This is something that often happens in English-speaking schools to kids from other cultures:
- A kid has a non-English name
- The teacher decides it would be better if they had an English name
- They give the kid a different name, and refuse to call them their actual name
- Or heavily pressure the kid into changing their name
This also happens to some kids in foster care. Their foster parents or social workers will decide that their name is a problem, and assign them a different name.
Some reasons adults in power will cite for doing this to kids in their care:
- The name is hard to pronounce
- Other kids make fun of the name
- A kid with a non-English name will feel different from the other kids
- Having a different name will make it easier for the kid to assimilate into English-speaking culture
- And then the teacher makes the kid use a different name, one that’s more usual in English
Don’t do this. Names are important. It’s not ok to change someone else’s name.
It’s actually *more* important not to change a kid’s name if other kids are making fun of it, because:
- You’re teaching the kid that their name is wrong
- And that it’s their own fault they’re being bullied, that it’s because they’re weird
- It also teaches the bullies that it’s ok to bully people for having weird names, and that they’re entitled to have other people erase themselves for their sake
- A kid who is being bullied for their name will also be bullied for other things, especially if they are from a non-English-speaking culture
- Changing the kid’s name will not stop this, it will just make the rest of it harder to take
Names are important. Respecting someone’s name is part of respecting them as a person. It’s not ok to change their name for your convenience.