Meet Imanina Syasya Binte Mohammad Tani, a Singaporean who now lives in Australia and experienced name discrimination. Syasya is not the only one who goes through this, here’s her experience
What is name discrimination?
Name discrimination is an understanding of 2 words. The first being of discrimination, which essentially is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of ethnicity, age, sex, or disability (merriam-webster). So name discrimination is when those discriminations are based solely on your name. Seems like unfair treatment, doesn’t it?
Syasya went through this in Australia, and we spoke to her about her experiences. Syasya believes that name discrimination is hard to pinpoint as it’s a part of many daily aspects in Australia.
What did Syasya experience in Australia?
According to Syasya, the government and parts of the community agree that it’s a pretty big issue, but it eventually blurs because it becomes a part of your daily life. She contributes it to the culture and how the majority of its citizens are Caucasians, and therefore it goes unnoticed.
Syasya explained to ABC News how she believes this has led to her family facing difficulties in the rental market. Alongside that, she also faced multiple errors and mispronunciations on the administrative side of things which is often tiring.
"It's bad to assume that [my father's] name is an issue … but it's just that, that was the only factor pointing towards why we didn't get a rental sometimes." She said when talking to ABC about the issue.
What is an example of name discrimination?
An example that Syasya gave was how some jobs require security checks and even simple forms that are required to fill out is a prime example. Those forms would usually ask for all types of variations possible to your name, which therefore, may take more time than usual.
So, for example.
Syasya's full name is Imanina Syasya Binte Muhammad Tani
- Imanina Syasya
- Syasya Muhammad
- Imanina Binte Etc.
Are there any laws to prevent this?
As of right now, they aren't against name discrimination, but Syasya hopes that in the future, it may change.
What are some misconceptions that people usually have about name discrimination?
People often think that it’s a minor issue and it’s just an issue of mispronunciation. However, it's so much more. Syasya states how it could even affect livelihoods and income too. According to her, it could even affect one’s chances of getting a house or job.
This isn't Syasya's first time talking about this.
She previously talked about this with ABC News. She stated that while her speaking out had caused some controversy, she remains optimistic that it was mainly been positive. With the positive affirmations, Syasya hopes there will be change. She remarks how it is indeed a step in the right direction.
All in all:
The victims of name discrimination may suffer severe consequences. Based on a person's name, judgments and stereotypes based on race might result in unfair treatment and exclusion from chances.
Name discrimination can also lead to identity crises because victims may feel pressured to modify or hide their names in order to conform to social norms. Recognizing the harm done by name discrimination and working to create a more inclusive and fair environment for everyone is crucial for both individuals and society.
While Syasya goes through these hardships, she is still grateful for the opportunities and life she has. The community and her Ramadan experience has been total bliss. Australia still is her home despite it all. She values her community and says about how they’re are connected and close.
"We come together, break fast and pray together. There are a few carnivals and gatherings we do and promote local food and business," she said. She added that she feels accepted and enjoys the community spirit.
PS. Read Syasya’s Ramadan experience here !