I can meet you in the middle on this one (not that it’s going to sway you). I don’t have a problem with “female” and haven’t had the “sis” experience that you’ve had. Honestly, I cannot think of one time when any man has called me “sis” — including the hoteps. (I was, however, called a “bed wench” twice by the latter group. I cannot take hoteps seriously enough to get mad at them. I ignore them like tantrum-throwing toddlers and just block!) The nickname “sis” has always been from women, and more often than not, it’s more of a “Black Girl Magic/sisterly tone.” So while I’m unphased by either of these words, I fully recognize that everyone has a pet peeve when it comes to certain names.

I cannot remember what the discussion was, but there was a man online talking to me who called me “beloved.” I asked him not to, and reminded him that my username and real name were in plain sight. His response: “That’s your real name?” Now what I wanted to say was, “You dumb motherf**ker, why the f**k would I put a fake name up by a username and by a website that’s clearly on a site full of writing clips and linked to several news sites? Use your brain!”

What I did say was much calmer, something along the lines of, “Regardless of whether you believe this is my ‘real’ name or not, clearly if I’m voluntarily using this username and this alternate name — which, yes, is my real name — then I’ve OK’d both. It’s on the screen. You don’t even have to ask. Please use the name available to you instead of giving women a nickname. I do not know you.”

And his response was that his grandmother raised him to always call women “beloved” when he didn’t know their names. I reminded him again that he could clearly see two options. He apologized. And we peacefully moved on.

Now if I’d have cursed him out (as I initially wanted to), then that would’ve by default insulted his grandmother. I’m glad I took a step back before responding — even though I still think there was shade thrown at my name — and just decided it’s easier to ask people not to call me by nicknames than to keep arguing about it. Some women are cool with “baby,” “honey,” “sweetheart” and “boo.” I hate ALL four of those pet names. But I’m totally comfortable with “sista” and “sis.” And I am biologically a female, by Merriam Webster definition, so I’m neutral on that.

But considering every woman has her preference on what she prefers to be called, I still think it’s safer to just call them by the #@%ing name on the computer.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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