names say too much about people

Names say a lot about a person. Too much, in fact. And more often than not, names lead to people being wrongly judged. As someone who has a very Indian name (Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya) I’ve often been asked if I’m Indian or Tamil. Thing is, I’m not. As far as I know, I have no Indian or Tamil blood in me. Yet my name gives off the wrong image. People aren’t as subtle with my name either. Once in school, a new girl to our class joined a conversation between a friend and me. She then started speaking in Tamil, and my friend, a Tamil, replied in English. Since the new girl still hadn’t realized I didn’t speak the language, my friend told her something like, “she’s not Tamil.” I was then told the new girl assumed I was Tamil because of my name.
More obvious than my Indian name are Muslim names. When talking about my friends, a Muslim name never goes unnoticed. Especially with older family members. “Oh! He’s a Muslim?” they would ask, without asking such questions about all the Sinhalese or even Tamil friends I have. This is especially so if the friend being discussed is a male.
Is it fair for names to be one of the first few impressions people get of you? Names, especially in Sri Lanka will easily label you a Sinhalese, Tamil, Burgher, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and so on. Even surnames say a lot about you. I rarely let people know I also have Perera as a surname, I never use it, and do not wish to ever use it.
Unknown to you even, names say a lot about you. They will give people a picture of your family background, your race and religion and if your social status. Is this fair? Certainly not. Can such attitudes be changed? Maybe not.

29 thoughts on “names say too much about people”

  1. that's amazing though! I would love to have various meanings to my name. Shailendree has something to do with rock I think, Shailee has something to do with style (Sinhala) and a fairy palace or some sort of this in Irish

  2. Hmmm… Names; you can love them or hate them… Sometimes the name has no connection to your religion or race at all… Rochelle is actually a town in France and also the common name for Potassium sodium tartrate:)

  3. it being a name of a French town is lovely.Rochelle being a common name for a chemical seems a bit… well, less magical when it comes to the meanings of names. Unless you are a interested in chemistry!

  4. yes. and I just checked, it means expression (Indian origin)and in Irish- a form of Shia (fairy palace)and having done more reading I found this tooIts source is Seaghdha, a Gaelic name meaning "Admirable."Origin: "Seaghdha."

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