Ohio, congressional primaries… I’ll let this story in the Washington Independent speak for itself:
With the Democratic primary just days away, state and local party leaders are ripping into David Krikorian, one of the hopefuls to challenge GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt in November, for disparaging remarks he’s made recently about his chief primary opponent, Surya Yalamanchili.
According to accounts given to local politicians, Krikorian has appeared at campaign events to ridicule Yalamanchili, an American of Indian descent, by dramatically pronouncing his name to emphasize its foreign nature.
“Now do you really think that a guy with a name like that has a chance of ever being elected?” Krikorian allegedly said to members of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Clermont County.
The comments — which Krikorian denies – drew a quick response from local Democratic leaders, who shot off a letter to Krikorian Wednesday calling his behavior “deeply disturbing.”
“Your comments on Surya’s name are are best insensitive and worse appear racist,” wrote Timothy M. Burke and David Lane, the Democratic chairmen in Hamilton and Clermont counties, respectively. “It is deeply disturbing to us that you would use his name, which is obviously derived from his ethnic heritage, against him in a denigrating manner, especially considering how strongly you value and celebrate your own heritage.” (link)
Now, there’s no excusing this comment (hmm, I have $10 burning a hole in my pocket; can I donate it to a Congressional candidate somewhere…? Aha.). But arguably, in Krikorian’s defense, “Yalamanchili” is a bit of a toughie as far as complicated Desi names goes.
Yalamanchili, of course, was already well aware of this, judging by his campaign slogan: “Vote Chili”.
Macaca. Piyush Jindal. D-Punjab. Gogol Ganguli. The mis-naming issue is surprisingly persistent.