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.

Klingons, Gender, and Disability on the Feast of the Long Night

The concept of transformative works is not new; it dates back as far as history goes. Typical examples include the Gospels (written hundreds of years after the life of the historical figure of Jesus) and Dante’s Divine Comedy (a self-insert version of the author palling around with his favorite poet, Virgil). In the 20th century we have Sherlock Holmes fans writing their own eccentric-genius stories (the Baker Street Irregulars through Laurie King), Star Trek fans writing licensed tie-ins and...

At a Crossroads between Art and Science, GLITCH Finds a Place to Thrive

At the corner of Riverside and 19th Avenue in Minneapolis, nestled above the recently reopened Viking Bar, sits the center of operations and home of the GLITCH family. Ascending the steps into the newly renovated suite housing the organization, I was instantly greeted by the cozy and open space comprising hardwood floors, brick walls, large windows, comfortable furniture, and scores of games—both digital and hobby—stacked on shelves surrounding a large television and entertainment center. I was then welcomed by...

Disney’s Coco Is a Victory for Mexicans Everywhere

When I first saw the news about Disney/Pixar’s plans to make a movie set in Mexico and based around the Day of the Dead, I was cautiously optimistic. On the one hand, after two too many movies about cars, it was about time they made a movie about at least part of who I am. On the other, I hoped they wouldn’t make a joke or a mockery out of the culture with the movie. I’m happy to say...

The Importance of Empathy in the Geek Community

If you’ve been following my writing on this site lately, you’ll have read about how I’ve turned some of the negativity I’ve faced for being a geek to my advantage—last time, I talked about the silver linings of spending a lot of time by myself. But as cool as all that may be, probably the most important thing I’ve learned about being a geek is this: being a marginalized group, empathy and compassion in our community is hugely important....

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...
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