In light of recent events, the white elephant in the room, the great scourge of postmodern society, can finally be addressed. Yes, I'm talking about Asian hipsters. What gives, man?
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but someone at Vice seems to like his yellow along with his second-hand fishnet jean jacket.
The whole hipster culture revolves around irony and a sort of post modern decoupling of symbols and meaning. Hence, they can wear a Mickey Mouse t-shirt while still arguing they are subverting the Disney megacorp. But it can be problematic to claim that symbols have no meaning, or at least can be easily decoupled from their given meaning. So just because you claim to have intentions of meaning to the contrary, actions and words can still carry racial weight.
As someone who happens to find himself often in San Francisco's Mission
District with members of the hipster subculture (I myself cannot be
one, as commenting on hipsters automatically disqualifies you from the
club), I have often noticed an extension of the mainstream racial
dichotomy in the subculture. Namely, I find that Asian hipster girls
are still sexualized, commodified and, dare I say it, "cutiefied."
Meanwhile, hipster Asian guys are relegated to the quirky nerd role
which, admittedly, in classic hipster style, many of them embrace.
Just as Levi's released the 511 super-skinny jean to go with the times, could it be that the hipster subculture has developed its own iteration of racism, perhaps masqueraded as something ironic in a strange sort of meta-way? It makes sense that, as an outgrowth of mainstream sensibilities and by definition borrowing heavily from mainstream symbols, hipsterdom could include old racist attitudes, repackaged and rebranded as they may be.
But hipster racism (indeed hipster sexism) isn't just a rebranding of old racial paradigms. It is a new, novel form of racism that, at worst, could possibly be resistant to critique because of the inherently blase nature of the subculture. Try to talk to an hipster about race, and you would likely get a nicely packaged race apology or perhaps a vacant stare and some kind of truism about how we're all one race.
Ach, and to think I actually like PBR.