What’s in a Name?

#sol22- Sept. 13, 2022

It started at lunch time. I was looking at the menu of the day to choose my dinner- did I want “Balsamic Chickpea Avocado and Feta Salad” or “Chinese 5 Spice Chicken/Tofu Bowl”? Both names sounded good, so I had to read the descriptions before I made a more informed decision. I knew that I would be satisfied with both, knowing the cooks, so I had to go with what I felt like eating.

On the way home I passed a sign- “Mega International Commercial Bank”. I made a snap judgement-either scammy or trying too hard. Would a true mega international bank name themself that or was it a new startup?

Then, in typical “Tired Erika” fashion I wondered and worried. Do I often make quick decisions like this based on something as superficial as a name or title? Are many of my biases so hastily made? How can I slow myself down to be more mindful and open-minded? Do names, in this example, matter at all? (Okay, I know advertising people are paid plenty to get the right names and slogans, so maybe I am not alone.) Would someone else think that bank was amazing because of it’s name?

Obviously, my work with our school’s DEIJ team and our current grade 5 unit about how people’s outward appearance can lead to perceptions and misconceptions is heightening my awareness of all kinds of biases and maybe that is a good thing!

6 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. I like how the descriptive names of the dishes both gave you positive impressions. Did “Chinese” make it sound good? (It would for me!) And then the bank name reflection- this is a truly thoughtful piece. When I read your title I expected it to be about student surnames, I wonder if you reflect on that as well. And I would love to hear more about how living in a very different place from where you grew up might affect your implicit bias.
    And thanks, Sally, for a great video clip recommendation!

  2. Oooh, I think it’s good that you’re stopping and thinking about this. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to reflect.

    I cook a lot and I’ve found that I sometimes have to rename recipes or my children won’t even want to try them. (Grrrr!)

  3. To be fair, it does sound either scammy or trying to hard. I think they definitely should have run that one past a focus group.

    Good for you for you for recognizing your snap judgement. But I have to ask — salad or tofu bowl? 🙂

  4. This makes me think of so much! I’ve also been looking for book mentors regarding how readers see themselves and if they see themselves in books. I make a great deal of snap judgements about books, the font, the cover, the lead… I think recognizing that we might be conducting ourselves in a direction opposed to our goals is a great first step.

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