Thursday, April 9, 2009

Adopt names "easier for Americans to deal with"

Source: Texas Politics

During public hearings on the voter identification legislation in the House, state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, suggested that Asian-Americans might want to adopt names that are "easier for Americans to deal with" when they want to vote so their names will match what is on registration rolls.

Brown made her statements during testimony from Ramey Ko, representing the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Brown also asked Ko if Chinese people have to show identification to vote in their home country. He noted there are not any elections in the People's Republic of China.

The Texas Democratic Party is demanding Brown apologize for saying also saying:

"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 went on to say she was not asking Asian-Americans to change their names but "transliterate" them in a way that was consistent for English speakers.

Brown later tells Ko: "Can't you see that this is somethign 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?"

Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie said Republicans are trying to suppress votes with a partisan identification bill and said Brown "is adding insult to injury with her disrespectful comments."

Brown spokesman Jordan Berry said Brown was not making a racially motivated comment but was trying to resolve an identification problem.

Berry said Democrats are trying to blow Brown's comments out of proportion because polls show most voters support requiring identification for voting. Berry said the Democrats are using racial rhetoric to inflame partisan feelings against the bill.

"They want this to just be about race," Berry said.

I didn't know Ramey Ko was such a hard name to pronounce. For me, Indian names are impossible. At work I would rather deal with someone name Joe Singh than someone named Sriranjan Subramaniam right? And for East Asian names like Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean its the 3-names forward and backwards that get messed up. I've had heated arguments with airplane ticket agencies for example trying to buy tickets for my parents because on the passport its "surname-middle-first" and on VISA it's "first-middle-surname". The guy on the phone kept asking if a) it was the same person and b) why it was different. I told them passport and VISA use different methods. Even for English names on passport would be Brown, James and on VISA would be James Brown. Take a look at yours?

Anyone else run into these problems?

Why target Chinese and Asians? East Asian names are short. There are other really hard names in the world like in Eastern Europe and Greece/Turkey and Africa and Latin America. To me surnames like Tskitishvilli or Bilyaletdinov or Gutierrez or Nikopolidis aren't the easiest names around. So if you're going to make some people change name, you must make everyone do it.

So I do understand problems of matching Asian names excatly. Especially the front-to-back and back-to-front issue. I don't know why politicians bother with such nonsense. People are never going to change their names and mentioning it just shows how stupid you are. I don't know what the solution is. I know Vietnamese guys named Nguyen Nguyen (yes first and last name) how do you check that!?

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