I read this article on how stereotyped ethnic names can sadly be a barrier to workplace entry and was reminded of a course I designed earlier this year. It was for a client who was going to purchase the materials from me. When they reviewed the workbook, they asked me to change all the names to ones that were familiar to people in the Philippines because they were planning on running the program in Manila. So I changed the names to the names of people I worked with on a short stint in the Philippines.
When I resubmitted the materials to my client, they got back to me with a concern that the names would sound too foreign to learners in India because they planned to run the module in both countries. I suggested having two versions. They made noises about standardisation and asked me to incorporate ‘globally acceptable’ names. I tried to put up a fight but I had to finally give in. The final straw was when they told me that they were also planning to launch the program in the US and that the names would need to be globally acceptable to Indians, Americans, Filipinos and anyone else who’d happen to be around.
I changed the names in the text to ones that I kinda thought would be culture and country agnostic (although that’s a fairly erroneous line of thinking in a multicultural, globalised world)
I couldn’t come up with any others. I ended up using Jay in four different texts. I was wondering if anyone else has faced a similar situation. Also what names would you add to this ‘globally acceptable’ list?
Image attribution: O inmost wind of living ecstasy… by haRee | Flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0