Entertainment And News

Man Wonders If He Is In The Wrong For Refusing To Let Wife Name Non-Korean Son After K-Pop Star

Photo: Kseniya Ivanova / Shutterstock / WikiMedia Commons
Couple with baby, Jonghyun

A 33-year-old man and his 32-year-old wife from Ireland are expecting a child whose due date is April 21st — congratulations to the happy couple!

According to the father, who made a post on the popular subreddit, “r/AmItheA--hole,” he “personally can't wait to be a dad,” but they’ve run into one small problem a few months before the baby’s supposed to arrive — what are they going to name the child?

The man doesn’t believe it’s right to name their child after a K-Pop star who died 5 years ago.

The subreddit, “r/AmItheA--hole,” is a place for anyone and everyone to relay their problems with strangers on the internet who will give it to you straight and honestly — providing you with a rating and some advice on how to handle the aftermaths of your situation.

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At the most basic level, since the question is “Am I the A--hole?” the ratings are either you’re “Not The A--hole” (NTA), or “You’re The A--hole” (YTA), with some more complicated ratings — but these are the most common.

Unsurprisingly, everyone in the comments of this post is on the husband’s side, but with a little bit of context, it’s not hard to sympathize with his wife on why she wants to name their child after him.

“My wife has been a huge fan of the South Korean boy band Shinee since 2008,” he began the story. “Their music apparently got her through a lot of tough times. Jong-hyun was a member of this group; he, unfortunately, passed away in 2017.”

SHINee is a very popular K-Pop group, and as such, Jong-hyun’s passing massively shook the entire industry — everyone was devastated and it caused a lot of people to start advocating for mental health awareness among K-Pop idols who are commonly treated as if they’re perfect.

“My wife was devastated when she found out about his death and told me that when we'll have a kid and if it's a boy she's going to name him Jong-hyun in his honor,” he continued. “At the time I didn't really take her seriously.”

Little did he know, she was very serious about it.

Apparently, his wife speaks Korean, and she’s even picked out different characters that can change the meaning while keeping the pronunciation of his name in order to fit her ideal name.

“I love how the name sounds,” he explains, “the nickname Jjong and the meaning but the issue is we're both 100% White (I'm literally blond with green eyes and she's ginger with blue eyes + fair skin... legit as White as they come). I told her that I don't think this is appropriate because we have no Korean blood in us and she said that's not a problem since it's cultural appreciation and not appropriation.”

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This is where the disagreement begins and is the reason why the father made the post in the first place, feeling like he was wrong for trying to shut down something this important to his wife.

But he isn’t in the wrong in any way, because she’s being entirely selfish when it comes to the fact that she’s bringing in an entirely different form of life into the world.

She isn’t thinking about the child at all.

Their son will come out white with two white parents and no Korean blood but will have a Korean name.

Her child isn’t some sort of object she can shove her appreciation of a K-Pop star on, he’s another human being who will have to grow up and exist in his whole life with a name that belongs to another culture.

“NTA. I think maybe your wife needs to stop thinking about what she wants,” reads the top comment, “and start thinking about how having a traditionally Korean name will impact your unborn child as they progress through life. You son would get shit for that from the first day of school.”

Unfortunately, we live in a society where kids will bully other kids for something as simple as the shoes on their feet, so it’s not a wild leap to think that kids will find a way to make fun of their son for the name he was given.

“NTA perhaps suggest an Anglicised version of the name that sounds similar?” read the second-highest comment. “John Young or something?”

This was actually a lot of people’s suggestion, that they compromise and find another way to honor him instead of giving him a name in another language and culture that doesn’t belong to either of them.

It would be less offensive and it would keep the very same meaning while being a part of Western culture — something that they are a part of.

While cultural appropriation and appreciation are very fine lines that get crossed and debated on the daily, giving your child a name from another culture is an entirely different story aside from the cultural implications — which are wrongly placed at best.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.