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What Is a Name

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The one thing which separates human beings from the animal kingdom is human mind, which has the ability to reason on a conscious level. To think consciously, one must use language. This point is not generally appreciated but it is vitally important. It is impossible to think without language. What allows language to serve in this manner? In the case of languages which have alphabets, letters are placed in a definite sequence in the alphabet, for example, in the English alphabet, "A" is always in the first position, "B" in the second position, and so on. Any alphabet is an alphabet because symbols are recognized by their form or sound in a definite order. The power of a name and its value has long been immortalized in prose, poetry, and religious ceremony. Everyone recognizes himself or herself by name.

Ahmad has its origins in the Arabic language. It is used largely in Arabic and German. The name Ahmad means 'most praiseworthy'. Derived from the word hamida which is of the meaning 'to praise, to commend, to thank'. This is one of the many names of the prophet Mohammad, and it is also one of the most popular Arabic names. It was borne by three 17th- and 18th-century Turkish sultans named Ahmet. In the USA, the name is used mostly by Muslim African Americans. Being named after the prophet's name, and having one of the most common names in Islamic and Arabic world, this has many effects in my life.

This name makes me a part of the in-groups in Islamic and Arab communities while am classified as part of the out-groups in other societies. Being classified as such, has given me a lot of positive as well as negative aspects or characteristics that allowed me to act in a certain way in certain societies. In a society where am one of the majority groups or a subculture, I feel free to interact with people and make many various relationships with many different people. While as opposed to this, in other societies or a counterculture I might not be able to make as much friendships. I had an experience before while I was visiting one of the countries in Europe where people would try to get away or avoid me just after they know that my name is Ahmad, or sometimes through verbal or even non-verbal communication. Through verbal communication is because I don't know the language of the country I'm visiting or I have an accent and non-verbal by seeing me doing "strange" or deviant acts like praying, sometimes in public, or maybe doing things that are not part of their cultures and traditions. During that time, I could really tell that this country practices ethnocentrism, where we weren't allowed to "freely" practice our religion and we have to do what they do based on their culture thinking that it is superior over other cultures. So, there is a high correlation between name and social interactions in any society. Based on Becker's labeling theory, people's social contexts (here we would be using names, specifically my name) help other's determining whether those people are deviant or not.

Inequality was also one of the experiences I had throughout my life period. I experienced this phenomenon in places such as airports and even grocery shops. The grocery shop incidence happened in Europe, where one day my cousin (who lives there) and I went to get some groceries from a little shop on the main street. My cousin went to get a haircut I went to do the shopping. The guy at the shop knew that I wasn't from the area so he asked me about my name and stopped, he didn't even continue. So when my cousin finished, he came to the shop; when



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