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  • Detester Magazine

People Pronounce My Name

Written By: Rohan Subramanium


When people pronounce My Name,

There is a twinge of nervous embarrassment

As I anticipate their utterance of my ethnicity.

And then they speak:

The syllables come out mangled,

And I do not correct them,

Ashamed that my identity is to them A foreign language.


For indeed, names hold the power and are

The first portal into the ancestral blood

In our veins, the cultural timeline that has

Culminated in us.

And when we allow them to be misconstrued

With passive desecration, the first layer of

Our identities crunches under assimilatory feet –


And thus the door is opened for unholy discrimination.


Therefore I must reach out of the

Turtle shell of self-conscious ethnicity

And instead proudly correct the mouths

That maybe innocently, maybe apathetically

Twist my identity onto itself,

And teach them to pronounce

My Name correctly.


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