Let’s first begin with it’s pronounced, DeUnDray not DeUnDria…
Since I was a kid, people have always butchered my name. I mean, I will say it’s legally spelled one way (that’s indeed more feminine) but I generally tell folks its pronunciation before they read it.
My mother and I share the name. And no that does not mean I’m a junior, don’t be a Petty Betty. It means that she specifically knew people would slaughter and burn to the ground 3 syllables and a questionable spelling for my the rest of my natural born life…and that my father agreed to it. When I asked about the origins of my name, I got a story about some great-great-great aunt, my namesake, who actually pronounced it the exact same way. Can you imagine a Deandrea (pronounced DeUnDray) running around, in the 1800’s correcting people on the pronunciation of her femininely spelled unisex name?! She was probably a HOT MESS and my spirit animal.
Ok…back on task here. Like I said, the name has been around for generations apparently and here’s a funny plot twist, for a while I didn’t even know my first name. I wouldn’t answer to it in school. I would supposedly inform people to what my real name was and all kinds of foolishness because my family called me by a completely different name, my middle name.
So now here I am, an adult with a gazillion nick names and aliases who still deals with people sonically obliterating three measly syllables as if they couldn’t pronounce Beyersdoerffer or Onwuatuegwu. Yes, I’m angry with you all because y’all know somehow you master these obscenely long names but refuse to get the shorter ones right unless they’re Tiffany, Ashley, or Leah. I am bitter. Ok, not really…just ever so slightly.
When teaching people my name, there are a range of strange facial expressions I have to act out in order to emphasize the sounds with the syllables. It’s pretty draining. Then there is also the explanation about how I ended up with the name and how I basically changed it for convenience. I mean it’s a WHOLE situation and practically the reason I go by Dee when meeting strangers.
And I know what some of you are thinking, “Black people totally know how to pronounce your name…I could totally say your name.” blah blah blah. I say, sure, after an awkward conversation about your boy cousin DeAndre or the basketball star DeAndre Jordan, and maybe after getting past the fact that I have a “boy” name. Yes, a correct pronunciation might be on the horizon. “Might” because people are completely convinced my name isn’t feminine enough and immediately revert back to their country bumpkin, gender normative names and call me DeUnDrayYa…if I’m lucky. #NoDisrepectToTheDeUnDrayYasOfTheWorld
Anywho…I’m sure I’m not the only one with the issue of people and their lazy attempts at name pronunciations. Believe me I’ve heard some ridiculously stupid ones and there are Google pages dedicated to it, but I’d LOVE to hear about yours.
Drop me a line. <3