If You Want to Be My Ally Learn to Say My Name

The daily microaggression you can change today

ADEOLA SHEEHY-ADEKALE
ILLUMINATION

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Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

It used to be thought in ancient cultures that if you held someone’s true name, you held power over them. In modern times we lead with our names, they travel out before us, introducing us to the world and holding images in the receiver’s mind.

They hold no power over us, at least not as once believed, or do they?

Does the willful lack of effort to speak a person’s true name, to pronounce it correctly, to not shorten it or create a simplified nickname that is easier for you to say or fit better with the words you are more commonly used to, is that not having power over someone? But in this case, having the power to minimize them and all they are?

When we pick our children’s names, we feel into what resonates with them, with the family they are growing into, with the person they are about to be.

As a writer when I pick names for fictional characters it’s not an easy task. The storylines and narratives may be conjured out of the ether or evolve organically, but picking a name is something else. In picking a name, we create an instant image of a person. Who they are, what they might be about, and where they come from. A name brings with it many assumptions and stereotypes. But in a time when…

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ADEOLA SHEEHY-ADEKALE
ILLUMINATION

Writing on female experience, race, motherhood & self-development. Columnist at Green Parent magazine & Parenting Top Writer. Follow me on IG @adeola_moonsong.