Why Learning Someone’s Name Is Essential To Inclusion!

Know My Name

Following a lengthy work day, I came home and switched with an episode from the View, and Elaine Welteroth, former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief, was the special guest. During her interview, she pointed out her annoyance when being misidentified along with other black women throughout her career, whilst holding prominent positions, as well as once they looked nothing alike. I gasped striking rewind. I related so deeply since i could easily recount my very own similar encounters.

I’ve frequently been among the couple of (or even the only) black women at the office and throughout my education. Despite the fact that I’ve had many great encounters throughout my career, being among the only black women within my workplace continues to be isolating and, at occasions, full of microaggressions.

Probably the most hurtful microaggressions concerned my name. As silly because it sounds, I did not realize how important my name ended up being to my identity until people battled to understand it or misidentified me as the second black girl at school or work.


After I began a brand new job, I had been confused because when frequently I had been known as named among the only other black women at work let’s call her “Julie.” Within my first couple of several weeks, I had been regularly welcomed by her name with enthusiasm. Coworkers would reference the occasions they thought they’d seen me, or even the occasions we’d spent together if this had really been Julie.

Because the several weeks continued, Julie and that i would text one another jokingly whenever this happened. It had been humorous, but something about this began to obtain under my skin.

Initially, it didn’t bother i and me attempted my favorite to rationalize it since the people mistaking me on her and the other way around weren’t mean or ill-intentioned. I’d think, “Well, we’re both round the same height and have braids, sometimes” or “Well, we’re both black and also have similar interests.” Because the several weeks ongoing, I possibly could have the heat simmering within my stomach with a mixture of disappointment and sadness every time there is a slip-up, so I needed to dig much deeper into my feelings and investigate why it had been so hurtful rather of gaslighting myself into kids.

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After I considered it and did some investigation, I discovered this happens a great deal to POC at work, much like Elaine Welteroth had pointed out. The misidentification is dangerous because it’s difficult to feel completely welcome inside a space or a part of a residential area when individuals have no idea the main difference between you and also someone else of the race.

“Even when individuals are very well-intentioned and sort, it’s still hurtful. Misidentification makes me feel invisible.”

Even if individuals are well-intentioned and sort, it’s still hurtful. Misidentification makes me feel invisible. I can’t help but question, “Do they can know who I’m?” Each name mix-up is really a indication that, by a few, I am not seen as individual. It’s nearly as if people of the minority group are thought a monolith, with no privilege of getting individuality despite the fact that we’ve our very own identities and distinct features. We’re viewed as one, the token, and when there’s several-there’s confusion.

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I had been frightened of informing someone when they’d mistaken my name, however I only say something-with empathy, obviously. I inform them, “My name is Leah,” or “You might be considering Julie, she’s a really sweet girl,” and the conversation moving along. Normally, this is adopted by an “Oh my god, I messed up” check out the person’s face, however i permit them to sit within their discomfort and help remind myself it’s not rude to fix someone once they phone you through the wrong name. Also, I no more feel guilty about promoting personally and also the community I fit in with. Hopefully, this nudge can help others think more carefully on how to create a comprehensive space later on and unpack unconscious biases.

“Creating a comprehensive space begins with understanding the folks surrounding you, which means understanding their name.”

Creating a comprehensive space begins with understanding the folks surrounding you, which means understanding their name. Whenever you meet someone by having an “ethnic”-sounding name, don’t insist upon shortening it for the comfort. Take time to practice the pronunciation, since it often means a great deal to someone who’s experienced judgment regarding their name all of their existence. Whenever a new person of color makes work or perhaps is inside a predominantly white-colored space, become familiar with them as a person and never as a sign.

When individuals of color receive exactly the same to their individuality, with this comfort, they are able to grow and blossom.