Being prejudged because of name
#1
Hi, sorry if this is the wrong place to post this, but has anyone else experienced being prejudged by their name which might be associated with religion?

For example my username is also my real name, and because it appears in Hindu mythology as the name of a devotee, I find that I am expected to be a devout Hindu by others. When I point out that I'm an atheist, I am asked why haven't I changed my name, which is ridiculous as there is no such thing as an atheist name and besides this name was given to me by my parents so why should I change it?
Quote:"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman."
Homer Simpson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MILArKLKUEk
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#2
Well, I haven't faced any such discrimination (in case anyone is wondering, my name is not really Nick; it's a nick-name). It's silly that anyone has to face this kind of discrimination or answer to this kind of stupidity. A name isn't indicative of one's beliefs or ideals.
The best thing in these situations is to point out the following:
Has your gender changed since you became an atheist? Perhaps your kindness or good humour? Your parents? So when everything else about you and your life is just the same, why adopt a shallow new avatar to depict the real genuine article?
If this doesn't convince them , just tell them they're being ridiculous and move on.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#3
If the discrimination is demonstrable in terms of lost workplace opportunities, then there maybe a case for proceeding legally. Otherwise, it maybe treated simply as a teachable moment, starting a conversation on the etymology and origins of names. For instance, we could say that the Sanskrit प्रह्लाद simply means delight and it just happens to be the name of a mythological character. Who can have a complaint with such an upbeat-sounding name? If folks have a problem with Prahlad, they must have a problem with Anand, Harsh and Pramod as well, unless they are being ridiculous (as Nick rightly points out).

Parents can choose to call their kids what they like, though it is worth bearing in mind that besides making a ringing proclamation of worldviews via a christening, it is not a particularly good idea to ignore workaday considerations regarding the flipsides of outlandish names (some of which may not fit in application forms!) Here's an earlier thread on naming the kids.
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#4
Agreed with AI. Usually a name does not bear any weight with regards to your belief. However if it is an outlandish name, something to the effect of the "most loyal devotee or messenger of God" or a name that causes the individual mental stress everytime the name is uttered and causes clashes between his name and his lack of belief, then it is wise to change names.

However names themselves are in themselves fickle: Rebecca "sounds" Christian but Rebekah "sounds" Jewish. Also a point of importance is that names are deeply associated with the personal self and identity. It will be an emotional ride getting used to a new name as well as a difficult bureaucratic process transitioning your school, college and other community/caste documents (if any).

Bottom line: Be happy with who you are and don't change unless you really need to.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#5
(18-May-2012, 12:10 PM)nick87 Wrote: Bottom line: Be happy with who you are and don't change unless you really need to.

Don't fix it if ain't broken? Not a very nice approach for a freethinker smile
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#6
(18-May-2012, 03:26 PM)Kanad Kanhere Wrote:
(18-May-2012, 12:10 PM)nick87 Wrote: Bottom line: Be happy with who you are and don't change unless you really need to.

Don't fix it if ain't broken? Not a very nice approach for a freethinker smile

Lol, you quoted it out of context. Laugh
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#7
Just curious, why the Indian Muslims and Christians have foreign names? Many times surnames haven't changed, like "Mohammed Patel" or "Rebecca Patel". But names are predominantly (not always though) foreign.

I am not sure whether is applicable for other cultures as well. I haven't seen names like Siddhartha in Japan. :-)

My guess is that the people who are converted wanted to established different identity. Any alternate views?
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. - Ambedkar
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#8
(24-May-2012, 08:46 PM)nispat Wrote: Just curious, why the Indian Muslims and Christians have foreign names? Many times surnames haven't changed, like "Mohammed Patel" or "Rebecca Patel". But names are predominantly (not always though) foreign.

I am not sure whether is applicable for other cultures as well. I haven't seen names like Siddhartha in Japan. :-)

My guess is that the people who are converted wanted to established different identity. Any alternate views?

'Foreign names' sounds a bit odd. I believe you meant Arabic/Persian ( in the case of Muslims) and Biblical/English names( in case of Christians). Correct me if I am wrong, but many Hindus from North India chose Persian/Arabic names for their children during the medieval and late medieval periods- names like Mukhtaar,Iqbaal,Maatbar,Bakhtaawar,Bulbul,Aazaad,Khushi,Khush haal , Zoraawar,Raushan,Raunaq,Gulaab and Chiraagh. Some of these are still used by Hindus who may or may not be blissfully unaware of their 'foreign' origins.
As for the overwhelming incidence of Arabic/Persian names among Indian Muslims, I think the languages' exalted station and their perceived suitability for all things Islamic have contributed a lot. Then there is the practice of opening the Quran to a random page in order to choose a name. Such names are always in Arabic. I have also observed that Christians, especially from the South, have a higher population of people bearing 'Indic names'.

The preferential treatment given to Sanskrit,Arabic or Latin names may be chalked up to the profound religious connections that these languages have developed over the years.

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#9
(18-May-2012, 01:37 AM)nick87 Wrote: Well, I haven't faced any such discrimination (in case anyone is wondering, my name is not really Nick; it's a nick-name). It's silly that anyone has to face this kind of discrimination or answer to this kind of stupidity. A name isn't indicative of one's beliefs or ideals.
The best thing in these situations is to point out the following:
Has your gender changed since you became an atheist? Perhaps your kindness or good humour? Your parents? So when everything else about you and your life is just the same, why adopt a shallow new avatar to depict the real genuine article?
If this doesn't convince them , just tell them they're being ridiculous and move on.

Hi
You're correct about moving on and stuff, it's just extremely annoying as I get this all the time. This prejudgment I get is actually from POI's in western countries (Btw I'm from London but now live in Sydney),I've never had to face this kind of crap when I visited India or other Asian countries, which reinforces my belief that most POI's in western countries are more fanatical/have a village mentality compared to POI's in India and other Asian cities.

Especially in regards to my surname, which lets people know that I come from a Gujarati Brahmin family. Because of that I'm expected to be a strict vegetarian (which to alot of Hindus seems to be a bigger taboo than alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, etc) and also expected to behave like a stereotypical Gujarati as depicted by the Indian intertainment industry.

I have also experienced hostility from Christians/Muslims/Sikhs of South Asian origin who also prejudge just like the Hindu POI's.


Quote:Bottom line: Be happy with who you are and don't change unless you really need to.
Definetly agree with this. I actually know people who have had to change their names because of genuine discrimination.
Quote:"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman."
Homer Simpson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MILArKLKUEk
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