nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

You have such an interesting name.....

The link goes to an account of what it's like to have a stereotypically black name and work at a call center.

She gets a lot of bigoted core dumps. If I could figure out how to leave a comment, I'd ask her what proportion of her callers behave like that. Even a few indicates a serious problem, but I'd like to know how widespread it is and whether it tends to be her older callers.

Anyway, aside from that post (and do read the comments--there's a lot of interesting stuff there, including the guy who's assumed to know more about computers if he uses a Japanese name), I'm curious-- how does your name affect your life?

I don't think mine has a huge effect. People generally have trouble remembering, pronouncing, or spelling my last name. I feel that this is a clue: if people miss something so simple and objective, how much more of what's going on are we failing to notice.

Mid-westerners seem to be more likely to get my name right. I have two theories and no idea whether either of them is right, or if it's something else-- or even that there's really no pattern there at all. Anyway, it's possible that, since mid-westerners generally know fewer Jews, they don't know the more common name which is similar to mine, so that slot in their minds isn't already filled in. Alternatively, they seem more polite, so it's possible they take more trouble with names.

As for my first name, it's ordinary enough to not have much effect that I can see. It's (probably because it's stereotypically female) occasionally used to indicate "person who's there to be raped" as in "a cellmate who'll call you Nancy". I'm not fond of that usage.

I don't seem to get the bigoted core dumps that are common features in a lot of people's lives. (I do have one friend who I argue with a lot on the subject, but this isn't at the level of pervasiveness I see reported.) How much open bigotry crosses your path?

For this discussion, I'd appreciate it if everyone assumes that people are telling the truth about their own experience.

Link thanks to boxofdelights.

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