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5 Pictures Explaining Racial Triangulation

“Asian people, stop using the N-word”

Last night, I went out in Bushwick, Brooklyn where I often fear to tread. Outside the bar, a White hipster transplant who was smoking weed says, “Fuck those n*gas” as the cops drove by.

Throughout my life, White folks have felt comfortable saying racist (overtly or coded) things about Black folks to or around me. As VICE messes itself over Asian Americans in hip hop (often not even making a hemispheric, much less national or ethnic distinction), focusing on the debate about cultural appropriation, regardless of you actually are part of that culture) — and the use of the N-word — this was totally particularly more f*cking unacceptable than usual to me.

This tatted hipster’s very existence is a daily reminder of the changing character, livability and sustainability of New York City’s neighborhoods under gentrification, white supremacy, and the economic abuse and exploitation of capitalism. I’m sure he probably has a few “Oriental” tattoos somewhere to match his faux prison tats as well. His liberal use of the N-word, the idea that he could, that I as an Asian American was somehow closer to his race and class consciousness — while dealing with so much anti Asian racism all the time — was enraging.

Still, his narcissistic assumption is the inevitable consequence of a system that always maintains White superiority (and American nationalism), inside and outside your mind. It was an important reminder of how triangulated I am against myths of Black cultural poverty and myths of Asian cultural excess. So here, in five images, racial triangulation and my night in Bushwick:

Figure 1. Claire Jean Kim’s 1990s racial triangulation model used to explain racialization on multiple axes that creates what Edward Said described as “flexible positional superiority, which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient”
Couldn’t find the source, but found this on a White supremacist Black-bashing misogynist website called USA SUPREME (similar to in effect, but not the same as, the streetwear brand/private mercenary invested company)
“Crazy Rich Asians” — creating a global model minority, while Asian American poverty, depression, suicide, violence against women climb
2016 NYC poverty rates. ABCNews
Bushwick Hipster peace out cuz they can! (Gothamist)



Urbanity Magazine is a media and educational project of Urbanity, LLC, a communications, change and culture consulting firm. Check out our aggregator for curated news, media and content by, for and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at urbanitymag.com.

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