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Why are many Asian-American women named Connie?

“When I was little, I was convinced that bearing the name Connie Chung made me unique… and so I taught others.” In a long interactive article published by New York Times, journalist Connie Wang describes what she calls the “Connie Generation”: women who owe their first name to Connie Chung, the first Asian-American journalist to anchor an evening newscast in the United States.

It is customary for descendants of Chinese immigrants to the United States to choose a Western-sounding first name in addition to their birth name. Arriving there at the age of three, the author of the article explains that her choice was obvious. Her name shall be Connie, “like the beautiful ‘ayi’ [tante] as we see on TV”.

Later, on her first day of college, she hears someone call out the name “Connie Wang”, but eventually learns that it is not her who is being called out. So she starts looking for all the young women called “Connie” on her campus. Surprise: she encounters a Connie Zheng, a Connie Guo, a Connie Xu, several Connie Chengs, and many Connie Wangs. “For years I believed that my first name had a special history. Little did I suspect that it was an entire generation’s“, she confides.

“Culture Shock”

Born in the United States to a family originally from China, Connie Chung became the first Asian-American and second woman to host a major weekday news program. She appears nightly with Dan Rather to present international news to Americans. Because of her background, many Asian parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1970s decided to name their daughters “Connie” in hopes that they would be known. “same success as her”.

“Their children have all been raised with the dreams, worries and aspirations that come from deep culture shock. But the names these parents gave their children represent so many different approaches to dealing with that shock.”

For the purpose of this article is New York Times invited Connie Chung along with ten other women called “Connie” to pose for a photo shoot. The writer, Connie Wang, unfortunately could not join the group, stranded at the other end of the country. “It was only after listening to the recordings from that day that I truly understood that we had inadvertently caused a very powerful moment”remembers the journalist.



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