Is calling her “Pumpkin” racist?

David McLoughlin has just made what I consider to be a very good post to a mailing list we are on:

Am I the only one whose parental hackles are raised by the media’s universal decision to call the three-year-old abandoned at Spencer St Station in Melbourne by her father, “Pumpkin” ?

This little girl has a name. She is Qian Xun Xue. The media all know this but reporters continue to insist her name is Pumpkin.

Why does our profession act like a pack and seize on a name like this?
It is not any name she is or has ever been called by her family and friends. It is a name the media has by osmosis decided she will be called, doubtless forever more. I find it quite dehumanising of her.

I wonder if her name was Sally or Susan or Kiri whether she would be called a vegetable.

I didn’t actually realise her actual name was known.  David is quite right that the moment her name was known, it should be used.

And while I am very wary about labelling anything racist, as that is far too often used as a device to close down debate, I have to say that I think there is a degree of that here – if her name was Susan Brown, rather than Qian Xun Xue, I suspect she would not be referred to as Pumpkin.

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