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.