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Betty Brown, you suck

In Betty Brown's world, the American flag stands for good ol' fashioned apple pie and ethnocentrism

This in from OCA and Think Progress:
On Tuesday, State Rep. Betty Brown (R) caused a firestorm during House testimony on voter identification legislation when she said that Asian-Americans should change their names because they’re too hard to pronounce:

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?” Brown said.

Brown later told [Organization of Chinese Americans representative Ramey] Ko: “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?”

Yesterday, Brown continued to resist calls to apologize. Her spokesman said that Democrats “want this to just be about race.”

Okay, Betty Brown, let me tell you something: this is not about race; this is about cultural and nationalistic misrepresentation. First, what is this "here" to which she is referring? Southern White America? If so, then I'm sorry, but isn't it a little problematic that Betty Brown seems to believe that a certain territory and population claims ownership over what kind of name is easy or difficult to pronounce? This sounds like hyper-patriotism to me, and not the good kind. Second, what is with this division of "you" and "us"? Who are "you" and who is "us"? Is she referring to "You" as the Asian Americans citizen, and "Us" as the imaginary, unicultural, un-colored citizen? Wake up, Betty. What you're speaking to is a process of selective historicity, in which you blindly believe that this imaginary division that you're creating, between an American culture and an incomplete, partly but not fully American subculture, actually exists. But it doesn't. You need to rethink your categories, of what constitutes an Americanism, inclusivity, and cultural understanding.


  1. Anonymous said...

    This woman is an ignorant moron. Reading about how she thinks angers me a lot, and...ughh.
    Not everyone in this country has names like "Betty Brown", that you may feel is easy to pronounce.
    I hope she apoligizes. As a citizen of Texas, and a Chinese-Taiwanese American, this woman makes me ashamed to live in a wonderful state with a huge medical center in Houston with...DOCTORS that you know, are generally asian.
    Maybe she should learn how to pronounce names herself. A lot of Chinese American names are generally a couple syllables. Like:
    Mei Li, Mulan, and so on...  

  2. kzhai said...

    Agreed. Betty sucks. This issue of names has always interested me. My first name is Kevin, although it hasn't always been that way. When I was young, I distinctly remember being present for my parents picking me an "American" name, which I realized was a rather odd experience once I arrived at school. Because I attended a boarding school where I knew no one going in, my parents had my name changed from "Luyao" to "Kevin." This certainly made it a lot easier on me, not having to deal with *every* teacher struggling to pronounce my name, but sometimes I think, "When should one hold on to his/her heritage and at what point should he/she try to assimilate into the one in which he/she lives?" I think that while this question is particularly applicable to Asian names that can be difficult to pronounce, it is salient for many other aspects of Asian American identity and culture as well. Thoughts?  

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