The Name Game

| March 12, 2013 | 6 Comments

My dear readers, I am going to tell you something in confidence and trust that you will not use it against me. My name is Mackenzie. You can call me Kenzie, you can call me Kenz. You may not call me Mack, Mac and Cheese, Big Mac or Mackles. I will not respond and I can assure you that I will not give up on ignoring you no matter how long you persist, until the name is gone from your tongue and from your mind.

I desperately want people to stop replying to emails that I sign clearly as “Mackenzie Morgan” with “Dear Morgan.” I don’t understand why my eighth grade band teacher and countless others unwaveringly believed that Morgan was my first name, even though it was written in the same order as everyone else’s on the attendance sheet. My name isn’t Meghan! Or Lindsey! (I’m not sure why I regularly get either of these, to be honest.) That’s not my name! That’s not my name!

This may sound snobby or demanding, but name courtesy is important. I’m not talking about the occasional slip up or the Starbucks barista, I’m talking about high school chemistry teachers who call you Mack (and then Big Mac) because they know that you don’t like it. I’m talking about friends who can’t make the effort to spell your name correctly when they comment on your Facebook. Our names are an essential part of who we are. By getting someone’s name wrong purposefully or out of laziness, you are discounting the importance of getting it right, and therefore discounting the importance of his or her identity. Likewise, mispronunciations and careless misspellings distort this same identity.

Nobody likes it when someone gets his or her name wrong. It’s highly uncomfortable and embarrassing as the person being addressed. It doesn’t seem like something you should correct the culprit on, because it’s not something you should have to. It’s uncomfortable that someone who should know your name can’t be bothered to learn it correctly.

From the day we are born, we are given a name, which we then spend our entire lives giving meaning to. I can’t imagine myself being an Arielle or a Maxine or even a McKenzie, because I’m a Mackenzie—in identity and in name. There are Bobbys who never go by their full Robert, Alisons who may cringe at being called Ali, and Katys who don’t want to be a Katie. They all deserve to be addressed correctly out of respect and recognition for their identity, so let’s all grant others this simple name courtesy and acknowledge them as they wish to be acknowledged.Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 8.57.45 PM

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Category: featured, Philosophy and Religion

Mackenzie Morgan

About the Author ()

Mackenzie is a cake connoisseur, junior, and co-Editor-in-Cheif of Culture Shock. She hails from a small snow globe of a town deep in the mountains of Colorado and is ridiculously proud of the fact that she's half Australian. She's working towards molding young minds as she studies History Education and American Studies with a minor in Political Science, but she would also like to be a princess (or maybe a lawyer). Her weaknesses and greatest enemies include mornings, ketchup, and mascots. Mostly Mackenzie likes to eat soup, look at the moon, and work towards being Hermione Granger.

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  1. Masks | Culture Shock | April 10, 2013
  1. Dean says:

    Could not have enjoyed this more.

  2. Morgan Glenn says:

    Great post McKenzie!

  3. Jeff Fox says:

    A) This is a really good post.
    B) I love the Wordle at the end. Putting your ED 101 skills to good use!
    C) This entire post made me think of the end of The Crucible. [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. Be aware.] When John Proctor is accused of being a witch, the only way he can live is by admitting to witchcraft. He almost does it, but he refuses to sign the confession and ruin his good name- “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” That quote always stuck with me. Your name, and what it means to you and to others, is really important.

  4. Ryan Brister Ryan Brister says:

    There were people in high school who had to ask me what my first name was because they had only heard me referred to as Brister.

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