Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Well, there's not a lot of elections in China."

Texas lawmaker suggests Asians adopt easier names, by R.G. Ratcliffe, Houston & Texas News.

A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are "easier for Americans to deal with."

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

"Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?" Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: "Can't you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that's easier for Americans to deal with?"

Well my peace. "You and your citizens"? Isn't she talking about Americans? Whose citizens does she think these people are?

Here are two comments that explain some of my thoughts on the situation, sic implied:

By suggesting that Asian-Americans adopt names that are easier for "Americans" to deal with, she implies that Asian-Americans are not "American" by separating the terms. While that may not have been her intent, it was the consequence she should have expected, assuming she is adequately educated of course.

- danieln92000

[ . . . ] that women is keep saying, "You and your people", "easier for us". so it's You vs. US? that woman has already set her mind that Asian-Americans are not part of Americans.

- sangjai90

Also, Toby is an easy-to-pronounce American name, dating back to the good old colonial days of the United States. I'd bet Representative Brown finds it much easier to deal with than Kunta Kinte.


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