People get my name wrong all the time. I know when that's racist, and when it's not.

Did you know that Joe Biden mispronounced Xavier Becerra's last name when he announced the California Attorney General as his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services? 😲

That, inclusive of the facial expression, was the collective response of normally respected figures in the national media for hours after what was, for the President-elect, a majorly successful rollout of his health policy team. In addition to Becerra, who's been a thorn on the side of the Trump administration's attempts to weaken and erase the Affordable Care Act, the team includes Dr. Anthony Fauci as the Chief Medical Officer to the President, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith as the chair of the to-be-created COVID-19 Equity Task Force, the renomination of President Obama's Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy to his old job, and other eminently qualified nominees at a critical time.

President-elect Biden focused on both the individual qualifications of his nominees and stressed that his health team would have the responsibility to coordinate with his economic and national security teams, as COVID-19 presents both an economic challenge at home and an international health crisis. But for some in the media, it was more important that Biden had botched Becerra's last name before correcting himself.

My last name is Chakrabarti. I pronounce it like this: chalk-ra-bar-tea. If you are not from my background, trying saying that three times faster.

People mispronounce my last name all the time. Heck, my parents aren't big fans of how I say it when I'm speaking English as opposed to my native tongue of Bengali. But the truth of the matter is that not every person who misprounounces it is a racist, or even does so with any mal-intent. In fact, the vast majority of people who stumble through my last name (or even my first) are just having a hard time pronouncing it, nothing more.

But there are times when someone mispronounces it on purpose, with pride, in an attempt to depict it as "foreign" (that is, non-white).

And I'll let you in on a little secret: I can tell the difference. Every time.

I bet General Becerra can, too.

While the media figures may have patted themselves on the back about their supposed objectivity (we'd point it out if Trump did it!) or even their perceptiveness for their commentary on Biden's slip, the truth is that everyone - at least everyone with a name that is often mispronounced in western countries are not going around looking to be offended at every butchering of our names regardless of the circumstances. And for us, the fact that highly compensated national reporters cannot - or will not - tell the difference between when it's just a mistake and when it's racism is more embarrassing for them than it is for Joe Biden.

Joe Biden, who served as the Vice President to the country's first Black president, is not being a racist when he fumbles a name. Joe Biden, whose Vice President-elect is a Black and Indian American woman, is not being a racist when he botches a name. Joe Biden, who's building the most diverse administration in history and is President-elect on the backs of his longstanding relationship with communities of color, is not trivializing or foreignizing the first ever Latino nominated to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He's just mispronouncing a name, which he goes on to correct.

When Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue mocks the now Vice President-elect at a rally by saying "Kah-mala-mala-mala or whatever it is," that is racism. When Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson, and guests on right wing media do the same, with no attempt to pronounce it correctly even after they are corrected, that is bigotry.

All of this is to say nothing of the complete sweeping under the rug of Joe Biden's speech disability. Biden has a childhood stutter, which could easily have caused the fumble. That people making fun of Biden for mispronouncing Becerra's name choose to ignore this fact represents, if anything, ableism on their part.

I can tell the difference between someone harmlessly and unintentionally mispronouncing my name, and someone using it to define me out of being a 'real' American. So can General Becerra.

It's time national 'reporters' could do the same.

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