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True or False? Did these people really change their names

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I stumbled across this video.  Whilst I am aware of some who changed their names this video lists a whole host of people (Jews in this case) who changed their names.

Is the content just?

Why do they really do it?



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For the same reason my Asian girlfriends at UCLA adopted an American nickname as a 2nd middle name. Their real names were impossible for most to pronounce and to remember. 

In the acting world your name is crucial. My friend "Cheryl Johnson" had to change her last name as she's wasn't Black and her agent couldn't sell her with a Black-sounding name.

If your last name sounds like it might be Hispanic and you can pass for Caucasian, you will be told to change your last name ASAP or you will not be considered for gigs. Casting won't like it if they want a Hispanic look and you show up with blond hair and blue eyes even if you might be 1/2 or full-blooded Hispanic and can speak Spanish without an accent. Recall the South American actress from Modern Family had to dye her hair to look more Hispanic to fit the role required.

Last names have always been shortened or "Americanized" by all races and religions when immigrants came to Ellis Island and immigration officials didn't have room for long last names nor the desire to spell it multiple times on many forms. Sometimes siblings ended up with different last names on the legal paperwork. 

Finally abbreviations make it much easier for names to fit on the movie marquee, in advertising, and to communicate across long distance with those who aren't native English speakers. A famous example are The Brothers' Gibb who ended up being called, "The BG's" for that very reason. 

By the way I'm very attuned to this issue as my 1st name is very unusual, similar to a man's name. Can't tell you how it's been mangled over the years. So I started making people call me by my middle name in high school. It's still gets thoroughly mangled and mispronounced and misspelled but at least it's always a girls' name. 




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Jewish people say it's true...it was an especially popular thing to do after WWII apparently...


Thousands of name change petitions were submitted to the New York City Civil Court during the 1940s and 1950s. A disproportionate number of them were submitted by Jews. Debates over Jewish identity at this time tended to equate name changing with passing and escaping the Jewish community. Rabbi Milton Steinberg, for example, in 1945, called for stronger Jewish identity among Jewish youth, warning that some “Jews change their names, dissociate themselves from their fellows, calculatingly conceal their origin and try to ‘pass.’” Quietly challenging portraits of name changers as “passers,” however, were Jewish voices like sociologist Erving Goffman, who described name changing as a more complex act of “covering”: hiding the most obtrusive parts of a stigma so that they did not impede daily life. My paper will use name change petitions, published writings, and unpublished letters from name changers during the postwar era to suggest that “covering” indeed more accurately reflected the complicated practice of name changing for the majority of American Jews.

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