Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NY Times: When Linsanity happened

Restaurateur David Chang was interviewed in the New York Times video about Jeremy Lin.

THE NEW YORK TIMES put together yesterday (Oct. 25) a video (see below) about Linsanity that talks about the impact basketball player Jeremy Lin had on all Asian/Americans that goes way beyond the basketball court.

He's not the greatest b-ball player, not even among the elite, but his play is good enough for the NBA and there are times when he can be spectacular. But it is his mere presence in an arena where you rarely see Asian/Americans that is significant.

You talk about a bamboo ceiling, Lin's journey is circuitous but something that will be talked about for generations!

In a commentary accompanying the video, NYT writer Andrew Keh said:

"An absence of reference points for Asian identity in popular culture has helped create a perpetual stream of hackneyed encounters, for men and women, children and adults.

"'In elementary school, it was Jackie Chan,' my friend Daniel Sin, a fellow hoops addict and Korean-American, told me about playing pickup ball. 'In high school, it was Yao Ming. At the gym now, it’s Jeremy Lin. When it first happened, around Linsanity, I thought: Nice. At least I’m a guard now.'”

The remarks by the interviewees that featured some prominent Asian/Americans such as Eddie Huang, Jeff Yang and Randall Park put Lin's ascendancy in the context of where Asian/Americans fit into today's pop culture.

Lin himself has often expressed the burden of being one of the few Asian/Americans in the NBA and the racial taunts and slights that go along with that.

“You can just take the racial element alone,” Lin said on the Brooklyn Nets media day last month. “You can add on so many other factors, but really anything I do is hyper-magnified in a good way or a bad way. People are quick to discount me or say certain things because of my race. And when I do well, people are quick to say he’s so amazing, he’s the truth, whatever, because of my race, because of the way I look." 

"There's this whole thing where it's OK to make fun of certain guys more than it is other guys," Lin tells Pablo S. Torre of ESPN. "And Asians are very easy to make fun of. We're the model minority. So everyone can joke about Asians: They're nice people, respectful people; they won't do anything." He thinks about this dynamic often. "People look at me, and they've always jumped to conclusions. They don't see toughness. But how do you define that?"

Lin is back in the nation's biggest media market that drives much of what is written about across the nation's newsrooms and delivered to U.S.'s readers. You can expect the scrutiny that he receives in New York City, where Linsanity began when he was with the New York Knicks, to only intensify. 

Jeremy Lin's journey is not over but even if he doesn't make the NBA record books or into the NBA Hall of Fame, he's already made his mark in the world. Somewhere on hardwood courts or outdoor playgrounds, there are Asian/American kids dribbling basketballs or  shooting hoops dreaming of becoming a pro-basketball player - just like Jeremy Lin. 

ESPN's Pablo Torre wrote the first indepth article about Jeremy Lin that touched on his race and stereotypes.
Read it here.