ALL of America? This sounds like an overprotective, hypersensitive first time parent with excess energy on his hands; or a guy with a blog deadline. Trust me, his third kid will be named bill or Tracy;
    4) finally, I think the authors here wind us up and watch us battle for enjoyment…or we do it to ourselves. It reminds me of one of the greatest lines in movie history:

    https://youtu.be/c2fNf7Lds0c

    Yes, that is what It must look like to the authors viewing pleasure.

    Later.

  • Fair enough. 🙂

    Interestingly enough this whole expectation of Anglicizing one’s name may be more of a thing for countries which were former European colonies.

  • I remember a gradeschool classmate that had a difficult Italian last name and I remember thinking when I was in first or second grade and just learning how to spell my own last name that I sure was glad I didn’t have to learn how to spell his!

    Italians have had the problem you describe as have Germans, and many Eastern Europeans AND don’t forget many Black Americans. Many immigrants found it easier to anglicize their names in hopes of “fitting in”! It didn’t always work. Some names were anglicized for them at Ellis Island by harried immigrant processors who spelled names by sound or changed them on a whim.

    Ignore Dear Abby. Teach your girls about their heritage. AND teach them how to respond to rude comments or comments from people who don’t realize they are being rude. Maybe they can help spread cultural understanding as they grow into women.

  • I grew up with one of those Eastern European beauts too (Moravian Czech). Fortunately I married a man with an Anglo last name only four letters long and things got considerably easier.

  • My explanation is better. You see, Simran Jeet Singh is doubly constrained.

    Vis-a-vis a Westerner, he behaves like a victim–that is the first constraint.

    Vis-a-vis the Indian traditions, he is only able to give the meaning that Kaur = “sovereign from casteism and patriarchy”. That is an anachronistic reading of the Indian traditions. That is to say, the Indian culture, being childish, could not but suffer from casteism and patriarchy, so much so that each and every Sikh woman for the last 300 years had to have the name “Kaur”. This is the second constraint.

    Such constraints can only come from academic subjects, not from this or that fashionable trend.

  • I had a high school teacher who couldn’t be bothered to correctly pronounce the Polish names of a couple of my classmates. His “clever” solution, in his tiny mind, was to call them “Alphabet.”

    Not surprisingly, he was a lousy, ineffective teacher.

  • No, loyalty to our nation and abdicating it to other nations. We are not defined by “diversity,” of course. That DIVIDES. We must all be AMERICANS first. The term “African-American” was a great step forward from “colored,” “negro,” and “black,” because it emphasized that special word, one that is to be cherished and of which to be proud: AMERICAN.

  • Dear Simran Jeet Singh
    Can you abide by this, something said by our president, a century ago? What are your thoughts?

    “We must Americanize [immigrants] in every way – in speech, in political ideas and principles, and in their way of looking at the relationship between church and state… we want only Americans… There are certain ideas he must give up… He must revere our flag, not only must it come first, but no other flag should even some second.”

  • The “melting pot” idea is really like tomato soup: One stirs in various ingredients and stirs them up. They melt in and blend.

    And it is still TOMATO SOUP.

  • I strongly disagree. I lived in Japan, and they constantly mispronounced my name. I changed it, when introducing myself and pronouncing my name, from Connelly to Ko-ne-ri. If they still had difficulty with it, I would refer to a popular actor there, Sean Conery, which, incidentally, was pronounced, “Ko-ne-ri.”

    And I was not even a citizen. I would never expect them to adjust to ME. That would mean I am at least selfish and probably a narcissist.

  • No, it is to adapt to the country that has bestowed on one the gift of citizenship. In this case, the greatest citizenship of any nation in the world.

  • In your opinion, which the 1st amendment entitles you to have.
    What you are not entitled is the direction of public policy to conform to your understanding of your religion. You are not allowed to mandate a Christ based hegemony and homogeneity. That was tried several centuries ago to the detriment of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

  • In one class, a student had the surname “Zdanowicz” However, the pronunciation, “Stannovitch” was easy. Ditto with my son’s friend, “Giacomo,” pronounced “Jackomo” or “G” to his friends. So called “foreign” names, when pronounced, are often not that difficult, and nicknames are often even easier.

  • (1) “For my wife and me, naming our daughters was a deeply personal, spiritual and collective experience.” The essay makes plain that this is all about the interests of the parents, not in any way about the interests of their children.
    (2) “I went by ‘Sim’ all through grade school and college, in part because it was easier for others to pronounce and in part because I liked the computer game Sim’s City.” When the children are able to introduce themselves, they will use names in accordance with their interests, just as their father did.
    (3) I pray that the children’s choosing to go by other names – names belonging to the culture that they identify with – will not diminish the deeply personal, spiritual, and collective experience that their parents enjoyed when they gave the children names that “mark them as different”.

  • No, its insulting to the ethnicity of the people it is suggested to. We are not an Anglo Saxon nation. We are Americans. A polyglot of pretty much everywhere.

  • They didn’t ask you to change your name to one more pronouncable in Japanese. So it is a bad analogy.

  • There was and still is for some people the myth that America was/is a Giant Melting Pot–where people would magically lose their ethnic identities and become full fledged Americans. That was never the reality. White immigrants had a better chance of “fitting in” than non-white immigrants. You can anglicize a name, some can lose an accent (some can’t) but you can’t change your skin color!

    Many people don’t like diversity, many of us celebrate it. It is our great diversity that has and will continue to Make America Great though there are some that will never accept this.

  • If you tie your family’s wagon to an English speaking country, at least adopt a first name that is clearly feminine or masculine in American English and spelled in a manor easy to pronounce for an English speaker. It will make it easier for the child . Middle names can be whatever you want and last names should be phonically spelled when it comes from a language that does not use the Latin alphabet . Believe me I have been there. My last name is easy to pronounce but sometimes brings a snicker because of street slang.

  • Imagine a European living in Pakistan or wherever this guy is originally from (where his race is from) demanding their Culture change their culture.

    Asia for the Asians…………..Africa for the Africans……………….White Nations are open to Everyone!

    No White GeNOcide! http://www.whitegenocide.info

  • ”We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”–The Borg

  • I have a Cherokee friend whose name is July Tecumseh. He said that during the Trail of Tears native Americans would have to pass through check points to go to reservations. At one check-point a stenographer would ask their names. July said his grandfather answered according to the standard that many used, which was to take on the last name of their employer. His grandfather said, “Thompson” but the steno apparently heard Tecumseh and wrote it down that way. After the the family surname was “Tecumseh.”

    Another set of friends of mine were named Takamatsu. They lived in a gated community. I taught their sons Hironobu and Taro English-as-a-Second-Language. Sometimes I would have to bring them home in my car. When we stopped at the check-point (always those check-points) the guard would take down the license number of the vehicle and ask for the name of the persons whom the driver was visiting, and they were supposed write the name down on a record. When I said Takamatsu, they would give me a puzzled look, put down their clip board and wave me through. It wasn’t because they knew the Takamatsu’s either. It both embarrassed and amused Hironobu and Taro.

    Americans are so culturally insensitive, not wanting to take time learn about the person in front of them, running rough-shod over ever other cultural difference with no compunction.

  • Actually, in my ESL training we learned that rather than a melting pot America is a salad bowl, each retaining distinction but in the same setting.

  • Yes. The Christ I know challenged his disciples on every form of hegemony and subsequently, several times, called them to service, saying, “Those who want to be great in the kingdom of God must be servant of all, and except you become as this child [on his knee (thus a small child)] you cannot enter the kingdo of heaven.”

    To be sure, concerning diversity in the body of Christ and in humility toward the world, the Christian record in Acts shows that the Holy Spirit had the disciples speaking to persons in the language of the hearers, which was not necessary since they were in Jerusalem and likely spoke Latin or Greek, the official languages of the time. So the Holy Spirit showed the value of each culture and language by condescending to speaking each language, a form of showing honor to the stranger.

    Interestingly, some of the languages recorded in the episode were no longer used on a regular basis in their own culture. So they heard their own language, possibly that they may not have heard in years. What a powerful affirmation of each one’s language, culture, and personal worth!

  • It is not an insult. If people do not want to give up their previous nationality and loyalty to their former nation, they should not come to our great nation, the greatest nation in the world.

  • No, it is quite an excellent analogy. The OBVIOUS point is that we did not fuss and caterwaul, whine and sniffle, over changing the pronunciation of our nations to accommodate the host nation.

  • Its an insult. Our nation is not Anglo Saxon culture nor requires fealty to it. We already demand single citizenship as a matter of law. Sorry James, but we are not a White Christian Anglo-Saxon nation. We are a nation of many.
    Your equating of our nation with such cultural mores is steeped in nothing more than arrogance and bigotry.

  • We do not demand single citizenship for many countries any longer.

    I never said “Anglo-Saxon,” did I?

    But those who come here, if they want to have citizenship, should renounce loyalty to their former nation. Or don’t come. Stay home.

  • LOL The problem with use of analogy in arguments are when it falls flat you spend more time justifying the analogy than your position. 🙂

    Nobody thought it best you to change your name or even pronounce it differently either. Your story doesn’t apply here.

  • On the contrary. I hesitate to use analogies with certain types of people because instead of seeing the OBVIOUS concept, they only focus on trying to negate the analogy. No analogy is 100% absolute perfection that can be applied in every possible scenario imaginable, so these types look for any flaw.

    The concept stands. It is clear and obvious.

  • You didn’t have to say it. It was the point of the article.

    What you are demanding people do for our nation is ask for their names to be more pronounceable in Anglo-Saxon culture.

    Better yet, just deal with the pronunciation of names of people who come to our nation and make it a better place. Basic common courtesy. How hard is that?

  • In English. And we should have a constitutional amendment making English the official language.

  • Nope. Unnecessary, inflammatory and discriminatory.

    First generation citizens have a right to access to government and public services without unnecessary impediment borne by pointless bigotry. A working knowledge of English is not the same as native fluency.

  • Nobody in Japan demanded or even suggested you change the spelling or pronunciation of your name. So you missed the point wildly there.

  • Nope. I have to spell it out: It is about attitude. To adapt to the host nation and culture. Not to insist that THEY accommodate ME.

  • Not discriminatory, of course. How could it be? Doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.

    It is necessary because parts of America are becoming Spanish-speaking. The sooner it is done, the better.

    “Inflammatory?” If they don’t like it, if they are “triggered,” then go back to the nation where their language is spoken.

  • Because it means all official documents coming from the government are in English. Not every immigrant who is proficient in English has the level of fluency to understand documents which may affect their rights. Of course if one is not interested in citizens being informed of their rights or having lawful access to government and public services you would not see such problems existing.

    There is no need for an official language. But having one creates problems which are entirely unnecessary.

    “It is necessary because parts of America are becoming Spanish-speaking. The sooner it is done, the better.”

    So you are a bigot who is annoyed that people speak languages other than your own. Your panic is entirely self-induced. Poor snowflake is annoyed by the existence of immigrants who have a different culture and background from yourself. How sad.

  • The people of the United States should not be paying for documents or services translated into other languages. It is up to the non-English speaker; it is his burden. If he does not like it, leave.

    We inform citizens, but it is their obligation to learn the language to become informed, or to get someone – on their own dime or family – to translate and explain. It should not be up to working people to give some of their incomes for that.

    I am not in any kind of panic, of course. I described what is happening. There are parts of our nation where Spanish is, in essence, the language of the area. That should never occur within the United States of America.

  • It is valid. It applies directly to the OP, what is expected, whether one gets angry and frustrated, or one adapts and accommodates (instead of expecting the dominant culture to adapt and accommodate). Very elementary.

  • “The people of the United States should not be paying for documents or services translated into other languages. It is up to the non-English speaker; it is his burden. If he does not like it, leave”

    Because…? You hate non-native level English speaking citizens? Not good enough. People have rights which do not go away based on their language proficiency. You want to create a burden simply on the basis of that bigotry. It shows an utter disregard for the rights of your fellow citizens and immigrants who come to this country and contribute to it.

    It is not for you to limit the rights of people here just because of your desire to discriminate based on national origin and ethnicity.

    The only way any of this affects you is how triggered you are by the mere presence of immigrants who speak another language in public. Your prejudice and panic are not worthy of government endorsement.

    “We inform citizen…. ”

    We? Who are the “we” you talking about? There is no duty by our government to enforce use of English language

    “It should not be up to working people to give some of their incomes for that.”

    But it is OK for citizens and immigrants to pay taxes in order to be discriminated against and have their rights circumscribed because of your animosity towards their ethnicity and national origins? Of course not.

    We should give our taxes for services which we draw benefit from. We all suffer from unjust and discriminatory practices in government.

    ” There are parts of our nation where Spanish is, in essence, the language of the area. That should never occur within the United States of America.”

    Bigoted ignoramus, that has been the case for this country since inception. It not only has occurred, it has been a regular thing. There are/were parts of our nation where German was in essence the language of the area, as was Swedish, Yiddish, Chinese, Italian…. You apparently are triggered by the very existence of immigrants in our nation.

    Your animosity towards Spanish speakers in specific bespeaks of the directed hatred towards them popular among conservatives. Not worth taking seriously.

  • You failed miserably there. All you have done is demonstrated your lack of understanding of the situation. BTW Japan actually has a growing immigrant population. Your example was especially poor. They even celebrate immigrant cultures in Tokyo
    https://www.japanallover.com/2018/06/brazil-festival-2018-tokyo/
    https://japan-attractions.jp/festivals/cote-divoire-japan-friendship-african-festival/

    And most major sumo wrestlers are now foreigners. (Yes, I follow Sumo on NHK!)

  • Interesting how you transmogrify the assertion that citizens should not have to give up some of their incomes to people who come to the United States and don’t speak the language of the nation that provides opportunities and liberty and bounty.

  • People have rights which do not go away based on their language proficiency

    Yes, and no right is removed. They have the same rights. If one follows your “reasoning,” then we must have translators and documents for Nepalese, Cambodian, and Kazakh. And don’t forget that Africa has over 1,000 different languages.

  • limit the rights of people here just because of your desire to discriminate based on national origin and ethnicity.

    Two flaws, serious flaws, in that statement:
    1. No “discrimination” at all.
    2. No rights are limited.

    It is not logical to proclaim that unless a person has been given documents and translators in his native language, he has been “discriminated” against or his “rights” have been limited.

  • it is OK for citizens and immigrants to pay taxes in order to be discriminated against and have their rights circumscribed because of your animosity towards their ethnicity and national origins?

    Do you realize what you have said? You have said that those people have a RIGHT to some of the incomes of CITIZENS in order to have the government provide for them in their native language.

  • There is no duty by our government to enforce use of English language

    You have distorted – completely.

    Any private business can conduct its business, appeal to customers, or advertise, in any language it chooses. Nothing to do with that. Why do you distort like that? It is unseemly.

    It is about taking money from citizens to use for people who do not speak English, precisely because they do not speak English.

  • that has been the case for this country since inception. It not only has occurred, it has been a regular thing. There are/were parts of our nation where German was….

    Check your history of our nation: The GOAL was COMPLETE assimilation. English was taught along with AMERICAN CULTURE during the time of huge influx of immigrants. The goals were for them to learn English, and as quickly as possible. To Americanize them.

  • Your animosity towards Spanish speakers in specific bespeaks of the directed hatred towards them popular among conservatives.

    No animosity, of course. But it is convenient for you to claim that. I see that approach quite often: Disagree with certain types of people, then be called bigoted, hateful, phobic, whatever. It is not only invalid and makes no logical sense, it is quite puerile.

  • You are talking out of your sphincter here. There has never been a duty created by our government to impose native english language proficiency. You are speaking of what you want rather than what exists. Fantasy thinking.

    English language proficiency is not an imposed requirement in this country. It is a helpful suggestion.

    “Any private business can conduct its business, appeal to customers, or advertise, in any language it chooses. Nothing to do with that. Why do you distort like that? It is unseemly.”

    You are the one demanding they speak or do business in English only. Even to the point of getting unhinged about it being a regular practice in majority Spanish speaking communites. You contradict yourself.

    “It is about taking money from citizens to use for people who do not speak English, precisely because they do not speak English.”

    People who do not speak English as native proficiency are citizens and immigrants who pay taxes also. Are you dumb enough to think that all citizens of this country speak English as native speaker level? You are talking about discriminating against taxpayers because out of your own personal bigotry here.

  • Its called taxes. We all pay them for what is supposed to be collective good. For services to be available to us.

    Unlike your fantasy world we do not ever have the option of paying taxes for solely our own personal benefit. Just like we do not demand people pay taxes to contribute to their own discrimination.

  • Japan’s acceptance of “refugees” is almost 0.

    Japan is struggling with the aging population, and sometimes government officials want to encourage immigration. But the Japanese resist it. Smart.

    Sure, they celebrate different cultures. Does not translate into their wanting to become “diverse,” “inclusive,” and “multicultural.” They certainly do not.

  • 1., You are full of crap here. Not every immigrant or citizen is a native level English speaker
    2. People have a right to be able to understand information coming from the government and being apprised of their own rights in the clearest way possible. Forcing them to do so in a language they are not comfortable with attacks those rights.

    Your whole spiel is based on nothing more than ignorance and animosity towards immigrants. You are engaging in cheap denial.

  • Wrong. At the late 19th century, and into the 20th, there were incredible numbers of groups, associations, city organizations and businesses that gave lessons in English and American culture. It slowed down during the war, and then immigration was severely restricted in 1924.

    The idea was to Americanize the immigrants.

  • You are lying. If one does not understand fully what information the government is telling them about their rights, their rights are limited.

    “If one follows your “reasoning,” then we must have translators and documents for Nepalese, Cambodian, and Kazakh. And don’t forget that Africa has over 1,000 different languages.”

    And in communities where there are sufficient numbers of such people, there is generally going to be people in public services to translate. You have a right to an interpreter when you provide testimony in any situation under oath. You have a right to voter registration information in your language.

    This is commonplace to areas with high numbers of immigrants.

    You are really an ignorant little bigot.

  • You are the one demanding they speak or do business in English only

    This is the last time I will correct your DISTORTION. And wow, you really distorted. I think it is deliberate.

    I said government documents, pal. Got that? G..O..V..E..R..N..M..E..N..T documents and translators.

    And yes, it is a shame to see areas of the nation that are Spanish speaking. If we had restricted immigration properly, it would not have happened.

  • Your understanding of taxation is nil. Your understanding that taxpayers do not pay for their own discrimination is non-existent.

    Let me go even further THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT forbids discrimination on the basis of national origin and ethnicity. It is flat out illegal to make English the official language based on it.

  • If a person is working and on a payroll, the few that do not speak English are NOT paying taxes? How do I know that?

    Simple!

    They are almost all working at low-skill, low-wage jobs, and they not only do not pay income taxes, they RECEIVE $ FROM THE GOVERNMENT! Yes, it is called “earned income tax credit.”

    Sure, there could be a few doctors and scientists who just arrived and have enough income to pay, but be honest here – you know that people who come here, don’t speak English (and don’t learn it) are in low-wage jobs and not paying any income tax.

  • People should not have to see their tax $ go to government services in foreign languages. Nope. Not a penny.

  • You are unhinged and flat out lying now. You brought up private business.

    Another irrelevancy. So at this point, why don’t you just walk away, take a breather and calm down. The big scary latinix people are not going to kill you while you sleep it off a little.

  • Now you are engaging in fantasy thinking. Take a breather. You want the government to treat its taxpaying immigrants and citizens like crap. You are a nasty piece of work.

  • 1. I know. Many learn English. As they should. Or, if they do not, that is fine, too. Just don’t expect citizens to pay for translations and services in their language.
    2. There is no “right to be understood.” None. They have a right to the information, but not to translations. Nope. No such right. That is a pretend, made up right.

  • Their rights are not limited. There should be no “right” to translations or services in any language other than English, of course.

  • It is not “discrimination.” That is not “discriminating.” It is not logical to claim so. If one refuses to rent to someone or serve him in a restaurant because of his ethnicity, that is discrimination. But if one does not give a job to an otherwise WHITE, blonde-haired German because he does not speak English, that ain’t “discrimination.”

  • Your understanding of taxation is so bad you are resorting to infantile bad analogy. People have no need to pay taxes for their own discrimination.

    Your need to treat immigrants like crap is not a sufficient justification for discrimination. Sorry buddy.

    “you know that people who come her”

    It is clear you are just on a bigoted rant. Get bent loser. Never mind the myriad of well off immigrant communities. You are just going to repeat MAGA bullcrap until you are blue in the face. I have ceased bothering to pretend you need to be taken seriously. Seek help.

  • No, private is private. The company pays and maybe increases its business. Fine.

    But to say the government should use taxpayer $ to pay for translations and services? Nope. Should not happen.

  • Not treating anyone “like crap,” of course. They are in America. Want the benefits and such? Learn English or go back.

    Quite simple.

  • Again: Almost all of the non-English speakers are paying NO TAXES. They are in the income brackets where they GET $ BACK.

  • Wrong loser.

    There are numerous communities which have existed for a while where English is still only a second language normally spoken. Many of which are far better off, with people far better economically, educated, skilled and than the obvious trailer park you are posting from.

    Its interesting that the only people who really go out of their way to reference the most bigoted immigration law we had on the books these days are neo-nazis. But no, even after the 1924 law there were still plenty of ethnic enclaves where English was not the normally spoken language.,

  • Japan has accepted immigration because it has no choice. You chafe at it because it disrupts the white supremacist WASP nonsense you want to maintain.

  • After your unhinged description of immigrant communities it is obvious you are nothing more than an ignorant bigot who just wants to attack people for coming from another country.

    I call you a bigot, because it is the most apt description for the prejudiced, malicious ranting you are giving. By all means take offense. It doesn’t refute or deny being a bigot. Just shows you are a snowflake.

  • Nope. Show me the government document which calls for assimilation of all immigrants. It calls for the integration of immigrants. Getting them useful to society. Assimilation has never been called for, demanded or even a legitimate goal here. Except among bigots and these days neo-nazis.

    In fact it runs afoul of the Civil Rights Act.

    You are a lying bigoted loser. You have nothing of value to say here.

  • There are numerous communities which have existed for a while where English is still only a second language normally spoken.

    Actually, there are very few. Most of those people, unless it is an Hispanic community, also speak English.

    Here is a quick rundown of communities in America where English is not spoken as the dominant language. Notice that many are of Native Americans. Then, there are a few places (actually one county), by the Canadian border, where French is spoken.

    Take a look at New York: Yiddish. I have met many of them. They are bi-lingual, fully fluent in English.

  • Wrong loser. Not every legal immigrant and citizen is a native proficient english speaker. You are either just lying or ignorant AF

  • More fantasy. You are clearly not speaking of reality or are capable of an honest presentation of facts.

  • So you are a flat out bigot who wants to discriminate against immigrants/citizens. Goodf to know you admitted to being full of crap.

    Yes there is a right to understand what is before them and to be understood when in an official capacity like under oath or before a court.

    Your ignorance and bigotry is duly noted and ignored.

  • Teddy Roosevelt:
    “We must Americanize [immigrants] in every way – in speech, in political ideas and principles, and in their way of looking at the relationship between church and state… we want only Americans… There are certain ideas he must give up… He must revere our flag, not only must it come first, but no other flag should even some second.”

    Bravo, TR!

  • Yup. I say so. My posts do not say otherwise.

    I had a work visa. So, I know of what I speak. But keep up the “ignorant” and “bigot” charges. It reveals YOUR character.

  • I know. But you are denying reality. People with incomes high enough to be paying taxes – look it up – are almost all at least conversant in English. You know that.

  • Learn English. Simple. If they want to be off the grid, then don’t expect benefits from the grid.

    Simple, really.

  • White Genocide is what incel neo-nazis call their inability to mate with white womenfolk. You want to blame racial minorities, but in reality it is just your repellent personality and body odor which keeps you from making caucasian babies.

  • Private does not take money from taxes. It is an investment.

    Government documents and translators take money from citizens.

  • You can play your little word games, but it that does not mean assimilating, then you are not reasonable, not logical, not mature at all.

  • No. You are referring to people who cannot speak English. The French in northern Maine and the Yiddish speakers in NYC speak English.

  • I volunteered as an ESL teacher in Seattle for about a decade. It was a fun challenge to learn to pronounce names from different lands. There were a few sounds, especially in Vietnamese, I just could not reproduce. My brain would pass over the entirely unfamiliar sound as irrelevant, since it had no function in my language.

    It turned out that was a valuable lesson for both me and my students. We learned to temper expectations and not worry about perfection. Understanding was the goal.

  • Thought-provoking thoughts, Professor Singh. Curious if there is any legendary tale similar to the Tower of Babel in your ancestor’s stories? Curious if you are of one ancestry? Every one of my ancestor’s names were changed as languages changed, and lands were conquered over time. Some scholars write that it is possible that Delaunay of France and Delaney of Ireland are the same tribe of Celtic people originating in Brittany. Britons are just a variation on Viking, all the same tall blond northern people that intermingled with the British Isles and below. Or perhaps I should correct my last name’s spelling to Ó Dubhsláine and embrace my Irish ancestry? My first name means high, noble and strong, after Brian Boru, the high king of Ireland, but in Occitan language it means maggot! My middle name is after Irish Saint Patrick, who is actually a Roman. His name is spelled Pádraig in Irish. My Hungarian ancestor ended up with a Polish name when he moved to USA. My Bohemian ancestor ended up with an English name the same way. The French, Scottish, English, and German ancestors seemed to retain their names, though who knows for sure? Despite all these changes, my American name is difficult to pronounce by Spanish-speaking people, so if I were to move to Mexico, I would probably say and spell my name in a Spanish-sounding equivalent, like Briano Patricio. Apparently your family names are already translated to English? I would not call it white-washing. I am 100% white and 100% American, descended from many peoples from many countries that all happen to be “white” as folks like to generalize here. It is why I go by American as I have no country to return to, but too many to decide from. P.S. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci. Amerigo is an Italian variation of the name Emeric (also spelled Emery, Emerik, Imre…), the young Catholic Saint popular at the time of Amerigo’s birth, and pictured in a chapel in the church of the village he was born in (captioned as d’Ungaria and not “of Hungary”). Thus America is named after an Italian explorer who is named after a Hungarian saint. Is that white-washing or just interesting? Perhaps it is an American-melting pot after all? Melting together instead of washing away.

  • Thought-provoking, Professor Singh. Curious if there is a legendary tale similar to the Tower of Babel in your ancestor’s stories? Curious if you are of one ancestry? Once a family moves to America, it does not take very many generations for folks to be of many ancestries. Every one of my ancestor’s names were changed as languages changed, and lands were conquered over time. Some scholars write that it is possible that Delaunay of France and Delaney of Ireland are the same tribe of Celtic people originating in Brittany. Britons are just a variation on Viking, all the same tall blond northern people that intermingled with the British Isles and below. Perhaps I should correct my last name’s spelling to Ó Dubhsláine and embrace my Irish ancestry? My first name means high, noble and strong, after Brian Boru, the high king of Ireland, but in Occitan language it means maggot! My middle name is after Irish Saint Patrick, who is actually a Roman. His name is spelled Pádraig in Irish. One Hungarian ancestor ended up with a Polish name when he moved to USA. Hungarians worked in the coal mines due to their language barrier. My Bohemian ancestor ended up with an English name the same way. They came from a country that no longer exists to do construction work in Ohio ages ago. My French, Scottish, English, Welsh and German early-American farming ancestors seemed to retain their names, though who knows for sure? Despite all these changes, my American English name is difficult to pronounce by Spanish-speaking people, so if I were to move to Spain or Mexico, I would probably say and spell my name in a Spanish-sounding equivalent, like Briano Patricio. Apparently your family names are already translated to English? I would not call it white-washing. I am 100% American, descended from many peoples of many countries that all happen to be “white” as folks like to generalize here. It is why I go by American as I have no ancestral country to return to, and too many to decide from. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci. Amerigo is an Italian variation of the name Emeric (also spelled Emery, Emerik, Imre…), the young Catholic Saint popular at the time of Amerigo’s birth, and pictured in a chapel in the church of the village he was born in (captioned as d’Ungaria and not “of Hungary”). Thus America is named after an Italian explorer who is named after a Hungarian saint. Is that white-washing or just interesting? Perhaps it truly is an American-melting pot after all? Melting together instead of washing anything away.

  • I’m sure you know that there were times/places where German, Swedish, Italian, Polish, etc. were the dominant language…all in America. Time sure helps to assimilate.

  • Yes, only a person who has limited knowledge of our history wouldn’t know that.

    But wait! That is what is going on in our schools today.

  • Living and teaching in a part of northern California that hosts one of the largest Sikh parades in North America, I have seen a lot more teens of Asian Indian background embrace their actual birth names and cultural heritage in the last decade or so. Back in the 1990s, it was very common for Hindu, Sikh and Muslim kids to try to westernize their given names, but very few do that now, which is a good thing. Being authentic is always better.

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