Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mea culpa...and other fancy ways of sying "I blew it"

If you click through and actually read my latest Silicon Veggie column you'll find a lovely comparison of me and a local vegan teenager who eagerly wanted to contribute to my column.

The teen emailed m out of the blue with lots to say about being a vegetarian and animal welfare. I sent back a list of questions and happily agreed to quote liberally from the ensuing response. Which I did. And then sent the link on to VeggieTeen...knowing I would make someone's day.

Except. Well, except I proved in one fell swoop that I may be a columnist, but I'm not a journalist. Here was the reply I received:

"Hey Elisa...actually I am a GIRL. You referred to me as a BOY. Yeah...bye."

And so I did.

Why? I mean I scoured over our email correspondence and at no time was gender mentioned or denoted.

I wondered whether anything about her writing style made me think of one gender or fact my S.O. teased me saying, "But don't you know all young vegetarians are female?" Had I been subtly influenced by the writings of Maureen Dowd and and Gail Collins and Michael Kinsley...talking about how males are always the ones who write and offer ideas and market their writings?

Actually no, something far more innocuous I think: I think my assumption was based solely on her first name, Ranjani. Yes, that name could go either way. But having worked with many Indians at my last couple of companies...I simply thought immediately of Ravi and Srini amongst the men I worked with, and Punitma and Archana amongst the women and assumed away based on that snap recall. So much for trusting our gut reactions, Mr. Gladwell.

Of course, when I really thought about it, I thought of my BlogHer Team mwmber, Purvi, a woman, and got even more annoyed with myself.

Anyway. I'm sorry. And the Santa Cruz edition will have all the correct pronouns.

But is my face red!

lol! Ethnic names are always tough to figure out. At least you were trying and that's the important part. As a South Asian woman, don't worry about it. Yeah, we get up in arms about people pronouncing our names wrong or calling us mr. though we are ms. But, hey, it's something she can blog about now...or bitch about, right? ;)
Thanks Chai!

Yes, I'm sure I am being described as that "clueless vegetarian" somewhere even as we speak!
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