When I was a kid growing up, I wished I were named Smith instead of Wu. I wished I were named Smith, because I believed that if that were the case then I would not face teasing and taunting, the childhood cruelties of the playground. Of course, I had an “American” first name. My parents, immigrants from China, had given me that name, but they used another name at home. They made the distinction between public and private, because they understood how important it was to assimilate. Other Asian American children were assigned a name by a teacher who likely believed herself to be doing the kid a favor. Or they announced to their elders that they were choosing their own nickname in an act of American rebellion.