The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name... is NOT the Same

The day we were born, we were given a name. Whether we love it or hate it, it is ours to keep for the rest of our lives if we don’t get it legally changed. I was given a common name, Brittany Nicole Beard. People always get my middle and last name right, but my first always gets butchered. Brittany—not too difficult, right? Wrong. While deciding on my name, my mother, the observant woman that she is, recognized that there is an “a” in Brittany. In an effort to differentiate Brittany and Brittney, she emphasizes that the “a” is not silent.

If I am the one that has to carry this name my entire life, why do others act like it is such a burden to say an extra syllable? It’s different, I know, but I love my name. Obviously, others do not. Teachers often pronounce my name as Brittney, despite seeing my name on the roll sheet. As intelligent educators, one would think that they would know the difference. I understand that most girls whose names are spelled like mine do not pronounce it the same way, but it is not correct. For this reason exactly, I have an accent over the “a” in my name. It tells of the differentiation. However, on many computers, there is no way to type it. Therefore, I have to not put it on my essays. On written work, I put the accent, but, still, teachers refuse to acknowledge it, which leads me to simply write “Britt” on my papers.

On the first day of classes each semester, I offer teachers an alternative to calling me by my full first name. They can call me “Britt.” However, some teachers, whom I will not name, insist on formality and refuse to call me the shortened version, but they cannot grasp the concept of three syllables. With all of my power in my body, I have to retrain from rolling my eyes, screaming, or ignoring them each time they call me Brittney.

Although I have no control over my name, I truly dislike how people get annoyed because my name is not what they would like it to be. Without fail, following me correcting them, there is always that question, “Can I just call you Brittney?” Hmmm… No. I corrected you for a reason. If I preferred to be called Brittney, then I would not have corrected you. My name is what identifies me, not for your convenience. If my name causes you such distress, then you may call me Britt or not call me at all.

It is extremely rude to not want to call someone by a name other than their given one, not including nicknames. For example, a friend of mine is dating a guy with a foreign name. However, in an effort to make it easier for his friends to call him, he adapts his name to the Americanized version. This is unfair to him. Unless his name contains 10 syllables, there is no reason for him to “dumb down” his name for other people’s convenience. What is the purpose of having a unique, personalized name that fits each individual if everyone else wants it adjusted so they are comfortable?



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