SPRING 2021 ENG 1141-OL07: Introduction to Creative Writing

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  • Session 5, Participation Activity: Talking Back to Poetry
  • #71113

    Saaman Ali

    The spoken word that I chose to write on is (UN)Learning My Name by Mohamed Hassan. The reason I chose this spoken word is because people struggle with pronouncing my name as well and a line that Mohamed said in his spoken word that hit deep to me was “I spent my life carving vowels out of my throat so my name will be easier to say”. I chose this specific phrase of his because it explains the struggle and tough times he went through trying to explain people what his name was pronounced as. When he says “carving vowels” that’s how you know he really meant his name being pronounced properly instead being called Mohammad he wanted to be called Mohamed Hamid. Another phrase that was really deep in this spoken word was “I still say it the way my first teacher said it, the way she corrected me in front of the classroom until I learned her stumble over my identity to strip away parts of myself…”. I chose this phrase because this explains that not just his name was stolen from him, his whole identity was stolen in the public. He was corrected for his own name, the name that his mother gave him no longer existed. From now on for him it was a white person name Mohammad instead of Mohamed.

    As a middle-eastern myself my name has been mispronounced my whole school life. My name is Saaman Ali and it is pronounced Saaman Ali, but my teachers and have pronounced it as Saimaan Alee, Saman, Samaan, Saimun etc. So in sophomore year I decided to go by the name of Sam just so my teachers and friends can pronounce my name correctly. I mean how hard can it be even google can pronounce my name correctly, lol. After I decided to go by the name of Sam instead of Saaman people actually started to know that I existed. I was more recognized by the name Sam then the my real name that my parents gave me Saaman. I still question it to this day how can they mispronounce a simple name. I feel a lot of middle eastern names do get mispronounced and we have to go by either nicknames or the white name that’s made of our real names.

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