Quantcast

How To Correct Someone Who Mispronounces Your Name At Work

Newsflash: Put some respect on my name.

Workin' Girl

My name is representative of my culture. I was born to Black Muslim parents who eventually split (and my mother then went back to Christianity), but I wear my name with pride.

My Arabic name Yasmine Jameelah is one that I didn't always embrace, but as I connected with my family, I saw the beauty in their choice of what they named me. The fullness of my name, considering pronunciation, culture, and who I was named for, is wrapped up in love.

While initially, I never disclosed my middle name to people due to shame and assuming it was ghetto, as I unlearned, I saw more. Talks with my parents revealed I was named after my uncle Jameel, who named his son Jameel too and we were born one day apart. Additionally, my name Yasmine means 'flower', it is the Arabic version of Jasmin, and Jameelah is the feminine meaning of 'beautiful woman', which comes from Jameel, the masculine version which means beautiful man.

When I walk into this world daily, I keep those reminders with me but in white spaces, in a matter of minutes, the beauty of my name is often dismantled.

From the keychains that never include us, to the teachers in my class who often squinted their faces at the sight of my name, I never felt comfortable to speak up and say, "This is how you say my name." It wasn't until I was nearing middle school that I met a five-year-old Muslim girl who broke her name down in syllables every time someone mispronounced it. Old, young, it didn't matter, she let everyone know to put respect on her name and she empowered me to follow suit. Still, unlike her, I often find myself in white spaces with adults who butcher my name, and it's important to me to correct people, all while keeping my cool.

So, if you're looking for ways to set your pronunciations straight while not going full Birdman, follow these steps.

Allow them to introduce themselves first.

media0.giphy.com

When I walk into a room and say hello, I often say to people, "Because I'm big on pronunciation, please let me know how I pronounce your name" and then I respond with, "Hi, my name's Yasmine." Going in with mutual respect for each other is a practice I've found helps set a precedent of respect from the door.

Correct them every single time.

I've often found that when people respond to their names being mispronounced, they've usually let it slide multiple times and they're pissed. But I'd suggest addressing the first offense respectfully, and not letting up. Last year, one of my professors for about the fifth week in row (in a class of less than 10 students) would call me "yazmin" to a room of people that knew that wasn't how you said my name. It had become a running joke in my class of my Black classmates saying, "How many times are you going to have to correct her?" So, I finally stopped her in the middle of her sentence and said, "Before I present today, please pronounce my name correctly. This is the fifth time you've said my name wrong." She never mispronounced my name again.

Don’t explain the origin of your name if you don’t want to.

media1.giphy.com

I've had people who want to know why my name is pronounced the way it's pronounced, if my parents were being "extra" when they named me, if I am Muslim, and/or why I have a Muslim name even though I'm Christian. While all of those questions are valid, you don't owe your co-workers a response to why your parents chose the name you have. However, you are owed what you ask of and that is your name being pronounced correctly. That's it.

Place your name pronunciation in your social media handles.

We live in a world where we are often friends with our co-workers on social media, and I always leave the phonetic pronunciation of my name up so that anyone who approaches me, be it professionally or socially, knows how to say it. So, there's no room for error, and no room for anyone to feel uncomfortable, especially me.

Need more career talk like this in your life? Join the xoTribe members community to connect, vibe and share your wins with the tribe.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Have you been prioritizing the needs of others over your own? Feeling stretched thin as a result? This month's Full Moon in Aries will ensure that you start putting yourself first. It's about time, Queen! Deep down you know it's overdue. In astrology, the Full Moon is a period of reckoning, manifestation and culmination. You are likely to find yourself on a fast track to resolution or closure when it comes to the people, relationships and situations that have been putting an unnecessary strain on your mind, body and spirit.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Ever since Chlöe and her sister Halle Bailey have been creating their own identities outside of their group Chloe x Halle, Chlöe has faced Beyoncé comparisons. Modeling her performance style after Beyoncé is no surprise since both Chlöe and Halle are signed to the "Formation" artist's label Parkwood Entertainment and so there's no doubt Queen Bey has influenced them in more ways than one.

Keep reading... Show less

While it's important that we're always proactive about taking care of our immune system, if there is any time of year when we tend to think about it more than usual, it's right when the fall season arrives. Cold weather has something to do with it. Cold and flu cases spiking have something to do with it. Wanting to make sure that we stay well enough so that we can enjoy some holiday time off probably plays a role in it too. And while things like rest, exercise and not smoking all help to keep our immune system healthy and strong, it's important to know how much diet plays a part in all of this too.

Keep reading... Show less

Y'all. Y'ALL. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a humidifier (which is basically an electronic device that helps to put humidity into the air). The main reason why is because I read an article that said that COVID thrives in low humidity. I'll get into that in a second, though. Anyway, what I thought was going to be a quick trip up the street ended up being a day-long endeavor because I had to go to four different stores and all of them had inventory issues. Most said it was because of the labor shortage that's been happening all over the country.

Keep reading... Show less

Academy award-winner Jamie Foxx is one of those celebrities that can do it all! He sings, acts, writes, plays piano and can make a whole room burst into laughter with one joke. With a new book and other projects on the way, he has shown that he has no plans of settling down in his career and apparently his love life. In his book, Act Like You Got Some Sense, the father of two daughters opened up about not wanting to get married and spoke with Daily Pop to provide further insight on his decision.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Adrienne Bailon Wants Women Of Color To Take Self-Inventory In Order To Redefine Success

"You can't expect anyone else to care about yourself like you do."

Latest Posts