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Are ethnic minorities who use anglicised names sell outs? Watch

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  • View Poll Results: Are these people sell outs?
    Yes
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    17.09%
    No
    79
    67.52%
    In some cases
    18
    15.38%

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    This applies to anyone of immigrant background who has a foreign sounding name and purposely uses an anglicised form of their name or uses a completely different English name instead. Barack Obama did it for a while, used the name "Barry" which people in college knew him as rather than his birth name. It is much more common in the US as you'll see a lot of Oriental/Asian as well as Arabs people adopt English first names (that may be because Americans find pronouncing foreign names a bit tricky) but it is quite common among some groups in the UK. It isn't uncommon for people of Nigerian background to use English names officially but be referred to by their African name among their family. What does everyone think though, are they ashamed of their culture or is this simply an effort to fit in with the rest of us? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
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    Really? I don't see much in UK.
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    Sort of depends why they do it. By the time my family changed the surname to the Anglican spelling (from Germanic), we'd been living here for so many years there was a lot of English blood in the family, we all had English accents and no one spelt it the Germanic way anyway because everyone assumed we were English. So, in our case, not a sell out. If it had changed immediately and before we'd integrated, that would have been bad.

    Similarly, if your actual name is very difficult to pronounce in the English tongue, it's just easier to change it.
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    Does it matter?
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    I think it's not as complex of a matter as you're making it, some people just like to have a nickname.

    Especially if they have a foreign name that's perhaps hard to pronounce or say quickly, it's just more convenient and sociable to have a nickname that your peers can adapt quickly and easily.

    It would be pretty hard to be in an english school with the name Onwuatuegwu Adeoye now won't it?
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    (Original post by lonely14)
    Really? I don't see much in UK.
    You are unlikely to know about it. I bet you didn't know Barack Obama used to call himself Barry did you? It's common with Iranians as well who seem to adopt an anglicised nickname for people to refer them to.
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    I think it's just for convenience, if people cannot pronounce their names easily.
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    The Chinese do it a lot here. They assign themselves a name. Usually an adjective as opposed to a noun from my experience.
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    Gary!
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    (Original post by lonely14)
    Really? I don't see much in UK.
    I've met a lot of Chinese people (both at university and at home) who've done this... likely because their Chinese name is both unpronouncable and unwritable to English people! The vast majority of British-born ethnic minority people I know don't do this though - then again that might be because most of these I have known have been in Birmingham where there is a large Asian community?

    Can cause a little confusion though when two different groups of people refer to the same person with different names! Normally it's pretty obvious that other Chinese people will refer to them by their Chinese name, everybody else by their English one, but one guy at my uni decided to introduce himself to everyone in college with his Chinese name, then adopt an English name which he used when meeting people from then on... confusing!

    I don't think it's a bad thing. It's a personal choice of the person concerned and I don't think it's for anybody else to try and judge them on - compared to some of the issues that can be faced when cultures clash (see H&R for many examples) it's relatively trivial!
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    (Original post by Panda Vinnie)
    I think it's not as complex of a matter as you're making it, some people just like to have a nickname.

    Especially if they have a foreign name that's perhaps hard to pronounce or say quickly, it's just more convenient and sociable to have a nickname that your peers can adapt quickly and easily.

    It would be pretty hard to be in an english school with the name Onwuatuegwu Adeoye now won't it?
    Yes I know, but does that mean they're selling out? They're using an English name and in the process completely eradicating an important part of their ethnic identity in favour of "social convenience". So what if they struggle to say your whole name, they'll get used to it after saying it three times (just like learning any other new word) and if their name has 7 syllables than they can use a shorthand version e.g. how Alexander is shortened Alex, the name you gave could be shortened to Ona and still keep your identity intact. This happens as well tbf, but often they use a completely different name.

    Remember when slaves were brought to America they had their names stripped of them and were given their new names by their owners and thus usually adopted their owner's surname. This is why during the civil rights movement many black Americans changed their surname and adopted African names. Malcolm Little refused to be called "Little" because it was a name given to his ancestors by a slave owner. You can see the massive effect a name has on someone's identity.
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    I met a Hindu Indian the other day named Peter Hallam and a Sikh named Gary! Typical Indian behaviour, if they were Christian it would be acceptable.
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    (Original post by thefish_uk)
    I've met a lot of Chinese people (both at university and at home) who've done this... likely because their Chinese name is both unpronouncable and unwritable to English people! The vast majority of British-born ethnic minority people I know don't do this though - then again that might be because most of these I have known have been in Birmingham where there is a large Asian community?

    I don't think it's a bad thing. It's a personal choice of the person concerned and I don't think it's for anybody else to try and judge them on - compared to some of the issues that can be faced when cultures clash (see H&R for many examples) it's relatively trivial!
    If you had to live in China for work or something would you adopt a Chinese name and keep with it so everyone only knew you by your Chinese name apart from your family? Isn't it taking away a massive part of your identity in an effort to fit in?
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    (Original post by Brutal Honesty)
    Remember when slaves were brought to America they had their names stripped of them and were given their new names by their owners and thus usually adopted their owner's surname. This is why during the civil rights movement many black Americans changed their surname and adopted African names. Malcolm Little refused to be called "Little" because it was a name given to his ancestors by a slave owner. You can see the massive effect a name has on someone's identity.
    Big difference between having it taken and changing it yourself.
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    (Original post by Brutal Honesty)
    If you had to live in China for work or something would you adopt a Chinese name and keep with it so everyone only knew you by your Chinese name apart from your family? Isn't it taking away a massive part of your identity in an effort to fit in?

    A friend of mine recently spent a year working in China and her workmates gave her a Chinese name. Apparently it's quite an honour - they spent time coming up with a name that they felt reflected her personality.

    Because her workmates all spoke English, she went by her real name in the office, but I believe that her business cards had both her real name and her Chinese name on them.
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    The odd thing is the chinese use english names and do other things to appear western but most socialise exclusively among their own race...
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    Big difference between having it taken and changing it yourself.
    Still has the same effect on a person's identity though doesn't it? It is essentially making it so you don't recognise someone by their ethnic heritage if their name has been changed to fit into English culture. If you had an obviously German name then everyone would immediately recognise you as German from the moment they knew your name and it would act as a reminder everytime they said your name. If they instead knew you by an English name, that German part of your heritage is gone completely unless they probe deeper and find out. Basically only a handful of people would recognise you as German in the latter case whereas everyone would in the former.
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    you're looking into things farrrr too much.
    most people with 'foreign sounding names' change them simply so people can pronounce them, it normally starts in school with the teacher calling them out in the register.
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    (Original post by Brutal Honesty)
    Still has the same effect on a person's identity though doesn't it? It is essentially making it so you don't recognise someone by their ethnic heritage if their name has been changed to fit into English culture. If you had an obviously German name then everyone would immediately recognise you as German from the moment they knew your name and it would act as a reminder everytime they said your name. If they instead knew you by an English name, that German part of your heritage is gone completely unless they probe deeper and find out. Basically only a handful of people would recognise you as German in the latter case whereas everyone would in the former.
    I suppose that depends how close you feel to it as to whether it's a loss. I mean, I know I have a significant amount of German heritage ... but I feel more English, it would be very strange going around with an obviously German surname so everyone would identify me as German, where I wouldn't.
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    No. It just makes life easier for everyone. Imagine people constantly forgetting your name; constantly asking you to repeat it and still pronounce it wrong; and constantly having it spelt wrong on important documents! And what's wrong with having 2 first names? I tell them my Chinese and English name and let them choose. Guess which they prefer?
 
 
 
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