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  • Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    Paper sons...

    Being involved in the Asian American community here in DC, I've learned a lot about the histories of other Asian American communities...  But, unfortunately, most communities' immigration stories do not get told beyond that community, which is why this article in the NYT was not only good to read but also good to see.

    I know many Chinese Americans who have introduced themselves to me, saying something along the lines of... "My name is John Lee, but it's really Chen."  Or, s/he has two different names on her/his business card -- on the English side, it says, e.g., "John Lee" but the Chinese characters on the back read "Chen".  Because someone up the ancestral line was a paper son.

    Interesting stuff.  I don't think there's an analogous history in the Japanese American community.  We don't have "paper sons".  Maybe because the numbers of immigrants were smaller?  I don't know.

    And on a tangentially related note, here's another story about an Asian and American names...

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