Andrew Yang Is at War With the New York Daily News Over a “Racist” Cartoon

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    Andrew Yang Is at War With the New York Daily News Over a “Racist” Cartoon

    On Monday evening, Andrew Yang’s wife Evelyn had some choice words for the New York Daily News. “I can’t believe my eyes,” she tweeted. “To publish this racist disfiguration of @AndrewYang as a tourist, in NYC where I was born, where Andrew has lived for 25 years, where our boys were born, where 16% of us are Asian and anti-Asian hate is up 900%.” She was referring to a cartoon by Bill Bramhall showing Yang, currently a frontrunner in New York City’s mayoral race, stepping off the Time Square subway stop while a couple of New Yorkers eye him and one remarks to the other, “the tourists are back.” (In an interview with pop-culture phenom Ziwe that aired Sunday, Yang, who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, called the Times Square subway stop his favorite in the city because it was the closest to his home.)

    Evelyn Yang’s criticisms were echoed by the AAPI Victory Alliance, an Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy and civil rights organization, which condemned the depiction as “disgusting and wrong. Every single day Asian Americans have to fight the notion that we are foreigners. We are here and we’re not going anywhere,” the group added. “That’s why AAPI representation like [Yang] is so important. Do better @NYDailyNews.” 

    The candidate himself addressed the cartoon in a press conference on Tuesday, linking it to the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in the city and elsewhere around the country. (The advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate compiled data documenting nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents over the course of about a year during the pandemic.) “Hate is tearing our city apart, and we need it to stop,” he said. “There are those who characterize some of us as being more New York than others, as if some of us belong here more than other people. And I am here to say that that is wrong—none of us is more New York than anyone else.… This is a city for everyone.… And the fact is that Asian Americans have certainly felt what it’s like to be cast as not belonging, as not New York, as not American.”

    Evelyn Yang said the couple had “contacted the Daily News. We told them this is unacceptable. This is racist. This perpetuates the trope of the perpetual Asian foreigner.” In response, Daily News editorial page editor Josh Greenman vouched for the tabloid’s depiction. “Andrew Yang is a leading contender to be mayor of New York City, and as commentators, his opponents and the News editorial board have recently pointed out, he’s recently revealed there are major gaps in his knowledge of New York City politics and policy,” Greenman said. “Bill Bramhall’s cartoon is a comment on that, period, end of story. This is not a racial stereotype or racist caricature.” While Greenman acknowledged the negative reaction to how “Yang’s eyes were drawn” and noted that Bramhall has since “altered the drawing out of sensitivity to those concerns,” he reaffirmed that they still “stand by” the cartoon. 

    As the Democratic primary draws nearer, there are real questions about whether Yang’s gaffes that ostensibly make him an awkward fit for the city—including filming a love letter to bodegas in what may or may not have been a grocery store and insulting a room full of LGBTQ Democrats—will reverberate at the polls. So far, though, his missteps only appear to have worked to cement his name recognition in a race that features opponents with significantly smaller profiles. “For now, [Yang’s mistakes] are generating him outsized media attention (of which this piece is an example) and putting his name at the top of the credits,” noted James Poniewozik in a Tuesday New York Times piece. “It is the sort of feeding frenzy in which it is not always clear who is being eaten and who is doing the eating. One person’s bait, these days, is another person’s meal.”

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    Published at Tue, 25 May 2021 21:56:00 +0000

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