betty-brown-for-web1Last Tuesday at a conference between the House Elections Committee and Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans, Betty Brown, a Texas Republican, said that voters of Asian descent should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

Her comment prompted numerous politicians across the country to call on her to apologize for her statements, and rightfully so.

New York City Councilman John Liu sent her a letter saying, “It’s outrageous and insulting for you to suggest it would ‘behoove’ us to adopt another name, to give up our birthright and a part of our own identity, in order to exercise our right to vote.”

In a country as diverse as America, I’m pretty shocked that things like this still occur. Although Brown’s spokesman has said she was not trying to make a racially motivated comment, anyone with some shred of common sense would have guessed that asking a particular group of people to change their last names solely so that it’s more convenient for others to say them is not only insulting but downright outrageous.

After all, how would you like it if someone asked you to change your last name, handed down through numerous generations and attached with a specific history and family background, simply because they claimed it was too hard to pronounce? (I find the motivation behind her reasoning extremely strange, as Chinese surnames tend to be a lot shorter than a lot of other Asian names out there. But that’s besides the point. No group should have to change their last name because it is deemed unsuitable by another group.)

In a country that prides itself on bringing together different cultures, ethnicities, as well as surnames, there is no excuse for this kind of ignorance and racial insensitivity to occur.

More information regarding this travesty can be found at The Huffington Post website:

-posted by Shirley Mak


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