After a Republican senator from Georgia consciously mispronounced Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’s name at an event, #MyNameIs began trending and saw people revealing their unique names and their meanings in different cultures.
Senator David Perdue was at an election rally in support of US President Donald Trump on October 17 in Macon City, Georgia when he mispronounced Harris’s name.
“Kah”-mah-lah? Kah-Mah-lah”? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” Perdue told thousands of his supporters present at the rally. The moment which was shared on social media received a lot of criticism.
Senator David Perdue of Georgia talking about the first Black woman to be on a national ticket. pic.twitter.com/4fVylBJgdA
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 17, 2020
Perdue‘s mispronunciation outraged many on social media, particularly Harris’s supporters and people from other ethnic groups. Many criticised him for wilfully mispronouncing Harris’s name, despite knowing her as a fellow senator for nearly four years.
Many tweeted using the hashtag to reveal the origin and meanings of their names, as a sign of protest.
#MyNameIs Majid M. Padellan. Majid means “glorious” in Arabic. It is a Muslim name that I didn’t really appreciate as a kid, because people couldn’t pronounce it and teased me about it.
On November 3rd, we’ll vote out the nasty, moronic racists and enjoy a GLORIOUS win.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) October 18, 2020
#MyNameIs Elizabeth Rosalina Guzmán. I am proud of my Latinx heritage and proud to have found my American Dream. My son told me we had to return to Peru because Donald Trump didn’t like people who spoke Spanish, so I ran for office to show him that Guzmán is an American name! pic.twitter.com/6RkPkTey7M
— Elizabeth Guzman (@guzman4virginia) October 17, 2020
Lets make a change in Georgia and the White House this November! #iwillvote.com
— Erin Wilson (@ewilson215) October 17, 2020
#MyNameIs Anjana. Sometimes I go by AJ cuz I’m afraid that if the powerful White man can’t pronounce my name, I won’t be considered important. But Un-juh-na is the name of the bold & brave Goddess mother of Lord Hanuman, so I work on being the bold Anjana that deserves to be seen https://t.co/Xx4oih9K4z
— Anjana (@AnjJohnny) October 17, 2020
#MyNameIs Zara. My parents spent a lot of time and energy picking out a name that would be easily pronounceable for non-Indian people. But they shouldn’t have had to do that. It shouldn’t be on POC to shave off pieces of our culture to make life easier for white people. https://t.co/CNHmFQcRVt
— Zara Ahmed, DrPH (@ZarainDC) October 17, 2020
#MyNameIs Linh Thuy Nguyen. Linh, meaning spirit, soul from Sino-Vietnamese. My dad wanted a traditional name for me to honor our lineage & where we came from. Name pronunciation, and taking the time to do it right, emphasizes safety & belonging, and is a sign of respect. https://t.co/GF5zY2XLBG
— Linh Nguyen (@l4nguyen) October 17, 2020
According to reports, it was Amit Jani, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Outreach Coordinator of the Biden campaign who launched the ”My name is” campaign.
Many also used the hashtag to express support and promote the Democratic party’s candidates.
Several political figures and celebrities and like Kal Penn and Lea Thompson also participated in the campaign.
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) October 18, 2020
#MyNameIs Randall. It’s derived from two elements – a wolf & a shield. It represents who I am, a fierce protector of my family, my city & my people.
— Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin) October 17, 2020
.#MyNameIs Lea Thompson. It’s pronounced LEE Ah. My mom spelled it that way because my dad was stationed in Pearl Harbor. It is a Hawaiian spelling she said. My mother had respect, not contempt for other cultures. So please join me in voting for #BidenHarris2020 #IWillVote
— Lea Thompson (@LeaKThompson) October 18, 2020
#MyNameIs Pramila. It comes from the Sanskrit word “prem” which means love. The name is constantly mispronounced as is my last name. I only mind that when it is done willfully and continuously. Let’s build an inclusive America. Vote #BidenHarris2020. Our vote, our power.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) October 18, 2020
#MyNameIs Meenakshi. I’m named after the Hindu goddess, as well as my great great grandmother. I come from a long line of strong women who taught me to be proud of my heritage and to demand respect—especially from racist white men like @sendavidperdue who are threatened by us. https://t.co/Bonzz5n3Xu
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) October 17, 2020
My great grandmother’s name was Kamala. Not “Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever.”#MyNameIs Gautam. It means bright light. The kind of bright light a Biden-Harris Administration will represent. And that is why #IWillVote.
— Gautam Raghavan (@gauragDC) October 17, 2020
#MyNameIs Ilham, I prefer Ilhan. I never liked the M sound 😜. It means “Inspiration” in Arabic. My father named me Ilham and inspired me to lead a life of service to others.
In his honor I am voting for an inspirational ticket over desperate and maddening one. https://t.co/jSiatHsj2X
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 17, 2020
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) October 17, 2020
Amid the criticisms, a spokeswoman for Perdue’s campaign defended his remarks in a statement to CNN.
“Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it,” said Casey Black. “He was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda that she and her endorsed candidate Jon Ossoff are pushing.”
Unfortunately, this is not the first time, Harris’s name has been wilfully mispronounced to highlight her ethnicity during this presidentical campaign.
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