CLOSE TO HOME; Wait, You’re Not Chinese?
People sometimes take offense when they discover that I am not Chinese, as if I were engaged in a form of false advertising.Pari Chang, The New York Times
I RECENTLY married and took my husband’s name: Chang. I am white and I am Jewish and now I am Chinese — at least on paper. I grew up on 1970’s feminism; I went to law school, became a professional, and always imagined I would keep my birth name to celebrate my selfhood. Yet when I married a Chinese man, I realized that I could support our marriage best by changing my name to his.
Hyphenation was an option, but hyphenated names often create a cumbersome jingle. In my case, Berk-Chang. It sounded like a stomach ailment (”I’ve been in the bathroom all night with the Berk-Changs”). I thought of keeping my birth name but did not want the burden of repeatedly explaining, ”My husband is Chinese, you know.” As my wedding day approached, I decided to take Chang as my last name and, by adding ”Asian” to ”woman” and ”Jew,” represent three groups at once…read more here.