In order to understand what kind of discrimination happens because of names, one must first understand the significance of names. Hertzler Bosmajian says the following in reference to names, ‘‘an individual has no definition, no validity for himself, without a name. His name is his badge of individuality, the means whereby he identifies himself and enters upon a truly subjective existence’’ (qtd. in Carpusor and Loges). Names give people a way to identify themselves and a way to be identified by others. When starting a conversation with a new person, one first introduces himself, which is typically done by an exchange of names. However, the situation changes slightly when only the name is communicated. “Deprived of the opportunity to demonstrate their determination to counter negative stereotypes associated with their names, people may find themselves discriminated against based on those stereotypes” (Carpusor and Loges). It is unfortunate, but true. When a name is heard, it elicits specific image based solely on the name. Carpusor and Loges give the example of the name Bertha. When people think of the name Bertha they would imagine her as an older Caucasian women of lower-middle class, with attitudes common to those ...
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...use they have a certain name.
Everyone will be affected by name-based discrimination at some point in their life. Whether this discrimination takes place at home, in the workplace, or in a different country, it will take place. It happens differently for different people. Some individuals behave differently because they have a specific name, whereas others have people behave differently around them because they have a certain name. Although name-based discrimination exists, it is unavoidable. Names are a way for people to identify each other while, at the same time, allowing those people to have a sense of identity. It is unfortunate that such discrimination exists in the world today, but it is part of being human. Names are a fascinating idea that we as people have made up; they can be both beautiful and meaningful, and, at the same time, cause judgement and pain.
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