A Ferguson Bifurcation

“In Boyles’ piece on revolution in Ferguson, we see personal case studies that depict the continued systemic deprivation that disproportionately denigrates the Black community.”

After our class discussion I could not help but continue my thoughts on the dichotomy between Black Lives Matter and climate change’s Sunrise movement. Although different by nature, both movements were not created equal, and conjure interesting revolutions, and even more interesting revolutionaries. Apart from the obvious dichotomy concerning race, the two movements contrast when considering their levels of Urban participation. Oftentimes the media plays a large role in the association of violence among movements led by POC, a clear example of this is Black Lives Matter, while movements like Sunrise are encouraged and praised for their peaceful strength. So why is violence equated with the Urban setting, while peace is equated with that of suburbia? In many ways, this stems back to a systemic rhetoric that has plagued black bodies for centuries with separation, slavery, segregation, etc. In my discussion question I asked “how does being Black (or POC) converge with being a revolutionary” and “Why has there only been one successful slave rebellion throughout the history of colonializaton?” I find that these questions become so much more compelling when considering the racialized context that is projected onto Urbanism. Its as if the word “Urban” has been coded into an idea of race rebellion.

The publicity circling the Sunrise movement is filled with quotes from Greta Thunberg and young children holding signs that read “STOP stealing my future.” During the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement it was not uncommon to see a dead or beaten body on the sidewalk. Its impossible to not see the contrast… especially when a movement is called something as cheery as Sunrise. While the Black Lives Matter movement has many faces, it does not have a Greta Thunberg and it certainly does not have a TIMES person of the year recipient. Who gets to represent these movements? They are certainly chosen, the question is how? Black Lives Matter does not have smiling children holding signs…it has dead ones playing on their front lawns. That is the harrowing truth. The Sunrise movement, although relatively new, has taken the world by storm on a global scale, which is interesting when we consider the bubble that the suburb often enforces. The Black Lives Matter movement, although supported by many, was pretty exclusive to the United States due to its history of complex racial issues. So why is it that a movement conflated with the suburbs has become a much more global phenomenon than a movement stemming from multi-million population metropolises. How is it that the Sunrise movement has gained a sense of popularity and acceptance that the Black Lives Matter movement hasn’t achieved, despite having to create multiple movements throughout history.

I dont mean to compare these two movements, as both are important and necessary, but I’m going to be honest; that to me, one is a bit more necessary than the other. And while being comparative may seem like I’m placing the importance of one above another, the alternative fails to see the nuance of both movements.



Sex and the City: The Emergence of Asian Ascendancy

Right before Thanksgiving Break, I connected the chapters we read in class from Willow Lung-Amam’s Trespassers on Asian American ethnoburbs to that week’s readings on Vietnam’s influence in the global sex market from Kimberly Hoang’s Dealing in Desire. My expert question focuses on the disadvantages Vietnamese Americans encounter in the United States and the privileges they attain by participating in Vietnam’s prodigious sex industry. Furthermore, I ask how Vietnam’s sex industry which sits at the forefront of the countries largest city and tourist attraction, Ho Chi Minh City (HMIC) is utilized to assert the rise of Eastern (more specifically South East and East Asian) dominance in the global market, as well as dismantle Western hegemonic patriarchy. Students and Prof. Greene had the opportunity to interact with the question the days following vacation. In Dealing in Desire, Western businessmen express Vietnams sex industry as “a performance.” Prof. Greene expanded on this in class when he discussed “cynical” and “sincere” performance. Greene described sincere performances as a performance that is true to the actor and the actor is trying to convey to the audience while a cynical performance is one that is not true to the actor, but the actor is trying to convey as true to the audience. This made me think of the excerpts we read for class. Hoang illustrates how many of the sex workers at the clubs come from impoverished areas but are able to portray upper-middle-class and wealthy statues through the ways they interact with businessmen and the forms of physical capital they own like luxury phones. This performance that they are putting on is cynical because the sex workers know that they are not from a stable high class, but they must constantly put on the performance since they’re constantly interacting with people that are of wealthier classes. A few students provided their own interpretations of performances from the readings we discussed this week. For instance, a student about how Viet Kieus who came to Vietnam to participate in the sex industry have to show that they are “Vietnamese enough” (although many of them are accustomed to diasporic Vietnamese culture) and that Vietnam is thriving and globalized enough to be a leading nation in the global market. 

Moreover, sex workers give themselves agency over their bodies through the performances where they reassert patriarchal dominance. I find it interesting because it is paradoxical. For instance, the sex workers do things like clink their drinks below the cups of the businessmen and make them feel special. In doing this women can use their bodies as a site of transaction to attain capital. A student in class described it as, “Vietnamese sex workers act like women so men can take up the role of ‘a man.’” This left me asking, how do these women redefine feminism by using the very same institutional practices that marginalize them? Many Western feminists would find this dangerous, but these Vietnamese sex workers have proved otherwise. Also, I found it intriguing how Vietnamese businessmen were able to use real banknotes instead of credit cards in these sex lounges to establish dominance over Western businessmen. I began thinking broadly about the few collapses the American economy has faced this decade. It left me questioning how might the renewal of urban spaces in America using credit lead to the collapse of the American economy and hegemony? How are Vietnamese men using their banknote capital to undermine Westerners in their high attracting tourist cities? Ultimately, is this a performance that they’re putting on truly becoming a reality? 


In our final class, we reflected on the Boyles reading and connected themes from this reading to themes from the entire semester. I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion. Our discussion about black heterogeneity really stuck out to me. Boyles went to great lengths to make clear the heterogeneity of black identity. This goes all the way back to our talk about black heterogeneity while discussing W.E.B. DuBois. It is concerning that issues of black homogeneity still exist today and that we can relate to DuBois’s emphasis on black heterogeneity even today. It concerns me that people today still categorize people of color in one group and the issues it creates within a minority group. For example, middle and upper black people try to distinguish themselves from lower class black people so they themselves are not seen as “dirty” or as “criminals.”


The idea of riots as a concept of place making also intrigued me in our discussion on Wednesday. This raises the questions: who has rights to the city? In my opinion, the residents have the rights to the city and it is the job of city officials and law enforcement to meet the needs of these residents. Instead, what we see in the case of Ferguson is that the police hyper police the residents, most of whom are black residents, by being unnecessarily rough and implementing rules such as the five second rule. Instead of policing to protect residents and to gain their trust, residents lose faith in their law enforcement and see them as enemies. In class we talked about hyper policing and the broken windows theory, which is highly relevant in the case of Ferguson. Ferguson is a poor suburb with a majority black population, therefore there are plenty of broken windows, per say. According to this theory, the destruction makes Ferguson seem like an unsafe place, which relates to the hyper policing in the neighborhood. Hyper policing makes residents feel as though they do not have control or claim over their own neighborhood and make them feel as if they are constantly doing something wrong. Therefore, rioting is a way for residents to take claim to their own neighborhood by destroying it. 


In class, we contemplated whether rioting is, in a sense, an example of a pop up. Pops up occur spontaneously and riots, in a sense, do as well. In the case of Ferguson, the riots that followed were spontaneous after Mike Brown’s death. All it took was a spark, one more unjust death, for the people to take the streets. I can’t help to compare the spontaneity of the Ferguson riots to the calculating planning of the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the arrest of Rosa Parks was a calculated decision on behalf of Dr. King. The arrest served as a spark for the Montgomery bus boycotts, just as Mike Brown’s death was a spark for the Ferguson protests. Dr. King theorized that riots occur because the people feel unheard and have no other option but to resort to violent protest. The people of Ferguson felt unheard by their officials and attacked by the police, ultimately leading in violent protest.

Power, Privilege, and Placemaking

For last Wednesday’s class, we read Professor Greene’s “Queer Street Families: Place-making and Community Among LGBT Youth of Color in Iconic Gay Neighborhoods” as well as Chapter 5 of Douglas’ The Help Yourself City. Both pieces addressed the idea of how (under)privileged identities operate in urban spaces. I found the contrast between urban DIYers’ tactics for placemaking and the misrecognition of black individuals engaging in similar practices, as Professor Greene mentioned in relation to his article, to be particularly fascinating. Many often praise urban DIYers’ efforts to revitalize cities as novel and exciting. As we discussed, even the most risky installations–such as a swing beneath railroad tracks or speed bumps that alter natural traffic flows–can garner positive attention. In this way, as Douglas describes, individuals who engage in DIY urbanism must possess a certain level of privilege to even be able to engage in these practices in the first place (Douglas 1). This idea came up during our discussion when Professor Greene explained Rios’ concept of “misrecognition.” This process occurs when one misconstrues another’s actions as negative based on assumption about the person, rather than evidence regarding their behavior. We discussed examples of this phenomenon such as “Starbucksing while Black” or “Barbecuing while Black” as well as white passersby in Boystown thinking a black “homo-thug” couple was straight. Though black individuals may attempt to engage in DIY urbanism by, as per an example from class, hosting a barbecue in a public park, they might not be allowed the same leniency as whites in their placemaking efforts because others might misrecognize their actions.

Another large topic of discussion during Wednesday’s class surrounded the idea of power dynamics in urban spaces. When a group challenges a community norm, who decides whether the practice is actually legitimate? Typically, as Douglas would likely argue, those in the community who hold social capital and political power would do so. Hyra’s notion of “black branding” exemplifies this idea. This process occurs when gentrifiers purposefully align a neighborhood with its historical black culture or exploit aspects that may feel more dangerous and exciting. In doing so, gentrifiers exert power by deciding which elements of the neighborhood are valuable. White newcomers legitimate certain elements of black culture by deeming them “authentic” or particularly urban (Hyra 79). Clearly, neighborhood power dynamics influence the ways in which communities may go about placemaking.

My expert question asked about how privilege factors into the ability of queer youth of color to “physically [impose] their values on” Boystown (Douglas 116). As mentioned in class, the marginalized identities of this group present a great deal of challenges in establishing themselves as community members. Even the act of sitting in a coffeeshop becomes complicated when others assume the QYOC does not belong, as in the case of Sammy (Greene 177). QYOCs oppose this suppression by forming their own unique “street-corner culture” (Greene 172). After our conversation on Wednesday I am still wondering about a question that Professor Greene posed: can QYOCs’ street-corner culture classify as a form of DIY urbanism? Would this classification complicate Douglas’ belief that DIYing is typically reserved for more privileged members of a community?

“Pathology” as a Creative Force

I thoroughly enjoyed the readings (“Queer Street Families: Place-making and community among LGBT youth of color in iconic gay neighborhoods” and Chapter 5 of The Help Yourself City) from today’s lecture. Professor Greene discusses how queer youths of color experience discrimination and isolation from the predominately white, gay community in Boystown, Chicago, Boystown, Chicago is significant because it is supposed to be a space where people of the LGBTQ community could go if they are seeking spaces to “freely express their gendered and sexual selves” (Greene, 168). However, queer youths of color would enter a space where they thought they could freely expresses themselves, but were surprise and frustrated when they still experienced backlash from the community.

This backlash led LGBT youths of color to create “queer street families,” which is actually similar to, “street-corner culture traditionally associated with black and Latinx urban spaces” (Greene, 170). In other words, this street culture is developed from not being welcome by the hegemonic group. In Professor Greene’s example, the “queer street families” were comprised of LGBT youths of colors who were predominately criticized and bullied by older, white gay individuals.

The first question I proposed was “Reflect on groups you observe and/or interact with in your communities. How are they/their experiences similar to the “queer street families” discussed in the chapter? What are these groups’ versions of “street families?”” This questioned was stemmed from a personal anecdote about when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school on the tennis team. During our off days, we would play basketball and the upperclassmen would never let the underclassmen play so we would create our own “street corner culture” by playing a separate game on the side. We made this game our own and were extremely passionate about it, but it only started because we are pushed away from the hegemonic group (upperclassmen on the tennis team).

Then, Professor Greene joined the conversation saying he brings in “street corner culture” when he is teaching such as when he curses, talks about drinking, or adds daily humor to class. Although this may be approved by students it can be disapproved by faculty and staff and create a “street corner culture” for Professor Greene and other faculty who teachers like him. This led to other discussions and examples of “street corner culture” like  Parkour and even when  “hanging out outside 7-11.”

Later in the chapter, Professor Greene discusses his interactions with Sammy at a coffee shop. When Sammy walked into a coffee stop, he felt uncomfortable because the employees and other customers felt like he may cause harm because of his appearance- he felt like a scapegoat. Directly, he noted, “his youth and appearance often seem to signal to workers and other customers that he is causing trouble” (Greene, 177-178). The question I asked was, “Can you think of any personal examples in which you have felt like Sammy, or had a similar experiences (was blamed for felt blamed for things you do not do)?” because this relates to my summer job where I would work with analysts and sometimes when I met with more senior members at the firm and there were errors on our PowerPoint, I would be blamed just because of my age- even if I did not do anything wrong.

This led to a discussion where a student discussed how a CVS pharmacy at their town center forced students to leave the backpacks outside because they were afraid they would steal things. This was interesting because the company made an assumption about all students and punished everyone under a certain age. It’s also important to note that children can still steal if they wanted (put snacks in their pockets), so the plan wouldn’t work if someone actually wanted to steal something. This discussion of age and pre-existing judgements is interesting especially because students are entering the workforce soon and will start on the ‘bottom of the totem pole.’

Community Disorder and Social Ties

I loved the class discussion that we had on Wednesday, as it was a nice way to end the semester and summarize the topics we’ve covered in class. After reading Andrea S. Boyles’s You Can’t Stop the Revolution, I was left with several questions. Boyles writes of the word “blackness” as having a negative connotation throughout history. She notes that newspaper articles describing the wrongful killing of Michael Browne include the words “it” and “daemon” when referencing him. Her point was particularly alarming to me. In the media, blacks (young black men) are continuously linked to criminality; Trayvon wore his hoodie, and newspaper articles highlight the “shady” background of these men as if it justifies their deaths. Boyles alludes to “feeding drugs” to inner city predominantly black neighborhoods. These arguments reminded me of the Sharkey and Massey/ Denton readings on white flight, segregation, and the formation of the inner city that we did earlier in the semester. When considering racism and injustice in cities, we should reflect on their origins. I have always thought that race is a social construction, which means that institutional racism was created as a means of social control. In Sharkey’s reading, he notes that cities were hubs where inequality thrived. The poor, racially diverse, and migrants would often live in the center where they could commute to work. By contrast, the wealthier white individuals would live on the outskirts of the city to escape its dirtiness. Similarly, later readings like the one by Massey and Denton describe the phenomenon known as white flight. Discriminatory housing policies would determine the racial makeup of cities. Realtors worked to exclude African Americans and “other” minorities through housing covenants. Whites flew to the suburbs at the arrival of a black family. Together, these events had devastating effects. “Blackness” is now associated with criminality. Blacks are much more likely to be incarcerated than whites for committing the same crime. Additionally, the War on Drugs led to the massive incarceration of young black men for minor drug offenses. Now, the United States is the leading country in prisons. I watched a Netflix documentary called 13th in which the director Ava Duvernay makes the bold claim that modern prisons are “a new form of slavery.” One possibility for the criminalization of young black men is society feels threatened by their presence and seeks to control black bodies. To exercise control over black youth, society then criminalizes them. Our cities are spaces where  black youths are not safe. However, they can also be spaces for bonding together. My questions are: how has the term “blackness” created the conditions for wrongful shooting of black men? How does Society control black bodies, and why? Why does the media portray young black men as individuals to be feared? In other words, why link young black men with criminality? And finally, how can these effects be mitigated? How do communities come together to fight oppression and find order in chaos?


Insurgent Urbanism: Creating Alternate Practices

In his book The Help-Yourself City: Legitimacy and Inequality in DIY Urbanism, Gordan C.C. Douglas explores the contemporary phenomenon of “do-it-yourself urban design.” Douglas defines DIY urban design as “small-scale and unauthorized yet intentionally function and civic-minded physical interventions aimed at ‘improving’ the urban streetscape in forms analogous to or inspired by official efforts” (26). Through his scholarship, Douglas highlights the role DIY urbanism plays not only in place-making, but also in creating new forms of contemporary urban citizenship. While our class discussion briefly touched upon different forms of contemporary urban citizenship here at Bowdoin, the conversation left me curious about how and why Bowdoin students claim citizenship.

Unlike traditional forms of citizenship, modern forms of belonging have become flexible and performative. Citizenship no longer stems from birthright alone but from a combination of spatial practices and alternate forms of placemaking. In class we drew on the scholarship of Lefebvre, Centner, and Greene to examine emerging forms of contemporary citizenship. Lefebvre’s work Rights to the City calls for radical restructuring of the urban environment, where decision-making shifts from the hands of the government to urban inhabitants. This emphasizes urban space as one rooted in the everyday experiences of those who occupy it. Individuals also claim urban citizenship through Ryan Centner’s and Theo Greene’s notions of spatial capital and vicarious citizenship, respectively. Center’s concept of spatial capital enables individuals to claim rights to space through staking exclusionary claims on spaces that would otherwise be public. Therefore, those who employ spatial capital to claim rights to certain urban places simultaneously inhibit others from potentially also claiming that space. Greene’s concept of vicarious citizenship, on the other hand, enables non-residential folks to claim cultural forms of citizenship within a community. Together, this new literature informs more modern understandings of citizenship.

After reflecting on the questions and readings in class, I began to think more deeply about contemporary forms of citizenship in both the Brunswick and Bowdoin community. In class, I questioned whether Bowdoin students and Brunswick community members participate in DIY urban design. Some examples some folks identified were the makeshift signs Brunswick residents erect to deter parking, the hammocks Bowdoin students install on the quad, and the free “libraries” situated around the Brunswick area. These examples clearly exhibit more DIY urban design from Brunswick community members compared to that of Bowdoin students. Why is that so? Do Brunswick citizens feel they have more of a right to the Brunswick community than to Bowdoin? One student astutely pointed out that maybe the lack of DIY urban design on Bowdoin’s campus exemplifies Bowdoin students’ risk-averse nature. Is that true? Why do Bowdoin students refuse to break the rules? What, if anything, stands in the way of Bowdoin students participating in DIY urbanism? Do Bowdoin students participate in different forms of urban citizenship? Why or why not?

Thinking about citizenship in a Bowdoin-specific context informs many questions about contemporary forms of citizenship. However, using Bowdoin as our context simultaneously limits our understanding of modern citizenship. Douglas argues that “uneven development and neoliberal planning not only produce conditions that inspire do-it-yourselfers to act but also normalize the idea that the world is their playground” (69). Is it possible to disentangle governmental processes from that of DIY urban design? Maybe this question could speak to why students at Bowdoin do not participate in DIY urban design. Is it the bureaucratic structures that inhibit them? Does the lack of DIY urban design tell us something about modern citizenship on Bowdoin’s campus?

If Bowdoin students do not participate in forms of DIY urbanism, what does that say about their privilege? Douglas asserts that “the privileged also have greater freedom to choose whether to go along with or object to the status quo” (101), which touches on the themes I was concerned with in my third question. Douglas contends that those that can afford to engage in risk behavior (cis, white, straight men) tends to engage in these forms of DIY urban design. But what does it mean when folks actively choose not to participate in DIY urban design? What does that say about Bowdoin student privilege and trust in the greater Bowdoin governance strategies in place?

Using Bowdoin students as a lens for studying citizenship may not directly apply to Gordon’s concept of DIY urban design. But I think maybe concepts like spatial capital and vicarious citizenship could help us understand the ways in which folks form ideas of citizenship, particularly on Bowdoin’s campus.

DIY Urbanism: Who is Responsible?

This weeks classes, December 2nd and 4th, we focused on the city, and particularly ways in which the new urban city is allowing for new forms of citizenship and belonging. It has become evident through this week that citizenship has become ” flexible and performative” and is no longer “ascribed through birthright alone”. We now see that “place-making  [is] defined through the participation in the appropriation of space and the production of its meaning”. Thus, as citizens increasingly become more involved within their cities they start to believe that they are no longer just occupiers but participants of the city. Related to this idea is the rise of neoliberalism and how this has allowed for new forms of civic participation in the creation, maintenance, and regulation of space. The most important to come out of this new participation is DIY Urbanism, which Gordon C.C. Douglas defined as “unauthorized yet ostensibly functional and civic-minded physical alterations or additions to the urban built environment in forms analogous (however abstractly) to official planning and streetscape design elements”. Douglas’ definition takes into account several aspects that DIY urbanism encompasses: firstly, the illegality of unauthorized nature, and secondly the functional, civic-minded alterations to the urban landscape.

My Expert Question focused squarely on the legality of DIY Urbanism and the possible consequences that could come from DIY urbanism projects. Our discussion of my questions yielded no clear response, but this was as expected. DIY urbanism has become so popular in recent times because of the sluggishness that our government works at. Citizens, empowered by the ideas that they are the real owners of space that they occupy, have turned to new forms of dealing with and avoiding the obstacles to bettering their own space. Thus, citizens have disregarded law and installed their own additions to the city, such as seats at bus stops, street signs at confusing intersections, and even a swing under a bridge. It is this disregard of the law that the city, and I as well, have found to be problematic. This revolt is potentially dangerous to our bureaucratic society, and is exactly what Lefebvre would have wanted. He talked about the need for a “radical restructuring of processes involved with decision-making over space”, basically the idea that when it comes to space, it should no longer be the over-arching power, i.e the government, that makes the decisions but it should be those who are participating and appropriating the space. His ideas, while I believe are well founded, are almost anarchist in the way that he would want to disregard bureaucracy. I believe that the best way to solve the issue with people taking DIY urbanism into their own hands, even if their intentions are good, is to have it be regulated by the city. I believe that the city should listen to all proposals that are received, deliberate over the feasibility of these suggestions, and give a response back to the citizen or citizens who made this suggestion in a timely manner, i.e 30 days. This will create more harmonization between the city and the citizen, allowing for the citizen to feel as if they still have some power in the say over their space. Also, I believe that by doing this the DIY aspect will remain intact as the suggestions will be derived from the ideas of the citizen, with approval from the city. This will also take out any of the gray areas of who is responsible for DIY urbanism projects and will make DIY urbanism a unifying process between city and citizen.

There Goes the Gayborhood: How Inclusive are “Inclusive” Space?

During our previous in-class discussion, we explored and, more importantly, challenged Orne’s assertion that the increasing acceptance of gays—a process Orne characterizes as assimilation—has transformed Boystown and individuals’ relationship with the gayborhood, arguing “Boystown is a place for people to visit and consume, rather than live.” The parochial scope of Orne’s argument, however, neglects the experiences of marginalized queer communities excluded from the rebranded gayborhood. Assimilation has allotted only certain groups, primarily White gay men, the privilege of residential freedom; therefore, the manifestation of safe spaces, away from the hateful eyes of society, remains essential for disenfranchised members of the queer community. 

Luckily, Queer Pop-ups act as vehicles for safety and self-expression for marginalized queer communities. The construction of ephemeral safe spaces, a process that requires organizers consider the historical injustices against the marginalized communities they wish to serve, provides visibility and representation for queer people excluded from mainstream gay and lesbian settings. 

My Expert Question considers the extent to which the placemaking techniques utilized by organizers to create inclusive Queer Pop-ups can be adopted to make permanent queer spaces more inclusive, ultimately questioning the degree to which places can truly be inclusive; a question that was then mapped onto campus life at Bowdoin. Are there any places on campus that are truly inclusive? A question that then led to the distinction between diverse and integrated. Although Bowdoin is statistically diverse, the ways in which different groups interact and occupy (or avoid) different spaces on campus suggest Bowdoin is not fully integrated. This is evident in the dynamic ability of places on campus where certain groups of people feel welcomed in a particular space on campus at a certain time, while uncomfortable during others due to certain groups’ ability to reappropriate space and produce its meaning, engaging in spatial capital.

In the end, our discussion concluded spaces can be inclusive only to a certain extent despite the best of intentions. Inclusive spaces are characterized by their ability to make invited members feel welcome, a construction that requires the exclusion of groups that may discomfort the members the space hopes to accept. Additionally, permanent spaces may inevitably develop established norms, a phenomenon that some may find familiar and friendly, while others may feel uncomfortable disrupting said norms. For now, ephemeral Queer Pop-ups and dynamic safe spaces on campus will have to do. 


Gender Politics and the City

In December 2nd’s class we discussed the Global City and the economic shifts that have characterized them in recent years. Ho Chi Minh City is a perfect illustration of the geographic dispersal of economic activity as it has risen in global prominence since the U.S. 2008 stock market crash. As Vietnam transitioned from a communist country after the Vietnam war, it experienced conditions of privatization, deregulation, and free trade which have been mirrored in developing countries around the world. As seen in the sexual relationships detailed in the reading, this has resulted in Asian ascendancy as well as a greater emphasis on a class-based hierarchy. Interestingly, Ho Chi Minh City does not seem to fit the pattern of denationalization of urban space. While shifting national power dynamics are at play in the city, the line between Westerners and Vietnamese is very clearly demarcated by access to specific clubs and alcohol purchasing patterns.  

The concept of cynical performance which Prof. Greene brought up in class is particularly interesting when discussing sex work. It suggests that when the women engage in behaviors that emphasize their submissiveness, Asian identity or lower class status compared to their customers they do so intentionally for financial gain. They do not individually identify with the role they are performing but exploit gender, race and class dynamics to derive profit and power from market relationships with male clients. 

The question posed by Sulwan about comparisons between ethnoburbs and racialized sex work in Vietnam raised many interesting points. Stereotypes directed at Asians in the ethnoburb centered around academic achievement and cultural differences. The Western men in HCMC similarly sought to project their Western bias on the Vietnamese sex workers, but different racial assumptions were made along the lines of submissiveness and economic dependency. The reading also mentioned examples of comments made by white men attempting to assert sexual superiority over Asian men. While white communities have less economic capital than their peers in both HCMC and the ethnoburb, they still assume cultural superiority over the Asian populations. Both these seem to be a symptom of the normative whiteness practiced in the U.S. 

Prof. Greene described the Vietnamese government as supportive of the growing sex industry, which I would not have expected. I thought the relationship between the government and sex work was similar to the example given by the lower end bars. They paid off the police and acted under the pretense of enforced rules by hiding evidence of sex work. This view aligns with the stereotype of corruption in the developing world but clearly does not encapsulate the complex dynamics of sexual relationships in a Global City. I am curious why the government chooses to support the sex industry and what specific policy decisions have supported its growth.

The exclusivity of Vietnamese businessmen seems similar to the spatial capital and privileged consumption exercised by white gentrifiers in historically black neighborhoods. They create spaces that have no formal mechanisms to keep Westerners out but do so through de facto cultural practices surrounding sex and alcohol.