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.
#MyNameIs Rohit, and my friends call me Ro. It means bright light in Sanskrit. This election, #IWillVote for an inc… https://t.co/SWcuexYsWm— Ro Khanna (@Ro Khanna)1602968269.0
#MyNameIs Ilham, I prefer Ilhan. I never liked the M sound 😜. It means “Inspiration” in Arabic. My father named me… https://t.co/5rUJoaONP9— Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan Omar)1602975329.0
"That's right! Righteous Rashida," tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), explaining the meaning behind the name given to her by her Palestinian father.
#MyNameIs ⤵️ https://t.co/EqNG8YO7DQ— Rashida Tlaib (@Rashida Tlaib)1602985277.0
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."
#MyNameIs Pramila. It comes from the Sanskrit word “prem” which means love. The name is constantly mispronounced as… https://t.co/sedWaTMQz2— Pramila Jayapal (@Pramila Jayapal)1602981557.0
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."
#MyNameIs Abdulrahman. It means “devotee of The Most Merciful.” It reminds me how important mercy is in this world.… https://t.co/1nyfrtoKCm— Abdul El-Sayed, MD, DPhil (@Abdul El-Sayed, MD, DPhil)1602985413.0
"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."