WTF?! Dear Abby Advises Parents To Whitewash 'Foreign' Names

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Jeet Singh

Buckle up for the worst ‘Dear Abby’ advice you’ve ever heard

Dear Abby is proving she’s the opposite of fine wine in that her popular advice column — which has been around since 1956 — is not aging well at all. Take this viral tweet exposing some truly backward, offensive advice she recently gave about ‘foreign’ names, for instance.

Professor and activist Simran Jeet Singh shared a recent “Dear Abby” letter where a white father writes about how anxious he is over the fact that his Indian wife wants to give their future child a name that reflects her heritage.

“My wife, who was born and raised in India, is insisting on Indian names for our children,” the dad whines. “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.” He then asks Abby how he can bully his wife into relinquishing her heritage via names for their non-existent children because he thinks an Indian name would prove to be “difficult” for the child.

LOL who’s gonna tell him that literally everything about having a child is difficult, and a name that reflects half of said child’s heritage isn’t it?

Abby, showing herself for the white, privileged dinosaur she is (remember when she said asking about guns in homes for play dates was impolite?), offers some truly stunning racism and narrow-mindedness to pass off for “advice.”

“Your wife’s concept of giving the children Indian names is lovely,” she chides. But what about the problems a name that isn’t John or Mary or Aidan would surely cause for a child? “Not only can foreign names be difficult to pronounce and spell, but they can also cause a child to be teased unmercifully,” Abby writes. “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.”

GRATING. She said grating. So basically if your child has a name that isn’t as bland as a box of Triscuits, your kid is fucked I guess! Sorry, those are the rules! “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?”

Uh-huh. Lots to unpack there, so please allow the good people of the internet to do it.

Singh, who wrote the viral tweet, has further thoughts on Abby’s deranged advice.

Also worth addressing is the fact that this man is completely diminishing his wife’s culture — and Abby’s “advice” did nothing to address his own problematic behavior. What’s more damaging here, really? Hint: it’s not the list of baby names his wife likes.