The manager of the Motel we stayed at in Williams, told us that she had lived in the USA for 20 years; in Baltimore, Oklahoma, Flagstaff & now here, in Williams, Arizona. Handing in our keys on leaving, our conversation continued. Her name was Shanon, a very American name, which sat oddly with an Asian woman in her mid 50s. Her birthname was Darshan, meaning ‘veneration of the Lord’ in Hindi, but she had become ‘Shanon’ when she & her husband had moved to the States. We were told a tale of hard work & disappointment as Darshan recalled working as a cleaner in motels. Gradually she had begun managing, but would never earn much because she had no American qualifications, had been too busy working & looking after her family to convert her Indian qualifications by attending college here. Read More
Posts tagged names
11.09.2011 / Oklahoma
The motel owner introduces himself as Bob, explaining he had a Gujarati birth name, but moving here he’s become ‘Bob’. His brother lives in Walsall, & had also changed his name from Patel in response to the way it had become synonymous with ‘Paki’ as a racist insult in the UK. Bob’s comment: ‘A new generation, why can’t they forget, why does it have to continue?’
We stop at a petrol station & Denis ends up talking to the owner who tells him about family in London, or maybe Manchester. They talk about the expulsion of East African Asians from Uganda in the early 1970s; how his brother ended up in the UK but he’d moved on to this country.
We travel to the middle of the USA to experience the reach of Empire, the scars of racism in the UK.