The thoughts of a writer.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Right Thing for Who?

I have, from time to time, mentioned my frustrations and observations regarding culture and my experiences with having married into a Hmong family. Over the weekend, I was told by a brother-in-law (who is Hmong but from another family) that having my name changed (this requires a big expensive, time-consuming and labor intensive party) is "the right thing to do." This of course, caused me to respond that I am not changing my name and certainly not letting someone else (in this case my father and mother in-law) pick a Hmong name for me. Then I told him that since the beginning (when I was going to marry my wife), "people" (i.e. Hmong people) have been telling me how I have to do things and I have repeatedly stated that I am not Hmong; and therefore not bound by any of their (many) "rules." Whenever I make this declaration, I get either anger and threats, or as in this case, a face that looks like I just shit on his favorite rug.

So if this name change thing is actually "the right thing to do," who is it right for? Certainly it is not right for me. I am an American who has been an adult for a long time (the name change signifies you are an adult) and I was given my name by my own parents. My name is a very personal thing and it is mine and I don't want to change it. Sorry if this bothers someone and doesn't conform to their rules and cultural traditions—but we are not in Laos, I am not Hmong, I like my name, it was a gift from my mom and dad and I'm not changing it.

Interestingly this came after a "family meeting" (about a separate issue) that I was not at (and want nothing to do with) where the participants spent two hours arguing over what is "the right thing to do!"

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1 Comments:

Blogger Dave Robinson said...

you should change your name to Mike Hunt

7:05 PM

 

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