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.

An Amazing Community of Refugee Geekery Lives in Minnesota

As you can imagine, Minnesota is about as far removed from life in tropical nations as you get—virtually an alien landscape. You try explaining ice fishing and lutefisk to people living along the Mekong. “What are grape nuts?” “Tell me about these foods-on-a-stick at the fair. Are they like chicken satay?” “You sculpt beauty queens with butter?” For some, connections between geeks and refugees aren’t intuitive. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to refugee resettlement, but approaching the 45 year anniversary of Lao...

Embracing the Special Creativity of Being a Solitary Geek

In my most recent article, I talked about how I developed an all-or-nothing attitude when it came to geekdom because of the way I was raised by my Cambodian parents. The downside to diving deep into my interests, though, is that I end up spending a lot of time alone—but even that has its perks. What kind of perks? The kind that lead to creativity. I mentioned in my previous article that my parents’ well-meaning, though misguided, overemphasis on...

The Latest Black Panther Trailer Is Us

By now, you likely have seen Marvel’s latest trailer for Black Panther—if you haven’t, I strongly recommend that you take a few minutes and rectify that immediately. The anticipation for this release is due as much to the gripping visuals and ensemble cast as it is to the fact that this is only Marvel’s second superhero film in which the primary protagonist is black (the first, of course, being the woefully overlooked and underrated Blade). It is shaping up...

Why the Minnesota Lynx Are More Than Just a Winning Team

I was born and raised in Packers country. I grew up a mile away from where the Milwaukee Brewers play their home games. and I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, where cheering for the Badgers is a way of life. So, as you might guess, I was trained to have disdain for any team with the word “Minnesota” in front of its name. That changed when I discovered the Minnesota Lynx. It happened in 2011, when the Lynx...

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...
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