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Letters to the Editor: Kids mock names. When adult politicians do it, it’s disgraceful

Georgia Sen. David Perdue purposefully mispronounced vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris' name recently.
Georgia Sen. David Perdue, right, purposefully mispronounced vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris’ name recently.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: The article on Sen. David Perdue mocking Sen. Kamala Harris’ first name stirred memories of the nasty teasing I endured thanks to my being named Roch, which teachers frequently mispronounced.

French in origin and given to me by my father of the same name (and his before that), we pronounce it “rock.” Being the object of my fellow students’ clique-ish bullying with shouts of “Rock Bottom” and “Hey Roach” made me horribly self-conscious.

This was sad, because my name was a point of pride for my father who said, “Son, this is the greatest gift I could ever give to you, my name.” That it brought me such ridicule pained him deeply.

But over time, that mockery served to make me stronger and more resilient. My dad was right — it was a fine gift after all. Maybe that’s part of the reason Harris is so toughly hewn.

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Roch Bordenave, Ladera Heights

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To the editor: I too suffered the slings and arrows of an unusual name. My maiden name was Ria van Daalen Wetters.

As a child, I was called “Dia” for diarrhea, “Gona” for gonorrhea and “Dia Ria van Wet Her Pants.” Fortunately, I have a very good sense of humor and was able to get through that period unscathed.

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The point is, that was in elementary school. Such behavior from an adult is positively juvenile. Anyone who makes fun of a grown woman’s name, as when Perdue intentionally mispronounced Harris’ first name at a recent rally for President Trump, should have his mouth washed out with soap and made to stand in the corner for an hour.

Ria Levine, Oak Park

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To the editor: My mother had no patience for ignorance, bad grammar or many other things for that matter.

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In the 1970s she worked at an aerospace company with an engineer named Majid. Another employee, Bob, always called him “Magic.” Fed up, my mother let Bob know the correct pronunciation of Majid’s name.

Bob said that he just couldn’t pronounce it correctly. To that, my mother informed Bob that she could no longer pronounce Bob and would now call him “Bok.”

The issue was resolved.

Sarah Fink Aylard, Santa Barbara


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