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'As American as Apple Pie': #MyNameIs Hashtag Celebrates Beauty of Diversity After David Perdue's Racist Attack on Kamala Harris

Republican Sen. David Perdue willfully mispronounced the name of his Senate colleague and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Friday, and the “incredibly racist” stunt gave rise to the #MyNameIs hashtag on social media over the weekend, which drew attention to the diversity of names found in the U.S. and called for the creation of a more tolerant and inclusive nation. 

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) explained that his name Rohit means “bright light,” in Sanskrit, while Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) noted that “Ilham” means “inspiration” in Arabic. 

Omar said that her name “inspired me to lead a life of service to others,” and that she, like Khanna, is voting for Harris and her presidential running-mate, Joe Biden. 

“That’s right! Righteous Rashida,” tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), explaining the meaning behind the name given to her by her Palestinian father. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.) noted that her first name, which comes from “prem,” a Sanskrit word meaning “love,” is frequently mispronounced, as is her last name. 

“I only mind that when it is done willfully and continuously,” Jayapal said. “Let’s build an inclusive America.”

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a physician, epidemiologist, and public health expert whose 2018 gubernatorial campaign in Michigan was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), explained the meaning behind his name, Abdulrahman. 

“It means ‘devotee of The Most Merciful.’ It reminds me how important mercy is in this world.”

“For a long time,” El-Sayed said, “I thought it meant I couldn’t run for office.” 

“Then I did,” he added, “because my name is as American as apple pie… and baklawa.”

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Common Dreams


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