• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

The Beauty of a Name and How to Respect it

On Wednesday, March 26, Dr. Tennille Love, Sinclair’s Regional Center Advising Generalist, presented “Put Some Respeck (Respect) on My Name!: The Importance of a Name.” The discussion highlighted the critical nature of respecting each other’s names.

“Our names carry so much weight, they are tied to so much, and are not just a collection of letters and words,” Dr. Tennille Love said.

What exactly is in a name? Many names around the world reflect family history, culture, carry a specific meaning, and convey religion and faith, as well as gender identity and much more. Simply put, names are identity.

What can disrespecting a name look like? Shortening their name when they didn’t ask you to, showing a lack of regard for having mispronounced or misused their name, suggesting they use a more mainstream/anglicized name, treating their name like a joke, or even avoiding using their name altogether.


What are the harmful effects of this? Disrespecting someone’s name is disrespecting someone’s culture, family, and quite genuinely, their dignity. Dr. Tennille Love explained that disregarding someone’s name can induce anxiety and make one feel unvalued or even dehumanized. Additionally, name discrimination perpetuates inequality as those with ethnic names are actually less likely to get a job than those with “white” names.

How can we respect each other’s names? Simply ask… if you’re not sure how to pronounce someone’s name, tell them something along the lines of: “I don’t want to say your name wrong, could you pronounce it for me?”

Secondly, apologize when you’ve said someone’s name wrong or used their non preferred name, and thank them for correcting you. Also, never expect someone to change their name to make it easier for you to pronounce. 

These are just a few of the many ways to show respect for someone’s name, which, in turn, shows respect for their identity.

Finally, when we put some respect on names we are promoting diversity, showing value to a person, which helps to create an inclusive environment.

“I love the fact that we have all these different names because it is a reflection of our uniqueness,” Dr. Tennille Love said. 

Ultimately, respecting names…respecting one another: that is practicing humanity and preserving dignity.

Macey Heys, Managing Editor

(Photos from Canva)