My friend made a wonderful point recently. He begged me to tell him how to really pronounce my Chinese last name, as I had told him everyone's pronunciation of it ("Chow") wasn't actually right. "Why should you change your last name to conform to Western culture?" he had asked. "Your name is your name; people should say it correctly." Not gonna lie, I was pretty touched by that.
My last name, Cao, doesn't really have a Western pronunciation. The most logical, phonetic pronunciation of it is "cow," which is a common mistake I don't blame anyone for. A lot of people seem to find it really funny and jokingly call me "cow," which doesn't really offend me, but my friend's words got me thinking: Why not share the real pronunciation?
"Cao" is actually pronounced "ts-awh." And if you're curious to hear someone say it, I've linked it down below.
My friend was right: It's time I finally start taking control of my identity and heritage!
Author: Claire Cao
1/12/19- RepresentASIAN: Interview with Music Maestro Daniel Kim
2/3/19- Not Your Representative Heuristic
2/20/19- Being Labeled "The Asian Girl"
3/5/19- It's "Cao," Not "Cow," Not "Chow"...
4/1/19- Dear Fake Chinese Food
5/6/19- History Lesson: My Mom Was a Protester at Tiananmen Square
5/24/18- Asian RepresentASIAN Making American History
6/21/19- My First Encounter With Blatant Racial Harassment
7/10/19- Growing Up Alongside "RepresentASIAN"
8/15/19- Asians Need to Support Asians
9/16/19-Making Stereotypes Disappear: Interview with Rising Magician Kevin Li
11/8/19- The Impacts of Social Media