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Cultural Identity Through My Name(s) This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By Dongeun (., Davis, CA

She fumbled with a rhinestone button on her purple cardigan, and then brought the pen cap to her mouth before breaking the silence.

“Dongeun?” she said, waiting for a hand to shoot up in the air. I raised my arm halfway and said, quietly,


“You can just call me Jane,” I added loudly.

“That makes things a lot easier,” the substitute teacher muttered, marking a check next to my name.

Dongeun, pronounced Dong-Un, is the first name printed on my Louisiana birth certificate, my passport, and the school roll-call sheet. I've heard many ­variations of my name, ­including my favorite, Don-Joon, which makes me sound French.

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