Texas State Rep. Betty Brown (R) finally hit on the problem that she has with Asian people: they are just a bit too . . . well . . . Asian — at least in terms of their names. Brown has caused a firestorm in suggesting that Asian-Americans change their names so that “Americans” can pronounce them.
Brown’s made her suggestion at a house hearing on voter identification legislation: “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?” She reportedly later told an official at the Organization of Chinese Americans: “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?”
This may explain President Bush’s insistence on calling everyone by a nickname like “Congressman Kickass.” Much easier to pronounce them those Anglo names like Sweeney.
Ironically, when confronted over the obvious slight, Brown accused others of introducing race in her suggestion that a particular race needs to drop their ethnic names. She accused the Democrats of wanting “this to just be about race.”
It is clear that you cannot get much easier that Betty Brown. However, an examination of the good Americans in the Texas legislators seems to show the problem is far greater than the Asian descendants. People like Deshotel, Gonzalez Toureilles, Kleinschmidt, Kolkhorst, Laubenberg, Naishtat, Quintanilla, and others may need Brown’s intervention. Perhaps we could go with just colors (though I expect Manderin Orange is out). Yet, now that I think of it, there is Fred Brown and Betty Brown in the Texas House -creating endless confusion. Why not just go with numbers? That would certainly simplify the problems with the name proliferation with people like Billy Bob or Betty Lou who string cite three or even four names.
Rep. Brown may be interested in an ancient Chinese proverb: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.”
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