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  • Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for Americans t

    Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for Americans to deal with.’

    On Tuesday, State Rep. Betty Brown (R) caused a firestorm during House testimony on voter identification legislation when she said that Asian-Americans should change their names because they’re too hard to pronounce:

    “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 [Organization of Chinese Americans representative Ramey] 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?”

    Yesterday, Brown continued to resist calls to apologize. Her spokesman said that Democrats “want this to just be about race.”

    -- http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/09/brown-asian-names/

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    lol

  • #2
    Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

    Go figures, she's like 70 and based out of Athens, TX (middle of nowhere).

    She did apologize after the fact though. But this is indicttave of another issue:

    From Here
    Republicans have championed the issue, saying it's necessary to combat voter fraud. Democrats have said there's no need for such a measure because fraud hasn't been a problem.
    Leave it to Texas Republicans to waste time and money to correct a non-existent problem, all the while working towards a national ID card. Jackasses...

    This is the same party that wants you to have the ability to defend your property with deadly force, but is more than happy to let anyone with a badge look in whenever they want.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

      Both Mr. Ko and Rep. Brown bring up the valid point that Asian names are often difficult to pronounce and spell due to a number of different transliteration systems. My own first name is a non-standard transliteration of my Chinese name (which nobody w/o knowledge of Mandarin can pronounce correctly). Furthermore, it's hyphenated and so gets mangled by many outdated computer systems.

      I think Rep Brown's response was ignorant and stupid but not necessarily intended to be harmful.



      TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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      • #4
        Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

        This is a great example of how saying the wrong thing at the right place makes one the worst person to be around for a long while afterwards.

        I still feel Brown's statement is pretty offensive, but given she's probably a traditional racist, we can say she's just plain ignorant.

        Comment aside, my parents chose a fairly common English name for me instead of opting for a pronounciated-translation of my Chinese name. I think the pronounciation-translation is better than the actual Cantonese/Mandarin pronounced name as Americans would stumble far worse if they had to read Chinese characters (would look like gibberish to some).
        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
        Former 9th & 13th

        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

        TG Primer and Rules

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        • #5
          Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

          Is it really that big of a Deal in Texas? I didn't realize that the Asian-American Community flocked to Texas... Although they have the greatest growth of Industry in the Country.
          I didn't see the context of why it was brought up. Was there a particular issue that sprung up that brought this comment out of her yap..?

          I also think this is common of the Politicians of this country who view the constituents as "below" them..and the "means" to the "Ends". Without Term limits we are creating our own ROYAL CLASS... Doesn't matter what Party you are in.. Just a different side of the coin..
          |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
          ..now where did I put my keys?

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          • #6
            Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

            Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
            Go figures, she's like 70 and based out of Athens, TX (middle of nowhere).

            She did apologize after the fact though. But this is indicttave of another issue:

            From Here

            This Link paints a more clear picture (if Politics can be clear at all).... The first link was from a "Progressive Blog/new site"..

            The Texas Democratic party and others called on Brown to apologize after she said voters of Asian descent should adopt names that are "easier for Americans to deal with."

            The comments were part of an exchange with Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans, during a hearing Tuesday by the House Elections Committee.

            Ko told the committee that people of Asian descent have problems voting because they may have legal transliterated names as well as common English names on their drivers licenses or other forms of identification. Brown asked whether Asian-Americans could "adopt" names that "we could deal with more readily here."

            Brown, in the statement, said the controversial quote was one sentence from a conversation dealing with the difficulty in translating names. She pointed out that she was talking about the issue of transliteration and told Ko that she wasn't asking him to change his name.

            John C. Liu, a New York City Councilman who had called on Brown to apologize, said Brown's statement is "a fair first step," but doesn't go far enough, in his statement. Liu noted that Brown's comments during the exchange with Ko went well beyond the concept of transliteration.

            A bill that would require Texans to show a photo ID to vote passed the Senate after a highly-partisan, 23-hour session last month. Similar proposals are currently being considered by the House.

            Republicans have championed the issue, saying it's necessary to combat voter fraud. Democrats have said there's no need for such a measure because fraud hasn't been a problem.

            Also..an Interesting question would be.. Why are Republicans always claiming or fighting Voter Fraud, but the Dem's tend to deny it exists? Is there a back story there?
            |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
            ..now where did I put my keys?

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            • #7
              Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

              It's sort of a big deal among the Asian Americans I know. I didn't expect this kind of ignorant BS to come up in TX, which has one of the highest populations of people of Asian ethnicity among all of the states. But given the morons who are elected to public office there, I can't say I'm that surprised, either.

              The voter registration issue is real. One of my friends - who's Asian and has a hyphenated name - had a very difficult time registering to vote in his state. Apparently the registrar of voters missed the hyphen in his name, and officials involved in the fiasco were unhelpfully punctilious in delaying his registration. I see no reason to doubt that there are other similar incidents throughout the country.

              I think the media and certain individuals are blowing this out of proportion. Calls for malicious racism are misguided IMO; rather, I think this is pure ignorance and stupidity. The lady's punishment is being widely perceived as being an idiot. This issue is not and should not be a petty partisan issue, and I think that politicizing it would only hinder any rational discussion.



              TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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              • #8
                Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                Originally posted by tau_neutrino View Post
                ignorant and stupid but not necessarily intended to be harmful.
                A lot of republican politicians should just wear this on a hat, or maybe on a flag pin.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                  Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                  A lot of republican politicians should just wear this on a hat, or maybe on a flag pin.
                  Or just "Ignorant and Stupid" in white lettering on a blue-and-red patriotic background. ;)
                  |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                  TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                  Former 9th & 13th

                  Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                  Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                  SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                  TG Primer and Rules

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                  • #10
                    Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                    Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                    A lot of republican politicians should just wear this on a hat, or maybe on a flag pin.
                    Sometimes your points make sense..then you ruin it with BLATANT PARTY LOYALTY... Nice your Blinders are so thick...
                    |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
                    ..now where did I put my keys?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                      America has a long and proud tradition of -- ok, perhaps a long and less-than-proud tradition, but a tradition none the less -- of asking people from other linguistic backgrounds to "Americanize" their names and speech. What makes this particular incident unusual is just that she singled out Asian names. In fact a lot of the critical comments were somewhere along the lines of "eastern European names are harder than Asian names, why didn't she mention those?"

                      So the question I'd like answered is, why did she specifically mention Asian names in this story? Is she just racist against Asians (as some have implied), or did that comment make more sense in context? The article linked at the beginning doesn't show the original context, and it links back to another source that isn't publicly available so I can't follow the trail. Peardog's follow-up story seems to indicate there was some mitigating context, but again we don't get to see exactly what that was.

                      Originally posted by tau_neutrino View Post
                      ...ignorant and stupid but not necessarily intended to be harmful.
                      Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                      A lot of republican politicians should just wear this on a hat, or maybe on a flag pin.
                      So do the democratic politicians get to wear the hat that says "I'm not ignorant or stupid, all of my harmfulness is intentional"?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                        So the question I'd like answered is, why did she specifically mention Asian names in this story? Is she just racist against Asians (as some have implied), or did that comment make more sense in context? The article linked at the beginning doesn't show the original context, and it links back to another source that isn't publicly available so I can't follow the trail. Peardog's follow-up story seems to indicate there was some mitigating context, but again we don't get to see exactly what that was.
                        Summary of the incident and immediate aftermath here: http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/R...Browns_remarks

                        TL;DR version:

                        Ko told lawmakers that Asian-Americans that live in states that required a photo ID at the polls were being denied the right to vote because the name on their identification card and the name on the voter rolls sometimes did not match.
                        ... Brown offered up a suggestion that inspired gasps throughout the hearing room. "Well, rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese, as I understand, it's a rather difficult language," said Brown. "Do you think it would behoove you and your citizens* to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?"
                        Brown tried to explain the reasoning behind her suggestion.

                        "This is something that would make it a lot easier both for you and poll workers if there was some name you could adopt just for these identification purposes that would be easier for Americans to deal with**," said Brown.
                        Personal comments:
                        * I don't tend to look for offense where none is meant, but I hope that she recognizes that Asian Americans citizens are as 'American' as any other citizen of the US.
                        ** As Kerostasis pointed out, it's not just Asians who have names that are hard to deal with. Case in point: Zbigniew Brzeziński, former US Nat'l Security Advisor.



                        TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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                        • #13
                          Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                          There is also the issue of her refusing, when called on by the Asian American community, to apologize for 4 or 5 days, blaming public response on partisan politics. Someone can do something that's insensitive without realizing or intending to do so. I think we look down on the tradition of asking people to "americanize" their names. Asking someone to properly enunciate when they speak English or even just to learn to speak English is very different from asking someone to change their name.

                          Perhaps she's not asking people to change their name but only to adopt an alias. I wonder if that really will make things easier. Imagine law enforcement having to deal with all those AKAs. lol. Everyone with a hard to pronounce name should adopt the alias 'Betty Brown'.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                            So as I understand it, the problem isn't specifically with hard to pronounce names, just with names not originally written using the roman lettering system. "Zbigniew" may be hard to pronouce, but a DMV worker doesn't have to pronounce it, he just has to be able to type it.

                            But with a Chinese name written using their complicated symbol system, you are basically making up the English letters to replace it since they don't match exactly. And if the letters you make up today are different than the ones you make up tomorrow, then you have problems.

                            For example, the spellings "Mao Tse Tung" and "Mao Zedong" were both used to describe the same man. But if he went to the DMV and got a driver's license that said "Tse Tung" and then registered to vote with the spelling "Zedong", there's a good chance his vote would be rejected because his ID didn't match his voter registration. (Ignore the fact that Chairman Mao would never vote in the US...)

                            Brown's suggestion was insensitive, yes, but at least she was attempting to solve a problem. Unfortunately for her, her suggestion doesn't actually solve the problem, giving her no good excuse to fall back on. :p

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                            • #15
                              Re: Texas lawmaker: Asians should change their names to make them ‘easier for America

                              Texas..everything is Bigger there.... even mistakes... (oops!)
                              |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
                              ..now where did I put my keys?

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