It’s a good thing I don’t give a shit about the NEA, as they don’t really give a shit about students, otherwise I’d have to consider that all of my life, especially during those crucial, tender, snowflake years, I’ve been a victim of continual microaggressions and didn’t even know it! (Well, I am white, so perhaps my “privilege” canceled that out?)
Overlooking or downplaying the significance of getting a name right, explains Rita Kohli, assistant professor of education at the University of California at Riverside, is one of those “microagressions” that can emerge in a classroom and seriously undermine learning.
I won’t go into detail, but while my parents were raised in the US, they weren’t born here, and the name I got saddled with is one that only those of Northern European linguistic background or exposure growing up are likely to pronounce without difficulty. This resulted in about a dozen nicknames and pronunciations before I finally gave up and stuck with one easy to pronounce Americanized version.
Was it frustrating sometimes? Sure. So? One of my best friends in elementary school was a (at least half) hispanic Mormon with as stereotypically Irish a last name as you could get. It was, on the scale of things, a small thing, and looking back, a negligible contributor to the personal issues I had to overcome later in life.
So yeah, I get it, teachers should try, but this, like all motte – and – bailey PC bullshit, takes something that’s basic manners, and while claiming that’s all it is, pushes said civility all out of proportion to a subjective standard determined by the recipient. Add to that the bizarro-world spellings of common names some parents insist on saddling their kids with, the oddball “ethnic” names other parents insist on choosing, and the difficulty of pronouncing some sounds unless you grew up with the relevant language, and the NEA can just fuck off – there’s no way most teachers will be able to pronounce some of the names.