The Asian American Foundation slammed Democratic strategist Donna Brazile for mispronouncing Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s name, arguing her mispronunciation furthers the “perpetual foreigner myth” that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) do not belong in the U.S.
“Refusing to pronounce someone’s name correctly & telling them to ‘go home’ furthers the perpetual foreigner myth, fostering anti-immigrant sentiment that AAPIs do not belong in the U.S.,” The Asian American Foundation wrote in a post Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter. “AAPI names are not punchlines & we expect public figures to use their platforms responsibly.”
While on “Real Time with Bill Maher” last week, Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, was questioned on how to pronounce Ramaswamy’s name.
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“Vivek needs to just shut the hell up and go home,” Brazile said on the show, prompting some laughter from the studio audience.
“It’s Vivek,” Maher said, correcting her. He later quoted Ramaswamy in saying his name rhymes with “cake.”
“Well, whatever,” Brazile said, before starting another sentence where she said his name correctly.
“Whatever?” Maher shot back. “Would you say that about another ethnic—”
Brazile cut Maher off and pronounced Ramaswamy’s first name correctly and then questioned how to say his last name.
Maher responded with the correct pronunciation of the tech entrepreneur’s name and nodded.
“Thank you so much. I learn so much when I come on this show,” Brazile said and then repeated her initial comment, “Vivek? Vivek needs to go home.”
“I agree. I just feel like there’s something wrong with everybody refusing to learn to say his name. I just feel there’s a little racism there,” Maher responded.
“There’s no racism,” Brazile said, adding later, “Ramaswamy. I’ll say it; I’ll say it.”
“I know we don’t like him, but, you know, say his name right,” Maher said.
Ramaswamy, who was born in the United States to Indian parents, called out Brazile on Sunday for her comments, claiming she “intentionally mispronounced” his name.
“I wonder what they’d do if a white Republican intentionally mispronounced Donna’s name & then told her to return ‘home,’” Ramaswamy wrote on X with a laughing emoji.
The Hill reached out to Brazile for comment.
Sarah Fortinsky contributed.
Updated on Nov. 22 at 12:11 p.m.