Demolition Derby, Baker, MT © Wing Young Huie

Demolition Derby, Baker, MT © Wing Young Huie, from "Looking for America: An Ethnocentric Tour" (2001)

Wing Young Huie:

I had never been to rural Montana. When we first pulled into Baker, it resembled a scene from an apocalyptic movie: tidy, rustic shops lined main street, but where was everybody? A lone soul finally appeared to inform us that the demolition derby was in town. Apparently the entire populace of Baker was at this car-as-gladiator spectacle.

An accommodating elderly gentleman in a cowboy hat excitedly explained the intricacies of the sport to us. The sight and sounds of smashing metal contrasted with the languorous audience and its intermittent cheers. In many ways, it didn’t seem all that different from a crowd at a baseball game back in the Twin Cities.

When my attention turned to photographic possibilities, I was excited to spy one of the only Asian faces in this communal gathering. This man and his wife, both Cambodian, blended right in with their dress and deportment. But to me, he still looks Photoshopped into this picture. I wonder, is that what I, also an Asian American, look like walking around the land of Lake Wobegon—as though I’ve been Photoshopped into the landscape? (more…)