Notes of Belonging: Hello, My Name Is

Notes of Belonging: Hello, My Name Is


Names hold significant meaning despite consisting of just a few letters. They can represent our cultural or ethnic backgrounds, pay homage to our family members, and serve as an interesting conversation starter! Think back to a time when your name was mispronounced or misspelled –  it can be frustrating and sour a first impression. Unfortunately, misnaming is a common microaggression that many members of marginalized communities experience on a daily basis. 

Microaggressions are comments or actions that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally express a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.  

While misnaming may seem like a small issue, the cumulative impact of microaggressions can be immense. Taking the time to learn and correctly use someone's name is a simple yet powerful way to show respect and help prevent name-based microaggressions! Check out the helpful tips below to get started! 


Don’t assume that you’ve got the name game all figured out! When meeting someone new, always ask how to pronounce their name correctly. In virtual settings like email or online posts, double-check the names of those you are addressing (hint: check out the email signature) to ensure correct spelling. Autocorrect may change names without you realizing it! 

Also, avoid assigning nicknames without permission! Don’t assume Jennifer is Jen, especially if the individual hasn’t given you permission to refer to them by a nickname. It is important to respect individuals' chosen names and identities. 


When someone calls us by the wrong name, it can be invalidating, hurtful and confusing. It's important to look within and take responsibility for our actions, acknowledging that we may have biases we are not aware of. Rather than villainizing the other person, we should acknowledge the mistake and work to do better. This shows respect and helps to improve our relationships with others. 


Be an ally by taking action when someone's name is mispronounced or misspelled. Correcting the person in a respectful way communicates the importance of getting names right 

If you are in a leadership role, you can act as a role model by avoiding misnaming mistakes and encouraging lifelong diversity, equity and inclusion learning!  


Showing appreciation and respect for all cultures is important because it acknowledges and values the diversity that exists in our world. Don't burden others, especially those with marginalized identities, with educating you about their communities or names. Instead, approach the conversation with an open mind and take the initiative to learn on your own, through research and education 

As members of Alpha Chi Omega, we can continue to celebrate the beauty of our names by taking small yet powerful steps to learn, acknowledge differences and show respect for each other's identities. Let's continue to build a sisterhood where every member is valued and respected and inspire others to do the same. Together let us seek the heights!   

Hello! My name is important

Did you learn something new? Feeling motivated and want to share your thoughts or personal experience with belonging through your Alpha Chi Omega experience?Share your story now!