Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang on Tuesday hit back at the NY Daily News’ claim that its cartoon depicting him as a tourist visiting Times Square is not about his race — saying it clearly plays on anti-Asian tropes.
“I think anyone objective looking at that cartoon knows that it’s playing on any idea of Asian Americans as permanent tourists and outsiders,” Yang — a top-tier mayoral contender whose parents immigrated from Taiwan — said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“The Daily News simply characterizing it as simply a political commentary that does not include race just rings false.”
The cartoon came after Yang named Times Square as his favorite subway station in a Sunday interview that went viral online.
Asked if there was no “legitimate” way to depict that, Yang argued that “the cartoon does not work if it’s a person of a different race.”
Josh Greenman, the paper’s Editorial Board page editor, has defended the comic by arguing that it was pointing out the candidate’s lack of familiarity with Big Apple “politics and policy,” and wasn’t about his race. Yang, who has lived in the city for 25 years, has never voted in a mayoral election.
Still, the paper changed the original version of the cartoon to enlarge Yang’s eyes.
On Tuesday, his wife, Evelyn Yang, broke down in tears while calling the cartoon “toxic” and “racist.”
“Not only does this dehumanize Asians, it promotes racism against them,” she said at a press conference in Queens.
On Thursday, Yang argued the cartoon was particularly offensive because of the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
“We’re at point in our history, unfortunately, where Asian Americans are getting beaten on the streets of New York and told to go back to where we came from or don’t belong,” he said.
He explained that Times Square is his favorite subway station simply because he lives close by.
“I said Times Square was my favorite subway stop, because I live blocks away in Hell’s Kitchen, and use those subway stop to get around the city,” he said on CNN.
“It actually goes just about everywhere in the city, because there are so many lines that converge there.”