Full disclosure: I’m a white anglo person. Which means I have a whole lot of privilege in the place where I live, and a lot of other places too. I don’t always see it, but privilege is like oxygen: I don’t have to see it to benefit, and you don’t really appreciate it til you don’t have it. And lately, I’ve been seeing it on the writers’ corner of twitter, and it’s about something pretty important: names.
I love the #WritingCommunity, and it’s generally a great place to hang out. But this keeps popping up as advice:
Keep your characters relatable! Give them short, easy names, like Jen or Kate or Dan or Taylor. Otherwise readers won’t be able to remember who’s who.
And fellow white anglo people, can we not? The assumption that the best names are short, uber anglo names? And that short, uber anglo names are the most relatable? On a planet of more than seven billion people with thousands of languages? No. And no, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with you giving your characters said names – it’s the assumption that those names are the most *relatable*, that anything else is too hard or too weird or whatever. It’s the Daenerys Targaryen test: if THAT name isn’t too weird or unrelatable for literally millions of people, neither is anything else.