The headlines have undoubtedly blown up in the past two weeks and we know why — Linsanity.
We all know who Jeremy Lin is by now. He’s that 23-year-old Chinese American New York Knicks point guard that launched them to a 7-game winning streak, even dunking on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. He’s the Harvard-educated kid no team wanted and came out raging with what he’s worth. All in all, it’s a feel-good story.
Great story for the Knicks, great for Asian Americans, definitely great for selling papers and getting hits. But here comes that nasty little bug again — blatant racism.
Strike one: Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock tweets about Lin’s privates, referring to a stereotype that Asian males are sexually inept. (Because we really care how good he is in bed?)
Strike two: MSG network posts a fortune cookie graphic with Lin’s face popping out. (Original.)
Strike three: ESPN posts the headline “Chink in the Armor” after the Knicks lose to the Hornets. (Are you kidding me?)
Those are just three of the most highlighted incidents. The list, believe me, goes on far longer.
If any of this surprises you, you’re likely not an Asian American or a minority.
For us, this is the norm. We grew up being taunted in schools, being called “chink” and other racial slurs. While this type of racist sentiment comes out into the public eye and may be surprising to most of America, Asian Americans ask the question, ‘What’s new?’
It’s unfortunate that all of this prejudice comes juxtaposed with Lin’s 5 minutes of glory (too soon to tell if he’ll be a hall of famer). More than likely, he’s already brushed it off his shoulders. But for the media, and for America as a whole, the issue goes on whether we like it or not. People continue to drive at Lin’s race with negativity.
What’s most interesting to see is how the angle has turned. The conversation spotlighted now is not Lin’s race, but the regrettable reaction to Lin’s race.
When will America stop embarrassing itself, if ever? Lin is out there doing his thing, killing it game after game and soaking up the opportunity he’s waited for. Then there’s America sitting on the sidelines making jokes about slanty eyes and fortune cookies. So who’s the one who’s laughing?