Bobby Abtahi Responds to D Magazine Criticism of His Name

In the June issue of D Magazine, we published an open letter to Bobby Abtahi, who is in a runoff with Philip Kingston for the District 14 seat. The election is June 15. We went to press before it was known that a runoff would be required. Our letter:

Dear Mr. Abtahi:

Congratulations! We have to admit we had our doubts when you entered the race for Angela Hunt’s soon-to-be-vacated District 14 seat at the horseshoe. You seemed qualified enough, but we just couldn’t get past that name of yours. We didn’t think voters would go for it. Dallas has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go, you know? Cultural biases are a hard thing to shake. Given your name and all, you’ve got to know what we’re talking about. We mean, really, what adult goes by Bobby? Come on, man. You give that up with Transformers and juice boxes. (Unless you’re in a runoff, in which case there’s still time to call yourself Robert, like a man with a mortgage and a wife who gives you the side eyes when you crack open a second beer.) —THE EDITORS

Today we received a response from Abtahi. It reads:

Dear Editors,

I am both shocked and appalled by your publication’s ridicule of my name. Having grown up in Dallas, my name has always been a sore subject, and when a magazine with an esteemed reputation such as yours makes such culturally insensitive remarks, it gives me pause. I have always been a fan of your positive influence on the citizens of Dallas. It was your Timothy Rogers that taught us formal wear and coffee flavored tequila were not simply for a black tie event. It was your Zacharias Crain that taught us we could all learn something about passion and fortitude from the great Nicholas Van Exel. Through the years, I’ve had the misfortune of being referred to as Bob, Bobbie, and Bobbi. These are memories that I buried deep inside me and tried to ignore. I would like to think we live in a time when a name is simply a name, but I suppose we still have a long ways to go. Furthermore, I am more of a Thundercats kind of guy but still do on occasion enjoy a juice box. I’m sticking to my principles and will move forward in the runoff as Bobby Abtahi (plus we’ve spent a lot of money on yard signs).

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