Our internal e-mail lists have us discussing all kinds of stuff: Asian American identity, representation in the media, the experiences of activism in an academia setting and its progression as we transition to the working, adult world. And sometimes, we talk about Yung Wing, the first known Chinese American to graduate from an American University. Yale, no less; bet his parents had something to brag about. Then watch as the conversation descends into how awesome the name Ezekiel is. All this, after the jump!
Ernie: History, know thyself: meet Yung Wing, the first known Chinese American to graduate from an American University. (Note: to ASA majors this may be obvious, but I didn’t know this.)
Akrypti: Wow, that is one well-assimilated dude.
Joz: This guy sounds like a total overachiever! He was even a personal friend of Mark Twain and corresponded regularly with him. But, for the record, Yung Wing nearly failed out of college despite having an excellent command of English (See second point.)
Moye: And…of course he went to an Ivy, was a frat bro and married a white woman. Is there anything he didn’t do that people still have issues over today?
Tina: Wow, now that was a guy stuck in between.
Efren: I totally remember reading about this guy when I did Asian Am back in the day, and how he was one of the few Chinese in the 1800s who were able to get citizenship until the government took that away…
John: Wow, the guy is buried in Hartford, CT – not that far (35 miles or so) from where I grew up. I wonder if he still has any descendants in the U.S.
Ernie: He does have those two kids, Morrison Brown Yung and Bartlett Golden Yung. Which are, by the way, THE COOLEST NAMES EVER. If I ever have a gayby I’m naming it Ezekiel Hawthorne Hsiung.
Moye: EZEKIEL!! EZEEEEEEEEEEEKIEL!!!!
Efren: My ex’s brother has a son named Ezekiel, and we both thought, “damn, you really hate that kid.” Can you imagine a Chinese immigrant trying to say “Ezekiel???”
Min Jung: “Eeeeejeeeeekeeeeeyeeeehrl! Why you get just A on calcuoorus testuh? Where eese the prus. Mustuh be A prus!”
Moye: This totally reminds me of this old anime series called Georgie that I used to watch when I was small. The story took place in Australia and featured two brothers that they would call “Asa” and “A-be-ru” and it took me like 10 years to realize that the real names were “Arthur” and “Abel.” I can’t even imagine what Ezekiel would sound like.