Texas Lawmaker Thinks Asian-Americans Should Change Their Last Names

Ken AshfordImmigration and XenophobiaLeave a Comment

…in order to make them understandable to "Americans" (thereby implying that Asian-Americans aren't "Americans"):

A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.


“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

She asked this question at a hearing being held by the Texas House Elections Committee, on which she serves.  The question was placed to Ramey Ko, who was testifying as a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Let me repeat that.  She asked that to an Asian-American named Ko.  Pronounced…. "Ko".  She asked Ko if it would behoove Asian-Americans to change their names to make it easier for poll workers.

And if that isn't enough irony for you, the Texas House Elections Committee on which Brown serves includes state legislators with names like Hensarling and Neugebauer.