Suey Park Twitter Talk Blows Up: #NotYourAsianSidekick Sparks Discussion, Debate Over Asian-American Stereotypes

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Updated Tuesday, 10:00 a.m.:

A representative for Suey Park sent a statement in which Park explained that the hashtag emerged from her frustration with Asian-American spaces framing success as social recognition from white heteropatriarchy.

“I do not see myself represented in white feminism, where a ‘seat at the table’ [is] equivalent to being a token of diversity,” Park said. “In Asian American spaces, I have been disappointed by the narrow ways in which we define Asian American and who we leave behind. #NotYourAsianSidekick is a new space in which those of us marginalized and silenced in Asian American circles get to tell our stories.”

Original Post:

A viral hashtag that sparked a dialogue about feminism, empowerment, homophobia and racial stereotypes in the Asian-American community continued to gain steam on Twitter and Facebook Monday after trending for more than 24 hours over the weekend.

The hashtag, #NotYourAsianSidekick, was started by Suey Park, who identifies herself as a freelance writer and graduate student on her Twitter profile. On Saturday evening, Park posted to Twitter and Facebook that she planned to use the hashtag to host a conversation about various issues affecting the community:

“I’ll be hosting a conversation using #NotYourAsianSidekick tomorrow morning go discuss Asian American feminism, stereotypes, myths, pressing issues, masculinity, cross-ethnic coalitions building, diversity within AAPI, immigrant experiences, generational clashes and more! Please join me and spread the word!”

The hashtag and ensuing conversations took off, and then some, with Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders tweeting out some of the stereotypes that they face at home, at work, in relationships, in the media and elsewhere. Throughout the day on Sunday, the hashtag was the top trending topic on Twitter. Many Twitter users said it is a conversation that is long overdue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conversations took a polarizing turn as some Twitter users accused Park of spreading racial intolerance toward whites.

 

 

Supporters of the hashtag didn’t see it that way.

 

Park later tweeted that some Twitter users had created troll accounts in order to hurl racial slurs and rape threats. She accused “white supremacists” of co-opting and derailing the conversation, and said she intended the hashtag to be a “safe space” for Asian-Americans to discuss issues affecting them.

 

 

Despite attempts at derailment, tweets and Facebook posts continued to pour in as of Monday afternoon. While the hashtag is inspiring conversations about a myriad of issues, it’s safe to say that some tweeters missed the point entirely.

 

Park did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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