Student ‘upset’ after being ‘jeered at’ during research project because of his Welsh name
A student has said he was “really upset” after being jeered at during a research project because of his Welsh name.
Llŷr Williams, 27, who studies translation, said he was asked how his name was pronounced while taking part in a Zoom call.
According to Llŷr, after pronouncing his name he was told “I could never say that, thank goodness you’re not in my group” by a fellow participant in the call.
Following the Zoom call he said that his name doesn’t make him a “difficult person” and that he should not be “instantly treated as a problem”.
Llŷr spoke about the incident on an impassioned Twitter thread which went viral, saying: “Took part in a zoom call as part of some research yesterday. I was asked how my name was pronounced, after which the chair said ‘I could never say that, thank goodness you’re not in my group’, before jeering at a colleague that I was in her group. It actually really upset me.
“I get it. Llŷr is hard to pronounce. But it doesn’t make me a difficult person. I shouldn’t be instantly treated as a problem. Especially when I say my name is tricky to pronounce and that I’m understanding when people say ‘Leer’ or something similar. I always appreciate effort.
“Yesterday was the first time in a while it really got to me. Because on first impression I was instantly treated as a problem, and used by an individual to make out a colleague had drawn a short straw by having me in her group. Should I man up? Probably.”
‘Only ever seems to be a problem on these islands’
He added: “My name only ever seems to be a problem on these islands. Whilst most people here make the effort. It’s here I mostly get comments about how awkward, tricky, impossible, crazy etc it is; and sometimes that can really get to me. I very rarely hear the same things abroad.
“I always appreciate the effort no matter what comes out. Even if that means biting my tongue when a lecturer repeatedly called me ‘Kiwi’ (I have no idea either) or whatever else.
“I’m proud of my name. It connects me to Cymru Fach especially important to me now I live away.
“If someone has a name that’s unusual or difficult to pronounce, please be respectful. Please understand that what you say, even if it’s a joke, can be upsetting.
“Thanks to my name, every first impression I make involves a language lesson (one which I’ve learnt in 11 languages).”