This column by Frances Wang reminded me of when I was in grade school. There was a Chinese/Japanese American family whose kids were a year and three years behind me. They were called the Hsiehs. For some reason, no one could manage the closest approximation to correct pronunciation, which would have been "sheh" like "chef" without the "f"; everyone called them the "Shays". This drove me nuts, and I remember correcting children and adults alike, and trying to get them to say "shed without the 'd'." And let's not even get into how they mangled the kids' Chinese and Japanese first names. Argh. (It's worth noting that the Hsieh kids themselves didn't bother correcting people.)
Nowadays I offer admiration to the parents who held fast with hard-to-pronounce names, while admitting to puzzlement that they didn't give their kids Euro nicknames for daily use. It was the seventies, after all, and those were common tactics. My family took the usual Hong Kong route of giving us European names and Chinese names, so we could use whichever was appropriate in whichever space (although none of my Chinese relatives has ever used my Chinese name. They just call me Ah-Clai-ah.) Other tactics I've seen include giving kids an Asian name that is similar to recognizable Euro-American names, or giving the kids a Euro first name and an Asian second name.
Of course, I also lived abroad in China and Germany for extended periods of my life, and my Euro-American name was relentlessly mispronounced in both places (though in China I mostly used my Chinese name) and that didn't bother me at all; in fact, I found it rather charming. Maybe that's because in China and Germany I was a foreigner, and felt myself to be one, so to have local inhabitants misprounce my obviously foreign name wasn't a problem. But at home, having your fellow Americans treat your name as foreign may point to a deeper sense that you and your family are viewed as permanently foreign. Maybe.
What about you? What strategies did your family employ to make it easy for people to call your name? Or did they just expect the world to suck it up and get it right? And if/when people misprounouce your name, what do you do? Do you let it slide? Do you correct them? Does it depend on your relationship with the person? And does it bother you if/when people mispronounce your name? Why or why not?
As always, be polite, don't insult anyone, don't curse. Please try to stick to personal experience and avoid stereotypes. Do tell!