Coffee is it? Sorry KO-FI! Uh-Nuh, Say my name and say it correctly.
Here's the line-up of your typical Suspects (brace yourself) :
1. The Silent Killer
Your earliest memory would probably be the new/ supply teachers that paused for what felt like a lifetime, maybe stammered their way through, but eased the knife in gently before completely murdering your name. It was gut-wrenching but we got through it.
2 . The Annihilator
These are the confident, love-a-challenge , I've-met-Africans-before type of individuals. They will jump straight in "OluwaSEAN , "OluwaSHONE", "Im just gonna just call you "Oluwa" - Well, for starters my name is not "God" (!)), secondly I tell you what my name is not the other way around.
3. The Corrector/ Renamer
Following on from
Number 2, the corrector will not hesitate to rename you and corrector. Forget whatever name you think you're called, they'll just pick whatever letters work out of your name and form something easier OR just name you something different entirely. They may even throw out "do you have any other names I can call you?".
4. The Pronoun-er
The pronoun-er is the most disrespectful. They're the real silent killers whereby they just refuse to you say your name entirely. No attempts, they jus refer to you as she, you, he, they. Or they'll increase their pitch or tone enough to get your attention or just speak in your direction. The real comfortable ones will refer to you as a pet name : luv, Hun, treacle etc
5. The helper
The helper is ... YOU! Or whoever is African or just generally has an uncommon name who feels the need to mispronounce their name or accept the above because you think you're "helping". The helper has all the excuses, before our western parts can even get a chance somehow you've already discredited the length and purpose of your name. Your name is a sentence - get over it! It's probably a powerful, beautiful and meaningful one.
That's not acceptance and it shouldn't be acceptable. So as we promote our clothing, our music our food to the world, let's not forget our name. The world will learn your name, so never stop saying it.