The surname. It idendifies your tribe, it allows you to find others that are related to you in some way or form, and it is a required attribute to trace and build your family tree. It is also an integral part of any government which you reside or serve under.
My family background is from Mauritius. It’s where my parents were born. I was born and raised in the United Kindom. Over the years, especially since University – the first time in my life where I came into regular contact with other Mauritians, I came to realise how much Mauritian people attempt to big themselves up with their surname.
Fuck that, what is this?! The middle ages? What a pathetic concept to try and rub off onto other Britons and British Mauritians in general. The age of the surname meaning anything at all has long gone. In any modern culture, whether this be westernised or not, have moved far beyond the surname holding any meaning due to history. It is exactly that… it holds history and only history. I believe that bringing this up in modern day in order to achieve a higher status above someone else is absurd and patronising. This is exactly what I experienced at University; I was approached by a friend who recently discovered I had a Mauritian background – and almost immediately starts asking me if I have heard of the surname “blahblahblah”. This had already happened a few times, interestingly, with only Mauritian nationals living in London.
Like everyone else that has said this to me, I said “no”. They immediately proceed to bang on about how their grand dad or some member of their family built a school and how it’s extremely prestigious (probably around 8000 years ago). I stand there, pretending to look interested, out of shear politeness and respect- but the truth is that I want to smack them in the face, get them in a headlock and vigorously rub my knuckles against their head whilst saying “stop kidding yourself… stop kidding yourself…”.
In this day and age, respect is achieved through academic, technical and intellectual merits of achievement. They are not achieved through expecting someone to believe that what some member of someones family has built in the past (if it even happened at all). We live in an unfortunate world where the lack of immediate proof will undoubtably earn you no trust in anyone you try to fob off with the history of your Mauritian surname.
Deal with it, and move on.
Image Credit: Island Crisis