On the other hand, making it easier for others by ignoring culture is not so helpful, not to the children, their mother, or society at large. We don’t live in a simple world in a simple time with simple identities that are easy to understand or describe. And increasingly, children are born into families that encompass multiple cultures in countries where the whole world meets and grows up together.

Having a name that indicates cultural complexity is, in my experience, the easiest way to signify to those we encounter that who we are is complicated. Some American schools already recognize the complexity of the societies we live in. Santa Clara County in California started the My Name My Identity campaign that emphasizes the importance of correctly pronouncing all names and understanding that people’s monikers are a critical element of who they are.

Humans, including children, are capable of managing complexity and benefit from a sophisticated worldview. The earlier we’re exposed to multiple cultures, the easier it is for us to understand one another, no matter where we’re from, and even if where we are “from” is more than one place.

There’s no need to oversimplify. Instead, we should be following in the footsteps of the French soccer players—celebrating our diversity and working together to excel at whatever we do, using our roots to make our lives richer, not poorer. Ultimately, everyone benefits from this approach.


Ephrat Livni

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