Taking the Scenic Route

This irked me

9th April 2009

This irked me

posted in In the News |

Texas lawmaker suggests Asians adopt easier names | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

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.” [...]

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?”

This is incredibly stupid I can hardly comprehend somebody actually thinking this way.  Especially ironic, the name of the person is ”Ko”.  Two letters.  Really?  Is the educational system so bad that we can’t figure out how to pronounce two letters?

It sounds like a simpler, more effective solution would to get poll workers who can read an ID and match the name to the ledger.  I spend most of my working life dealing with names foreign to me, as a hotel front desk/reservation manager and at the University Registrar’s office.  I totally get how challenging language barriers are, both as somebody who has been behind the desk trying to get information and help the person, and as a foreigner visiting a country where I don’t know the language.  People who are willing can always find a way to communicate.  The person coming to vote was obviously willing because it is not a mandatory process, so obviously, the problem lies behind the desk.  It sounds like it is pretty widespread attitude problem if a public figure is actually defending the workers instead of apologizing for the abysmal attitude.  And we aren’t necessarily talking about people who aren’t speaking English, they just have a name the poll worker isn’t familiar with.  It isn’t like they even have to pronounce it, they just have to match up the spelling.

This is a perfect example of how deeply seeded racism is, primarily because the racist is unable to recognize how damaging and exclusionary the attitudes of the poll workers are to the point that she actually supports them.

No wonder the world thinks we are idiots.  Sometimes I do too.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2009 at 3:22 PM and is filed under In the News. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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