Kochiyama and Lee Boggs were far from the only Asian Americans who argued that Asian Americans should not stand alone or stand only for themselves.
To be Asian American is therefore paradoxical, for being Asian American is both necessary and insufficient.
Through my Asian-American studies courses and my fellow student activists of the Asian American Political Alliance, I was no longer a faceless part of an “Asian invasion.” I was an Asian American.
If we as Asian Americans choose the latter, we are indeed the model minority, and we deserve both its privileges and its perils.
Our challenge is to be both Asian American and to imagine a world beyond it, one in which being Asian American isn’t necessary.