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Apr 13 2009

Texas state rep needs reprogramming

Texas State Rep. Betty Brown, racist tool

Texas State Rep. Betty Brown, racist tool

Not all Texans, I regret to say, are easygoing, progressive thinkers. State Representative Betty Brown, for example, is a tool.

Betty Brown just can’t wrap her brain around the fact that some certified 100% Texans have Asian names. This is because her brain has the philosophical sophistication of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Texans should have names like “Betty” or “Brown,” good, solid American names she can spell and pronounce. Asian names freak her out. People with these wacked-out foreign monikers should “make [them] more accessible.” Or so she told Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans giving testimony at the Lege on voter ID legislation.

Ramey Ko. That’s one crazy fucking inaccessible name.

“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.

Ko’s “citizens” should make an effort to grasp how “difficult” their language is, and what an inconvenience they present to the real Americans here who are trying to run good, old-fashioned, discriminatory Caucasian elections. They should lose those bizarro names and get ones that Betty Brown can feel more comfortable with. Because, seriously, it’s bad enough that she has to put up with all these damned Spanish people speaking Mexican.

If it’s hard to imagine a white lady with pink lipstick and helmet hair uttering anything more bigoted and condescending than that, you don’t know Betty Brown!

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?”

Listen, Ko, you and your kind are trouble. Can’t you see that if you just knuckle under to honky bigotry everyone will be happy?

[Xie xie, B.R.]

72 comments

  1. bee

    Can we please also note the ominous emphasis on voting rights here? It seems OMINOUS, is why, and also threatening. To me, at any rate.

    The gatekeepers to democratic participation are certainly not the sort of people who will bother to put up with names they can’t pronounce. Also, those selfsame gatekeepers are only familiar w/ anglo names?

  2. CLD

    “that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

    Brown deftly neglects to realize that if Ko can vote, then Ko *is* an American.

    “…do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name…”

    What the hell – “you and your citizens”? Are they from some foreign island floating somewhere in the middle of Texas?

    Brown is worse than a racist tool; she’s a purposefully ignorant, racist tool.

  3. MLH

    I am from Spain; in the almost 18 years that I have been here in the U.S. I have gotten a lot of this. So, I understand this post very well. That said, the most stupid folks I have encountered tend to be people who haven’t traveled much, I suppose Ms. Brown does not get out of the country –or Texas — a lot. Thankfully, not all Americans are like her.

    My first and last name are 100% Spanish and I am not changing them. I also read books in Spanish, in public, I speak Spanish in public whenever I have to, and I have a bunch of bumper stickers on my car from whenever foreign country I visit (if I remember to buy a sticker, that is). I also feel perfectly comfortable with the fact that I look like a foreigner, I could not care less about blending in.

  4. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Look ye, Betty Brown, on my American-inaccessible name and weep.

    Oh, and kiss my Polish-American patoot.

  5. Lovepug

    “the philosophical sophistication of a Thomas Kinkade painting”

    I am so stealing this line and will be using it constantly to describe things like, say, the Duggar family.

    She fails to realize that Chinese surnames are already adapted for English since, duh, Chinese uses an entirely different character set. And moreover, they’re actually fairly straightforward to pronounce except for the fact that intonation is critical in the Chinese languages and English speakers will likely pronounce them at least a little wrong.

  6. Ron Sullivan

    Antoinette, I’ll buy you a beer for that. I’ll buy you two if you send her an email and sign it.

    Or the beverage of your choice, on the next suitable occasion.

  7. Catherine Martell

    Betty Brown makes an excellent point. Obviously, history began in 1492, and white people of European descent are the most American of all Americans, giving them the undeniable right to make the rules. Therefore, all Americans should defer to white people of European descent, and adopt nice, easy European surnames, like Cholmondeley-Featherstonehaugh, Pasquadibisceglie, Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, M?ynarczyk, Papahartofylakakopoulos, and Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache.

  8. Orange

    By the Kindergarten Rule, I’d have to say that “Brown” is a much trickier surname than “Ko.” Ask a 5-year-old to spell either one, and their odds are better with Ko. Ask a 5-year-old to read either one aloud, and again, Ko is easier.

    I suppose Betty Brown has trouble at restaurants, too. If she’s never learned Italian, how on earth could she order the lasagna?

  9. ivyleaves

    Does anyone else notice the uncanny resemblance to Tammy Faye Baker? Just with grey hair.

  10. KMTBERRY

    I have no intention of leaving Texas, but my stars, wouldn’t it be nice to live in one of those states where their denizens (mostly elected representatives) aren’t CONSTANTLY embarrassing them?

    This reminds me of when Clayton Williams made his infamous “might as well just lie back and enjoy it” comment.

  11. Derek

    Are we sure that’s Betty Brown? All white ladies with pink lipstick and helmet hair look the same to me.

  12. Kate Dino

    Twisty Faster Cultural Reprogramming Institute. I’m just saying.

  13. Kara

    So, this Betty Brown character is saying that her poll workers flunked kindergarten? My 4-year-old daughter could match names on IDs to a printed list, and she can’t really read yet!

  14. birkwearingblamer

    She looks like all the Baptist ladies around my neck of the woods.

    Maybe she’s an aged Betty Bowers?

    In Houston, we have a large Asian population. Most of the Asians that I know have adopted English-type first names. Like Debbie Tran or Tina Nguyen (the “smith” name of Vietnam). Our Asian neighbors work hard, are friendly and their kids bring the school testing scores up. Chinese moms even make their kids to school on Saturday. I tell my kids that they’re lucky that their mom doesn’t make them go to school on Saturday. I’m still on top of them regarding school work, though.

  15. rootlesscosmo

    @Catherine Martell: zowie. And Wikipedia says that wasn’t his whole name.

    Chumley-Fanshaw? What’s so hard aobut Chumley-Fanshaw?

  16. PhysioProf

    Gadzooks! What a blithering fuck-up!

  17. D

    It always amuses me when people turn their discomfort with what is unfamiliar into “polite” hostility and dismissal.

  18. j

    birkwearingblamer:

    “Our Asian neighbors work hard, are friendly and their kids bring the school testing scores up.”

    And even if we didn’t, we would still have the right to use our own names.

  19. birkwearingblamer

    Absolutely! I’m also glad that we get families focused on education. I’m a former teacher with 4 degrees. No lip service here.

  20. lysistrata

    A real brown-out! That’s some espeshul, patriarchized tool, alright.

    It’s unusual that a woman would wear the center-of-the-universe cloak so blatantly, unless she´s a truly fearsome sociopath, even to the alpha males of the provincial elite.
    I wouldn´t turn my back to ´it´.

  21. Kuleana

    Wow, so are only English names acceptable then? No Sheehan, Schreiner, anything ending in -ski, etc?

    Although actually, if we want to be as absolutely purely far back American as we can, shouldn’t we be using Native last names? I wonder how Betty Brown would feel about renaming herself Betty Bibiigiwizens.

  22. Agasaya

    What is it with Texans? Back in the 1920′s, Texas Governor Amanda Ferguson, said that Spanish shouldn’t be taught in the schools because (paraphrasing), if English was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for the rest of us. For those of you who recall this as an urban legend, the story was repeated by Jimmy Carter in a speech he gave here so you can take it up with him.

    http://www.international.ucla.edu/burkle/article.asp?parentid=2198

    Americans have this entire hate-hate relationship with language, likely because reading is stuffed down our throats before spoken mastery is attained (Scandinavians have near total literacy and don’t start teaching reading until the age of seven or eight). And if we don’t introduce ‘foreign’ languages earlier than high school, chances of becoming fluent in it aren’t too great.

    I wish I knew my ‘sir’name. It was mangled at Ellis Island with so many others. It’s much shorter now. Perhaps I ought to be grateful. Being a second generation American, it is entirely possible that I would never have been able to pronounce it, much less spell it and no one would let me vote in Texas. Come to think of it, no one in Texas liked my short name back in the seventies when I did a stint of graduate work there.

    Its a recognizably Jewish name and it got me thrown out of a lot of places.

  23. larkspur

    Antoinette Niebieszczanski, I love your name. If I were to guess at its pronunciation, I’d guess “neebuhZHENski”, but I think that doesn’t adequately account for all the c’s and z’s. But I think I’d be closer to the right pronunciation that I’d be if I tried to sound out “Worcestershire”. And when you get to your Siobhans and your Caoimhíns, who hail from hailing distance of the mother country, well, now we’re having some good all-American fun. I mean it. I love the American mix.

    Although weird things happened when folks arrived at Ellis Island back in the day. For example – well, look at Vito Corleone! but really for example, my grandpa was a little kid named August Johann [LastName], but the immigration official thought that “Gus” was a poor way for a new young American boy to start out, so he Anglicized the names and switched ‘em to John August. Easy as pizza.

  24. Adorable Girlfriend

    People who think like Betty much live in a place that still has lava lamps and bean bags. I wonder if she has my EZ Bake oven too.

  25. larkspur

    Probably everyone knows this already, but Ellis Island’s database is now completely searchable for immigrants arriving between 1892 and 1924. My grandpa left Southampton, England and sailed on the Oceanic, arriving in New York on June 30, 1909. My grandpa was not a big talker, but he did tell us that the weather was horrendous on the crossing, but that he and his brother were among the few who didn’t get seasick, and they ran merrily all over the ship.

    “http://www.ellisisland.org/”

  26. rootlesscosmo

    @Agasaya:

    Americans have this entire hate-hate relationship with language, likely because reading is stuffed down our throats before spoken mastery is attained

    Language is also inseparably connected to ideas of whiteness in this country. (I gather France is having some similar experiences these days.) If you define “American” as “of British [or, even more narrowly, English] descent,” and you make that equivalent to “white” in a system governed by the “one-drop rule,” then successive waves of immigrants arrive here at a greater or lesser distance from “whiteness” depending on skin color and language; the Irish (half my ancestry) caught a break because they already spoke English (or “white” as it’s known to some Western Canadians) but were sandbagged by their weird religion, so they had to undergo “whitening,” as did, gradually, Italians and Eastern European Jews. In every case there was tremendous pressure to master English as a necessary, though not sufficient, condition of becoming “white”–at the same time that African-Americans had been forced, under severe penalties, to learn English and give up their own languages. (You want consistency? Order the split pea soup.) Fear and hatred of languages other than English, especially when they’re spoken by dark-skinned newcomers, is mostly a matter of policing “racial” boundaries.

  27. Twisty

    People who think like Betty much live in a place that still has lava lamps and bean bags.

    I was thinking iron maidens and the rack.

  28. Denise

    Ray…. Rahh… Ruuuummmmmay? Ray-mee? Kah? Koe? Kuhhhh?

    Holy fuck this is difficult.

    Not that it really matters. It still shocks me that people are happily willing to display their racism out in public for everyone to see, like they just don’t care who knows that they are hateful douchebags. For instance, on my block there’s this dude with this bumper sticker on his car. It stuns me every time I see it, that he actually wants everyone to be aware that he hates black people and Muslims. How do these people manage to do and say shit like that without getting beaten up by someone? Why haven’t I gone and keyed that asshole’s car already? I really ought to. Or maybe cover the sticker with, like, a pro-Palestine one or something.

  29. Deanna

    Hey Betty. My white-ass last name is 11 letters long, contains a 5 consonant dipthong, and contains only 1 vowel (albeit three times). But I guess that’s okay with you, it being European and all?

    I guarantee that Ko is considerably easier to pronounce at first sight.

  30. krokodil

    The funny thing is, a lot of Asian people actually DO change their names for our convenience…and mostly b/c they hate to hear the dumb white people butcher their names. Both of my friends from Taiwan chose “American” names (one named herself after the stewardess on the plane over). A lot of second-generation Asian-Americans do this too: their parents name them twice over. It’s sort of ironic that this woman should be attacking one of the nation’s best-assimilated groups (generally speaking) for not being “American” enough, especially considering that in terms of our national ideal of working hard to achieve, they’re probably much more patriotic than she is.

  31. Cottonpants

    I guess if putting on makeup makes you feminine, putting on MORE makeup, especially in garish circus hues, makes you even MORE feminine. And who doesn’t want to be more feminine?

  32. slythwolf

    Cholmondeley-Featherstonehaugh

    Catherine Martell, I must inquire–do you read Sarah Rees Brennan’s blog, by any chance?

  33. slythwolf

    Americans have this entire hate-hate relationship with language, likely because reading is stuffed down our throats before spoken mastery is attained (Scandinavians have near total literacy and don’t start teaching reading until the age of seven or eight).

    No, no, you’ve got to teach them reading in kindergarten, so you can make them fill out their own paperwork. Got to put as much red tape in learning as early as possible.

    I started reading at 3 or 4, before it was taught in school; but I was precocious.

  34. Agasaya

    Rootlesscosmo,

    Absolutely! The intent here is to showcase the behavior of the people logging in new immigrants at Ellis Island. Apparently, using translators was morally objectionable despite the fact that there were always plenty around – each new immigrant of that day had to have a sponsor claim them upon reaching these shores. Nor did many even take the time to actually sound out a name to get ‘close’. Yes, another attempt at ‘erasure’ of all that is foreign.
    Names are labels. Under magical thinking (the “P” strikes again), take away the label and you damage the object or person attached to it.

    Slythwolf,

    This also brings us back to a fear of phonics, a word likely to panic Betty darling because of the difficulty involved in decoding that pesky ‘ph’. Fonics to you, Bets. Yeah. Fonics you.

  35. hero

    Twisty, you know I have a near-creepy cyber-crush on you. Such that I tap the Twistyblog key every time I hover near any e-device capable of snagging electrons from the ether and ordering them into Twisty wisdom for me, so you are just *that* much responsible for the fact that I’ve been harassed by Betty’s face *multiple times* today, lipstick and all. Wondering, here, if you could you please, please please put Maypearl’s butt back up?

    Sooo much more aesthetical and conducive to mellow.

    Ever so many thanks,
    hero

  36. Jenn

    I don’t get it. Well, I do, in the sense that I vaguely comprehend racism yet fail to have the fortitude to intellectually dissect it. “Ko” is two letters. How much easier does it get than that? I suppose she could just call him “K”. Not “Kay”, however, because that has three letters and is too complex for racist brain flatulence.

    I find these proceedings highly ironic. First of all, I have a horrible last name. Nine letters, two syllables, and silent vowels galore! Oy. But being of nice white breeding stock evidently has saved me from the name police, even though the only person who pronounced my name correctly at the first try was from Montreal. See, it’s because I have a nice white name and I am a nice white girl. Even though my last name is French, and thus, needlessly complex and pompous in construction, the Powers That Be have determined that this name is infinitely preferable to “Ko”.

    I’m getting this strange notion she’s less objecting to the difficulty of “Ko” than the fact that the one sporting that name is obviously not good ol’ white American stock. All nine letters of my name, including the six unnecessary ones, are regarded as mere curiosities. Yet “Ko”, both letters, threatens the fragile moral foundation of our great and unified Aryan nation.

    This is why I don’t live in Texas any more, Twisty. I mean, Arizona isn’t much of a step up (protip: reference McCain, Goldwater, and Sheriff Jo Arpaio), but most of our politicians don’t see to have an issue with that tongue-twisting “Ko”.

    Although “Gomez” sends them into a fit. Don’t even try to pull a “Rodriguez”.

  37. Silence

    My father used to work with a man named Raoul Dickshit. No, not kidding. (I’m not sure if his last name was spelled ‘dickshit’ but that was how it was pronounced.) Later, I heard that he changed it. When I was a teenager, I thought it was a good idea — who needs the hassle? Now that I’m pushing forty, I wish my last name was Dickshit. Honestly, how many times do you legitimately get a chance to say something like that in public, perhaps even at a fancy party or dinner? Hello, I’m Ms. Dickshit. Yeah, love it.

    As for Ms. Brown, she’s right up there with all the asshats who wear those tee shirts that read: “Why should I have to press 1 for English?” Dog forbid anyone should be asked to speak more than one language or recognize the fact that there are people — non-white people, no less! — who don’t speak white man’s English out there. Dog forbid we extend them an iota of respect or accord them the simple human dignity of retaining their own names.

  38. rootlesscosmo

    @Agasaya:

    Absolutely! The intent here is to showcase the behavior of the people logging in new immigrants at Ellis Island.

    My East European Jewish ancestors (the other half) even turned this into jokes, like the one about the elderly East European Jew named Shaun Ferguson. He knew how to spell Krzyzanòwski but under pressure at Ellis Island his memory failed him and he cried out “Schon vergesn!”–”I already forgot!”–and the inspector wrote down what he thought he had heard.

  39. auntieintellectual

    Slythwolf almost has it right; children must be forced to read as early as possible for the red tape, yes, but more importantly, they can’t pass the standardized tests unless they can read.

  40. Fatima

    Denise, I have someone on my street with a bumper sticker that says, “You’re in America, Speak English.” Every time I run past his house I look for him so I can yell “Salem w’aleikum!” to him as I pass. This is in the liberalist part of Massachusetts.

  41. Shopstewardess

    @ hero: absolutely. The consecutive pictures of Maypearl and Betty Brown demonstrate perfectly that there are not enough horses for all the horses’ asses in the world.

  42. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    The way we say it is Neb-uh-SHON-skee, but proper Polish has it Nee-yeb-ee-yesh-CHINE-skee. It really is easier than it looks.

    Maintaining language is a huge part of maintaining culture. And English is a mixture and bastardization of every other language anyway.

  43. Jezebella

    Fatima, your neighbor surely doesn’t even speak “English”, he speaks “American.” And probably that crazy Massachusetts version of American, which sounds like a lot of squawking to my Southern ear. Sheesh. Of course, you should hear the version of the language I’m subjected to here in lazy-mouth Miss’ippi.

    Salem w’aleikum, y’all.

  44. Twisty

    I am inclined to regard statements — particularly when made by members of a dominant class — describing the high moral fiber, exemplary patriotism, or peerless work ethic of an entire lower-status class of people, as condescending stereotypes, and not particularly useful to the good old discourse. As blamer j points out up there somewhere, all Americans are (theoretically) entitled to basic stuff whether or not they embody the sterling qualities of the Puritans or Einstein or Mother Teresa.

    In a similar vein: I’d like to reiterate that the anecdote (and its poor relation, the synopsis of an acquaintance’s views) can have entertainment value, cf “Schon vergesn!”, but is rarely, if ever, effective as evidence in an argument, cf. “some of my best friends are strippers, and they are rich, happy, and empowerfulized, therefore your views on porn are wrong.”

  45. mearl

    @ kuleana: now THAT is a good point.

    I wonder what Betty Crocker thinks of Barack Obama? My guess is that it’s probably along the lines of something like, “AHHHH! AHHHHHH!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

  46. rootlesscosmo

    Twisty: point taken–sorry.

  47. Ron Sullivan

    While we have that photo in front of us: Have you ever noticed that women like Ms Brown there, and, say, Nancy Reagan, have a sort of permanent deer-in-the-headlights look, an anxious-eyed smiley rictus? I think it’s supposed to be charming, or signal harmlessness. “See? See? Don’t hit me! I’m not threatening the P! Hit her! Hit them! Not me!”

  48. larkspur

    Twisty:
    “…In a similar vein: I’d like to reiterate that the anecdote (and its poor relation, the synopsis of an acquaintance’s views) can have entertainment value, cf “Schon vergesn!”, but is rarely, if ever, effective as evidence in an argument, cf. “some of my best friends are strippers, and they are rich, happy, and empowerfulized, therefore your views on porn are wrong.””

    rootlesscosmo
    “Twisty: point taken–sorry.”

    Okay. I am sorry, but I don’t entirely understand what just happened here. The reason I ask for a wee bit of explanation is because I figure I am doing something weird or ineffective, and I should probably understand what it is, or else I will do it again, and probably often.

    Is it maybe the brittleness of the anecdote? It is sharply, poignantly hilarious when told by the person or the person’s people. If I were to hear it told by someone whose grandfather got great enjoyment from fucking with people at Ellis Island, it would be not hilarious at all. Would this be the reference I am missing?

  49. martine

    Sorry, could someone tell me what MRA stands for? English is my second language.
    Thanks!

  50. sonia

    I think it would behoove her to make her hair more accessible, just a normal hairstyle for identification purposes that’s easier for me to look at.

    daaaamn. that’s some down home old skool racism.

  51. sonia

    p.s. MRA= “men’s rights advocate.” these are people who live in a fantasy world where males are oppressed by the cruelty of women, often feminists. in response to feminist support and movement towards greater freedoms for women, they whine incessantly about how hard it is to have (tiny) pieces of their white male privilege mercilessly ripped from their bare hands. they actually have whole theories and websites about this shit, how hard it is for men in male dominated society.

    no one knows whether they took too much acid and are permanently delusional, or just big fucking babies.

  52. Kuleana

    Hey, wait. You know what I just remembered? The most common Chinese last name in the world is “Chen.” Seriously, how does Betty Brown communicate with anyone if anything more than three letters is too much for her? Shouldn’t she be going by Bet Bro if four letters is too much for her?

    (On a side note, I used to have a roommate whose last name was Chen, and when my grandma started going to a doctor with that last name, she called to ask me if they were related. Good times.)

  53. Twisty

    @ Larkspur & Rootless

    Uh oh. I have failed to make myself clear. I am not against the anecdote! I am only against confusing anecdotes with evidence.

    Rootlesscosmo’s anecdote was entertaining, and he wasn’t trying to argue a point based entirely on the strength of it; it was a good anecdote.

    Better?

  54. larkspur

    Yes, Twisty, all clear, thank you.

  55. virago

    Kuleana,

    “Wow, so are only English names acceptable then? No Sheehan, Schreiner, anything ending in -ski, etc?

    Although actually, if we want to be as absolutely purely far back American as we can, shouldn’t we be using Native last names? I wonder how Betty Brown would feel about renaming herself Betty Bibiigiwizens.”

    That was my same exact thought when I read this post. Native Americans were here first, but white people conviently forget that when they talk about someone not being “American” enough. OTOH, the biggest ethnic group that Americans are descended from are germans, but my big long doesn’t-look-like-it’s-spelled german last name doesn’t seem to be “American” enough for some people. Sometimes, I think it would be easier to be Smith or Jones.

  56. gerda

    but he has already made his name much more accessible to europeans by adopting the order of personal name, family name. in china, its the other way round.

  57. ivyleaves

    Ron Sullivan: While we have that photo in front of us: Have you ever noticed that women like Ms Brown there, and, say, Nancy Reagan, have a sort of permanent deer-in-the-headlights look, an anxious-eyed smiley rictus? I think it’s supposed to be charming, or signal harmlessness. “See? See? Don’t hit me! I’m not threatening the P! Hit her! Hit them! Not me!”

    I think that’s called plastic surgery.

  58. birkwearingblamer

    I’m sorry for stereotyping Asians as focused on education. That’s been my experience as a teacher and with friends. I did not mean to imply that anyone has to earn his/her right to use his/her name.

  59. Twisty

    Yeah, because I know a Chinese-American chick who married a skeevy lawyer for his money. I know a Japanese-American chick who sells sex toys. I know a Vietnamese-American drug dealer. I know a Korean-American chick who did not distinguish herself at school. I knew a Chinese-American dude who had agoraphobia and lived with his mother and played guitar in a neo-nazi punk band and cut himself with razor blades because he really wanted to be a girl until he died of a prescription painkiller overdose at 43 and they found a bunch of gay porn under his bed.

    Asians. They’re just like gay people.

  60. Ron Sullivan

    Asians. They’re just like gay people.

    And some of them are gay people. You know they do that just to screw up our good ol’ clean-cut all-American statistics, right? And then they pursue education so they’ll be the only ones who can understand statistics. Also economics. Then they’ll rule over us by putting everyone else in the meeting to sleep (except for the designated recording secretary who’s still trying to learn to spell “phthalates”) when they talk about economics and statistics and then making the decisions and putting the rest of us on subcommittees when we’re not paying attention.

    As soon as Alan Greenspan dies, just watch. He’s not dead, is he? Uh-oh.

  61. meerkat

    She doesn’t seem to notice that the name already has been adapted for the use of English speakers in that it is written in English letters rather than hanzi.

  62. birkwearingblamer

    Point taken, Twisty.

    Here’s a good article about the “model minority” and the reality:

    http://www.asian-nation.org/model-minority.shtml

  63. Catherine Martell

    Please, carry on the substantial discussion at will. I’m still stuck on amusing names in this corner.

    @rootlesscosmo:

    Chumley-Fanshaw? What’s so hard aobut Chumley-Fanshaw?

    Dammit, rootlesscosmo. Too easy. Next, you may issue a handy pronunciation guide to Kirkcudbright-Geoghegan-Marjoribanks-Auchinleck, and De la Warr-St Clair-Le Fanu. All completely different to what any reading person might guess. Because English names are so very easy.

    I am certain Betty Brown would get all of these right first try without consulting Debrett’s Guide To Pronouncing Weird Words Posh Brits Spell Wrong Deliberately To Confuse Normal People. I mean, otherwise she’d be like a total hypocrite or something.

    @slythwolf:

    Catherine Martell, I must inquire–do you read Sarah Rees Brennan’s blog, by any chance?

    Nope; enlightenez-moi?

    @Silence:

    My father used to work with a man named Raoul Dickshit.

    I will wager a taco (or a samosa) that the gentleman in question spelled his name Rahul Dixit. Dixit is a standard-issue posh north Indian surname. Credible, and even enviable, in context; but the pronunciation in English is a wee bit embarrassing.

  64. rootlesscosmo

    As soon as Alan Greenspan dies, just watch. He’s not dead, is he? Uh-oh.

    Friend: “Calvin Coolidge died.”
    Dorothy Parker: “How do they know?”

  65. Ron Sullivan

    Hah.

    BTW, I think the anxious expression predates plastic surgery and Botox. Those just serve to freeze it in place.

    Suppose Rahul Dixit has a sister names Ipse?

  66. PandanCat

    Boy, do I wish some of my students from last year would move into her neighborhood. “Hi! We’re the Sittipornrattnamanees! And these are the Suwannakesorns! And the folks over there are the Nateesans and Mokulpatads! Nice to meet you!”

  67. jami

    Holy cracker. I was recently startled to hear the “your name is different you should change it” sentiment from a 20-year-old college dropout. Maybe he should move to Texas and go into politics.

  68. Givesgoodemail

    (from the Chronicle article):

    “‘They [Democrats] want this to just be about race,’ Berry said.”

    ***snigger*** It is just about race, dearie.

  69. Kossack

    Didn’t that Texan ever hear “A Boy Named Sue”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT2ntxLl6Ns&feature=rec-HM-fresh+div According to Johnny Cash, folks with weird names make great reps.

    Oh, crap. This is a song about a guy with a girl’s name having to be tough because everybody laughs at women. Excuse me while I go reprogram myself.

  70. Xia *formerly Alice*

    Oh Betty, you too can learn to embrace your Sino side.

    We are indeed coming to a city near you Betty. My family has been taken over with Chinese relatives. A four year old adopted girl, a Fujian province daughter in law and soon two twins who will be my grandchildren. In fact in the last ten years the anglos in my family have slowly become the minority. I am now known as “Xia” to my daughter in law since that’s easier and more comforting a name for her. She’s not so homesick being able to use a Chinese name for me.

    Betty needs to be very careful the Chinese have a way of over taking families like mine and brainwashing us with their communist ideals. I have no desire to go back to my anglo only world. It can happen to you too Betty. I’m sure this is the nightmare you are trying to avoid.

    You can learn to love it and will scarcely remember when your utensil drawer wasn’t half full of chopsticks. It’s a real horror Betty! Worse yet is that my own anglo son has had to become fluent in Mandarin, as we are trying to just so we can continue to communicate with him *sniff*. I am very glad though that you do not want to attempt proper tones in Chinese. I’d never be able to make you out and god, Mandarine with a southern accent? Save us Betty!

    Betty is right. If you don’t nip it in the bud all things Asian just start to creep in and overwhelm the values of our superior society. We all know that three thousand years of history cannot hold a candle to the Alamo! Speaking of which, my d.i.l. believes it would make a fine temple for her Buddha to reside in.

    Xia,

    Xiamen Fujian, Texas
    * changed the name of Houston to keep the peace*

  71. Gerard Smith

    What would Betty do with these guys who helped frame the constitution?

    Spaight
    Ingersoll
    Clymer

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