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Monday, March 23, 2009

Name-Deaf America?

I came across this Q and A of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal in Time Magazine, 3-16-09, p. 4:
Q.: Did you make a deliberate effort to transcend race in your political career? asked by Fatima Syed, Richmond, VA
Jindal's A: The great thing about the U.S. is it doesn't matter what your last name is. We live in this diverse pluralistic country where people are accepted for who they are.

The first time I read this, I thought: Just the usual colorblind ideology prevalent in the U.S. these days. Then I noticed Jinal's emphasis on the LAST name not mattering. Ironic. The questioner's FIRST name, too (Fatimah) is "foreign," "nonChristian" sounding. Jindal, on the other hand, changed his from "Piyush" to the inoccuous, even inane-sounding "Bobby." Contrast this with our president, who went by "Barry" to fit in in childhood and adolescence, but made a conscious decision to revert to Barack in college-age, and has stuck with it since. Revealing. Being true to self vs. trying to fit in.

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