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Saturday, May 30, 2009

In case it's unclear, this is a racist comment... straight from a Congressional candidate.

In this piece Ohio Congressional candidate Mark Krikorian had this to say about the pronunciation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's name:

Most e-mailers were with me on the post on the pronunciation of Judge Sotomayor's name (and a couple griped about the whole Latina/Latino thing — English dropped gender in nouns, what, 1,000 years ago?). But a couple said we should just pronounce it the way the bearer of the name prefers, including one who pronounces her name "freed" even though it's spelled "fried," like fried rice. (I think Cathy Seipp of blessed memory did the reverse — "sipe" instead of "seep.") Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.

and he went on to conclude:

This may seem like carping, but it's not. Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options — the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.

Seriously? So really he is saying "Go ahead and be 'ethnic' just don't force me to acknowledge or respect it."

Subtext: "Real Americans -aka white people- shouldn't have to lower themselves to learn any slightly difficult 'ethnic' pronunciations. Not when we are kind enough to allow 'them' into 'our' country."


Bridget said...

So I can call him \Cry-Core-Eye-In\ because it is more important for me to be comfortable than to bother making an effort to pronounce his name the way he and his family do?


HeyChey said...

WOW. That is patently racist. I mean who would question it. . .it's a bit scary that a candidate could be so eloquent and so ethnicly critical in the same voice (that was irony) and have it slip unnoticed into our systems. The very use of the word "Assimilation" is incredibly frustrating. It's a good thing I've already had my breakfast!