Write Me a Post, ChatGPT

By Mike Martinez (Follow us on LinkedIn)

Similar to many of my students, I take in information while painlessly fighting the urge to multitask. Listening to conversations, thinking through the concepts, checking emails, and wondering why I’d let my writers block get the best of me for my next blog post. 

What would ChatGPT have to say, if I provided a prompt of a topic or subject I wanted to write about? 

Four black markers next to several Hello my name is name tags, all on top of a desk.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Some weeks ago, members of the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology at St. Mary’s University sponsored a meeting and dialogue on ChatGPT for our entire campus. The idea blossomed from conversations between colleagues and students in the school using AI for problem sets and other projects. The invitation was extended to all members and schools and the knowledge on this resource ranged from the novice to those who had already leveraged it in their courses. The common consensus of the group was that the idea of education and learning at the University is already in a new state of change evidenced by the shifts made in response to Covid and a post pandemic world. The biggest take away being the opportunity to impart our humanity in how we collaborate with our students.

So, in the middle of this campus discussion, I gave ChatGPT the following prompt:

350 word blog post with the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the topic of the importance of pronouncing our names. This topic was fresh from a conversation as a member of our DEI Council about identity and significance of names.

What follows in italics is the post generated by ChatGPT, the text in regular font is my commentary and thoughts brought to mind.

Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The Power of Pronouncing Our Names

In pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable society, diversity, equity, and inclusion have become integral values. Beyond celebrating our unique backgrounds, identities, and experiences one often overlooked aspect is the pronunciation of names. Surprisingly, even our own names can be mispronounced. In this blog post we will explore the significance of correctly pronouncing our names and the impact it has on fostering an inclusive environment.

This is a total throw away paragraph. Like the beginning of a middle school essay, it says a lot without saying anything at all. I wanted to explore the concept of names to think of my identity. Who I am and why I pronounce my name very Mexican in some circles and very non-ethnic in others.

Names carry deep cultural and personal significance. They are an essential part of our identity, connecting us to our heritage, family and history. When we mispronounce someone’s name, we inadvertently dismiss their individuality, erasing a crucial aspect of who they are. Similarly, mispronouncing our own name can stem from a lack of confidence, fear of judgment, or cultural assimilation. By recognizing the significance of names, and embracing their authentic pronunciation, we can demonstrate respect, acceptance, and promote a sense of belonging for all.

I do believe that names carry meaning. I am my father’s son, a Martinez through and through (whatever that means). Names connect us to who we are and where we come from…culture…heritage. I remember growing up and being asked why I talk “white”. I wonder if I pronounce my name to make it easier for those around me? I question if I devalue my cultural heritage when I fail to roll the “r”?

Properly pronouncing someone’s name signifies our willingness to learn and appreciate their uniqueness. It helps foster a culture of inclusivity, where individuals feel valued, acknowledged, and heard. By making the effort to ask and remember the correct pronunciation, we show respect for different cultures, languages and backgrounds. Moreover embracing our own names allows us to assert our identity, proudly strengthening our self-esteem and reinforcing the idea that we deserve to be seen and heard for who we truly are.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I remember my first year in Contracts class, Professor Amy Kastely made every effort to pronounce our names by rolling the “r’s”. It was a bit humorous at the time but it took years for me to see that she wanted my classmates and I to feel seen.  Her teaching style attempted to level the power dynamic by addressing us by first name. Her textbook, filled with non-normative cases considered “other” by the mainstream. People questioned why we read what we did in the casebook. Inclusivity in the late 90’s at a time that seemed foreign to an assimilated crowd.

Mispronouncing our own names can create a disconnect between our true selves and the persona we present to the world. It can make us feel ashamed or invisible, hindering our ability to form meaningful connections with others. However, by reclaiming our names and confidently correcting others when necessary, we break down barriers and create opportunities for genuine connections. When we demonstrate self-respect and authenticity, we invite others to do the same, fostering an environment where diversity, equity, and inclusion thrive.

I think each of us struggle with the dichotomy of who we are. We are definitely products of our own intersectionality. I’ve never felt ashamed of my name or other’s mispronunciation of it. I’ve never grasped the power to tell others how I want them to pronounce my last name, I see you: Irma Herrera. I work to realize that the experience of others vary but want to very much have others feel “seen”.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just buzzwords; they are pillars of a harmonious society. By embracing the correct pronunciation of our own names and respecting the names of others, we contribute to an empathetic world. Let us celebrate the power of names and ensure that everyone feels values and heard, one syllable at a time.

I think the more we are open to the experiences of others and are unafraid to engage in dialogue, we make strides to become more inclusive to all.  


Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.