Evelyn Yang, wife to New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, choked up on Tuesday as she slammed a New York Daily News cartoon depicting her husband as a tourist, calling the caricature “racist.”
“It’s not funny. It’s racist. It’s toxic,” Yang said at a press conference in Queens alongside her husband, adding that the cartoon “perpetuates the trope of the Asian foreigner.”
The Daily News cartoon depicted Yang as a tourist on a visit to Times Square, apparently a reference to Yang’s recent remark that the Times Square subway station is his favorite one.
Evelyn Yang appeared to be on the verge of tears as she added that, “it’s very hard to explain this to our children,” the couple’s two young sons. Yang said she was “born and raised in Queens” and met and married her husband in the city. The couple had both their sons in New York City as well, she said.
“Every time you make a joke about Andrew not being a New Yorker, you are telling Asian-Americans that they don’t belong,” she said.
“Not only does this dehumanize Asians, it promotes racism against them,” Yang said. “What message does this send to all the Asians who are afraid to go outside?”
Yang first criticized the cartoon Monday on Twitter, slamming it as a “racist disfiguration” of her husband.
— Bill Bramhall (@BillBramhall) May 24, 2021
I can’t believe my eyes. 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%. #StopAsianHate https://t.co/pJ7JqxCUec
— Evelyn Yang (@EvelynYang) May 24, 2021
“I can’t believe my eyes,” she wrote in a tweet Monday evening. “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%. #StopAsianHate.”
She added another tweet comparing the Daily News cartoon with another cartoon showing an offensive stereotype of an Asian person named “Chin-kee” with yellow-tinted skin and slanted eyes, wearing traditional Chinese clothing, and saying “HARRO AMELLICA!” as a hotel bellhop carries his “luggage,” Chinese food take-out containers.
“Which one is from 2021,” Yang asked.
The original version of the Daily News cartoon, tweeted out Monday by the paper’s editorial cartoonist Bill Bramhall, showed Yang’s eyes as slits. The published version of the cartoon gave Yang only slightly more visible eyes.
Violent attacks on Asian Americans in New York City have spiked sharply this year over last year. Asians were the targets of at least 80 hate crimes in the city from the beginning of the year through April 4, up from only 16 over the same period last year, according to New York Police Department data.
Overall in 2020, the NYPD recorded 28 hate crimes against Asians. In 2019, only three attacks were recorded in the city. According to NYPD officials, some of the attacks on Asian-Americans were spurred by anti-Asian sentiment resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China.
Yang, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, is currently considered a frontrunner in the New York City mayoral race, alongside Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president.