16 January 2007

“We’re friends?! You can’t even pronounce my name."

Earlier this evening I saw Kal Penn in a commercial for "24," a show I have never watched and didn't know he was on. As I learned, he plays a character that is new to the show, but familiar to viewing audiences worldwide: The brown Muslim terrorist.

You can read a recap of the episode at Sepia Mutiny, here: My Neighbor, The Terrorist. My favorite part?

When Mr. Wallace’s teenage son asks, “Why are you doing this? We’re friends,” Amar responds, “We’re friends?! You can’t even pronounce my name. It’s not Aw-med. It’s ACCCCCCH-med.”

Hahahahahahahaha!!! While the rest of this character's portrayal is riddled with stereotypes, this piece of it actually rings so true to me. I have actually said this to people before! And here we have the root of increased identification with terrorist groups among Western Muslims and other assorted brown people: The West's collective inability to pronounce our names, to show us respect and to count us as humans and citizens.

1 comment:

Bq said...

people always say I'm making a big deal out of people not pronouncing my name right. But I think it says something when people of various races that I encounter can deal with it except for white people who act like it's too much hassle.