I am Zahara Unique-Lynne Johnson, a 23-year-old Morgan State graduate from Camden, N.J. I live part of the time in Baltimore, part of the time in my hometown. But no matter the state, one thing remains the same: my name is always pronounced wrong.
The correct pronunciation is Za-hi-ra, but my mom felt frivolous on that 26th day of August, and opted out of spelling it that way.
On the first day of school, I can remember teachers butchering it. "Za-hair-ra" or "Za-hor-ra," they'd say with certainty. "No, it's Za-hi-ra," I'd reply in a room full of Johns and Amandas and Ashleys.
People routinely say, "You must be from Africa! No, wait, the...