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Columns : Opinions - Joye Ritchie Greene Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

It's All in the Name
Mar 21, 2008 - 7:30:00 PM

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Some factions in the United States of America are suggesting that Senator Barack Obama has something to hide since he does not use his middle name Hussein.   Independent columnist Michael J. Gaynor has raised questions about why Senator Obama chooses not to use his middle name. Gaynor ends his Feb. 29th column by writing:
hopefully, the attention focused on Barack's middle name and posed photo of him dressed in African garb will inspire scrutiny of Barack, especially his Islamic and Kenyan connections, sooner rather than later.” ( http://www.webcommentary.com/asp/ShowArticle.asp?id=gaynorm&date=080229 )


The fact that the media has put so much focus on Senator Obama’s middle name, American Jews are questioning whether or not they should vote for him because of his Muslim ties.   "Right now, Obama's big problem with the Jewish community is similar to his problem with other communities: He's just not clearly defined among any voter groups," said Kenneth Wald, director of Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida-Gainesville. "The fact he has a name that sounds Muslim and has a Muslim father underlines questions about what we do and what we do not know about him." ( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/14/politics/main3938422.shtml )


The fact that eligible voters would discriminate against Senator Obama because of his name and father’s religious background should really not come as much of a surprise.   Many Americans are still very ignorant about anywhere outside of their own towns, let along country, so to think that a man whose carries his father’s name would some how be detrimental to them is not hard to swallow, especially since so many of them can be heard on television saying that American soldiers are fighting in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan to “preserve our American way of life.”   How?   Would someone please tell me, because I really do not see the correlation?


But is this ignorance about peoples’ names limited to our neighbours in the north; most definitely not.   Just think about it for a moment.   Consider how many individuals in this country are excluded from things if their last name is “Joseph” or even “Louis.”   There are actually people who have changed the pronunciation of their name “Louis” to sound like “Lewis” so no one would think they are of Haitians descent.


I have even heard stories where people have been refused employment because their last name was associated with a particular political party.   Then there are those most unfortunate incidences when a man is rejected simply because he carries his father’s name and his father has fallen out of favour with the locals.


As far fetched as that may all sound, it is based on real life experiences of real live individuals living in this country.   When a mother and father are preparing to name their child, I seriously doubt that they give much thought to how the name will affect their child in 20 or 30 years.   So if the sins of the father fall on the child, how intense the pain becomes when that child has to bear the burden of his father’s name as well.


About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at joye_hel_ena@hotmail.com  


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Opinions - Joye Ritchie Greene
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