Kim, you speak such good English!

Jill T. Furutani
Orlando, FL

I am a 3rd generation Japanese American. I used to reply that Yes, I tried very hard to lose my New Jersey accent. And why are all Asian women mistakenly called Kim?

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

4 Responses to "Kim, you speak such good English!"
  1. lcolbyjr says:

    Kim? That is most interesting I have never heard Asians called that however, when I mentioned that to some ladies here in the Thayne Center’s office in Salt Lake Community College, this was explained to me very thoroughly. I can however relate to what you have said as I am a white male, and often hear Hispanic people refer to me as “gringo”, but when I ask what the word means they can’t really tell me because it’s slag for white guy. I’m not a gringo I’m a human being. I’m sure there might be a slang word to describe Hispanic person but I choose not to know it. Take Care thank you for your voice.

    • JK says:

      You have a right not to like it, but to be honest a lot of things are less insulting in Spanish. They just don’t carry the same negative connotation. Gringo is slang for a white man but it doesn’t really sound as derisive as you might think. Wetback is another example. It’s terrible in English, but almost just is in Spanish.

  2. God says:

    It’s no mistake, Kim.

  3. JD says:


    It’s a bullies mind at work. They look for anything easy enough to put into a stereotype and remember, which will also likely get under someones skin. The less specific, yet personal, it is, the more likely they are to use it. “Forgetting” someones name is quite personal.

    As for the twisted logic that leads them to use the name Kim, I’d rather not venture down that path. Because in the end understanding the decision making process of “how precisely to bully” (in this case wrong name selection) won’t really change what’s happening.

    I’ve found that calling them on their bullying immediately, either gets them to stop, or sends them into over the top bullying mode which costs them dearly when among non-bullies whom they respect, or wish not to offend. Most back down in their bullying, thankfully.

    I had a situation where I gained a nickname I hated, just by showing up for my first day of college. I found that making a joke of it while correcting people didn’t help. So I got very blunt with people and started saying the following:
    “Stop calling me that. I hate being called that. If you want to call me by a nickname, call me JD. I actually like that nickname. Otherwise call me by my real name.”

    Here is how I interpret what I would say to people:
    1) “Stop ….” = Here is what I want you to do.

    2) “I hate …” = I view this interaction negatively.

    3) “If you want …” = Here is what I want you to do instead.

    4) “I actually …” = I will view that interaction positively.

    5) “Otherwise …” = Here is another desirable option for how to address me.

    In the end I only alienated those who thought they had some privilege to be mean to me. It turned out to be a much smaller group than I expected. (Thankfully!) The rest complied, some begrudgingly. So it would seem many others shared my interpretation, and valued showing me respect over disrespect.

    Perhaps trying a more direct approach with people will prove beneficial in the long run. (The short run with my approach was admittedly a bit rough. I got a lot of static from people. “Why are you making such a big deal about it?”; “You’re over reacting.” …etc. But it was important to me to be treated with respect and dignity.)

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