Race & Culture

An examination of the racial and cultural lenses through which we experience our favorite geeky pastimes and the different perspectives that shape our interpretations.

How Being Raised to to Give 100 Percent Made Me the Fanatical Asian Nerd I Am

I’m a Cambodian American geek. As I’ve talked about before, this has had its challenges, like clashing with parents who thought my geek hobbies were a waste of time and money, but standing up for myself and what I liked also helped me develop a thick skin against criticism. Another way my upbringing was a benefit to my adult geekdom is that I was raised to give everything I have to anything I choose to do. Growing up, my...

How Being an Asian Geek Trained Me to Stand Strong against Criticism

I’m a Cambodian American. Technically we’ve been here before: in my debut article for Twin Cities Geek, “The Surprising Difficulty of Being a Cambodian American Geek,” I brought to light—for the first time publicly—my personal experiences, observations, and difficulties with dealing with antigeek hostility in my own ethnic community. The majority of experiences were due to conflicts between the older generation, who emigrated from Cambodia as a result of the Khmer Rouge, and the younger generation, who were born...

5 Things Not to Do When You Meet a Cosplayer of Color

CONvergence is here! And, just as with other cons, thousands of cosplayers will be sitting on and in panels, competing in games, hanging in the smoking area, and circling the party rooms. I’ve been going to conventions for many, many years, and while cons of all types have been getting better in numerous ways, one aspect still seems to be confusing for some of our fellow con-goers: interacting with cosplayers of color. As you can see in the photo...

Three More Reasons Why Wonder Woman Is an Important Movie

It wasn’t until about sixth or seventh grade that I realized that Wonder Woman was my absolute favorite superhero. Image Comics had just hit the scene, and the nerdier among us were spending as much time as we could at the comic shops reading, discussing, and debating the brand-new characters from a brand-new publisher and some of the biggest artists and writers in the industry. Like many geeky debates, we nitpicked, criticized, corrected, and teased each other’s opinions, all...

Everything You Need to Know about the Gallows Being Removed from the Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opened in 1988 as a joint project between the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. The public space features works by over 40 artists and is anchored by the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It has in turn helped inspire the development of other public art spaces like Millennium Park in Chicago and the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. Spoonbridge and other works, like Frank...

Twin Cities Playwright Duck Washington Reflects on a Caucasian-Aggressive Controversy

Derek “Duck” Washington is a local theater artist and fellow geek. He moved to the Minneapolis area in 1995 and has been doing theater here ever since, working in a variety of roles with Blackout Improv, Fearless Comedy, Vilification Tennis, and more. Besides theater, Duck geeks out over Star Wars (so much so that he says he keeps it in an IV in his arm so he can take it anywhere he goes) and Dungeons & Dragons (he was...

Gorillaz, Kendrick Lamar, and a Darker Chapter of Hip-Hop

This year is kicking into high gear with tunes that are more and more suited to the rainy bleak weather that’s been hanging around most of this spring. Kendrick Lamar’s Damn and Gorillaz’ Humanz exemplify this move into a darker, more self-aware theme that is emerging with artists of the hip-hop genre delving into deep emotional places. Spinning songs out of depression, rage, and the questioning of one’s place and legacy in the world. Damon Albarn of Gorillaz dances...

Please Stop Using Creators of Color to Defend Representation Problems

Once upon a time, there was a little girl in an all-pink bedroom who spent her Saturday mornings watching cartoons and eating multicolored cereal. One morning in particular was interrupted by an epic guitar riff and a battle for equality between humans and mutants. She was awestruck by the program, but what made her heart skip a beat was the appearance of a woman known as Storm: Mistress of the Elements. Up until that point, the girl hadn’t seen...

How Visions of Hope Unite the Works of J. R. R. Tolkien

Of all the common threads in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, I propose that the uniting theme is hope. It can be found in his popular works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as well as his more obscure writings like The Silmarillion and Morgoth’s Ring. If one were to assign a theology to his writings, it would be a Theology of Hope. It is a multifaceted hope, with trust as the foundation—the belief that...

The Northside Celebration from Capri Theater and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Is a Joy to Behold

Last night, in the auditorium at North Community High School, a gospel choir sang. A spoken-word poet recited a piece. A woman told a story. In between, a string quartet strummed their instruments, a woodwind quintet performed a couple of pieces, and a high schooler read a poem by one of his classmates. These disparate parts all came together as a wondrous whole to form the Northside Celebration, a collaboration between the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis and the...
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