Dear Abby columnist Jeanne Phillips, who writes under the pen name Abigail Van Buren, has been accused of racism after she encouraged a man seeking advice on baby names not to base them off his wife’s nationality.
The unidentified man said in the letter published in September that his wife, who was born and raised in India, insisted on Indian names for the children, as the couple prepares to start a family.
The individual said: ‘The problem is they are often difficult to pronounce and spell. I’m not opposed to Indian middle names, but think traditional “Western” names may be more suitable, since we will live in the United States.
Dear Abby columnist Jeanne Phillips, who writes under the pen name Abigail Van Buren, has been criticized for encouraging a man with Indian wife to choose American names for their children
The unidentified man said in the letter published in September that his wife, who was born and raised in India, insisted on Indian names for the children, as the couple is preparing to start a family
‘How can I make my wife understand that having ‘unusual’ names makes certain aspects of kids’ lives more difficult?,’ he asked, signed MAKING LIFE EASY.
Phillips followed up writing: ‘DEAR MAKING: ‘Your wife’s concept of giving the children Indian names is lovely. However, practically speaking, I agree with you.
‘Popular names in one country can cause problems for a child living in another one. Not only can foreign names be difficult to pronounce and spell, but they can also cause a child to be teased unmercifully.
‘Sometimes the name can be a problematic word in the English language. And one that sounds beautiful in a foreign language can be grating in English.
‘I hope your wife will rethink this. Why saddle a kid with a name he or she will have to explain or correct with friends, teachers and fellow employees from childhood into adulthood?’
Twitter user Simran Jeet Singh shared the letter to social media this week which has since gone viral.
Twitter picked up on the letter this week, and users expressed their concerns
Simran Jeet Singh, also a father, said: ‘We gave our girls traditional Sikh names because we are so proud of our heritage. I pray that they love themselves so much that they do the same’
‘Dear Twitter, a famous advice columnist is telling people to whitewash their kid’s names if they want to be accepted. How should I tell her that’s wrong and racist?,’ he said Tuesday.
Singh, also a father, followed up in a tweet which said: ‘We gave our girls traditional Sikh names because we are so proud of our heritage. I pray that they love themselves so much that they do the same.’
Phillips could not be reached for comment by DailyMail.com late Thursday.
Dear Abby was founded in 1956 by her mother, Pauline Phillips, who passed away in 2013 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jeanne Phillips now operates the advice column – which has a worldwide readership of more than 110million, according to its Facebook bio.
Dear Abby is also described the ‘most widely syndicated columnist in the world.’