Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
"When I became a naturalized American citizen, my full name became Malinda [Chinese Name] Lo. To this day, when non-Chinese people ask me what my Chinese name is, I might not tell them. Sometimes I say, “I’ll only tell you if you promise to not try to pronounce it.” Sometimes I say, “Sorry, I’m not going to tell you.” Without fail, every time I do tell an American what my Chinese name is, they think it’s hilarious and they try to pronounce it — even though I’ve told them I don’t want them to.
I can’t help it: This offends me. Why? Because it underscores my difference, my foreignness. It turns me into an exotic exhibit for them to gawk at.
Also, it contrasts significantly with how Chinese people react when I tell them my Chinese name. They either simply proceed to pronounce my name correctly, or they tell me that my name is beautiful, which is a compliment to my parents. Here’s my Chinese name: 駱曼琴.
I posted it there in Chinese characters to illustrate the fact that my Chinese name exists on a totally different cultural plane than my English name. If you can’t read Chinese, the name will mean nothing to you. Even if you hear it spoken aloud, you won’t hear the poetry that some Chinese speakers hear. Instead, it will sound strange and probably ugly to English speakers."
One of the BEST post about writing characters of color I have EVER read! GO READ NOW!