I’ve come to realize that these labels have existed more for others than for me. When I visit Korea and people notice that my tongue is “crooked” as one person has pointed out to me, they call me “gyopo”, a word Koreans use to describe Koreans who grew up outside of Korea. So even though I feel the most comfortable in Korea in the sense that I share a history and culture with those around me, I am not “Korean Korean” as gyopos say. When I lived in Georgia, people would remark at how well I spoke English. No accent at all. To them, I was Asian. Once, even Oriental. Asian Americans have been labeled the “model minority” because we weren’t supposed to disrupt this dominant narrative created by mainstream society, but it’s all been unraveling how harmful and marginalizing this label has been for us. This false narrative has been used as a tool to manipulate the dynamics between Asian Americans and Black Americans and it’s being used to create unreasonable expectations from members of our community. Labels can be marginalizing but they can also be liberating. Identities are empowering if they are on your own terms. I am glad that discussions are happening around how we use words, which essentially become ideas, on the terms of those who want to represent themselves.