7.22.2010

Yellow Fever

cult3

Jay Caspian Kang says fuck Harrison Barnes, Year 2 of the John Henson Project is what will make the kids alright. Part 1 of this piece ran back in January. Follow Jay @maxpower51.

In these recent years, I’ve found it hard going to accept the totality of my multi-cultural education. While my wiring (Korean, raised in the South, over-educated in the Academy’s blah-factories) precludes me from completely abandoning its dreams, these lessons have lost their dimensions, gone fuzzy. The vision of a post-race America, fed to me and my classmates by well-intentioned teachers, then radiated out in college seminars, lectures, where the same ideas repeated themselves in fancier clothes. It all seems as naïve to me now as a bumper sticker pleading for the end of all wars.

And yet, I still feel the need, mostly ridiculous, to accept the vision as something good, essential. It is a joke, sure, and not a funny one, but it is the joke that plays on repeat in my head.

Like all repetitions, the joke has long been reduced into the clutter of its component parts. These parts float chaotically, the same way snippets of Illmatic and Liquid Swords do—accessible at all times, but never quite in any recognizable pattern. Just as I will be sitting uncomfortably in an airport terminal and hear the words, “My father was the greatest samurai in the empire,” flit through my head, so too will the mantras and rules of my multicultural education just come upon me suddenly, without warning or reason.

I wonder if it’s much different for anyone else, if all of us who identify with the same vision, who post links on Facebook about "Racist Things Republicans Say", who like the sound of the word disenfranchisement, who feel comfortable enough to roll our eyes at Kwanzaa, but not quite comfortable enough to roll our eyes at Jesse Jackson, at least not in public, might simply be reacting to race-things with an utterly random array of pretty sentiments and recycled thoughts.

I do not bring this up because I mean to chastise—certainly, of all people, I find myself guilty of such detachment, indifference, randomness—but rather to figure out why, exactly, that when I heard that Jeremy Lin was going to come home and play for my Golden State Warriors, the first thought that trailed my elation was, calm down. He doesn’t owe you anything. He is not a representative for every Asian-American kid. He is just Jeremy Lin.

The thing is, even though those sorts of nice words still constitute my go-to reaction to all things racial, I don’t believe any of that multicultural dinosaur bullshit. Jeremy Lin, sorry, is not just a kid from Palo Alto-to-Harvard who made good in the NBA. He is not just Jeremy Lin, basketball player, who owes nothing to nobody but himself and God. And while good manners stop me short of saying that Jeremy Lin owes me something, personally, I will say this: Michael Chang be damned, there has never been a more important Asian athlete in the history of this country than Jeremy Lin.

Ichiro slaps at balls and plays with a Zenny detachment—there is a narrative for him, steeped heavily in our preconceptions of those kooky Japanese. Yao’s narrative is consumed by his size, his gregariousness and the machinery of Chinese athletics. Hines Ward is half-black and therefore, by our fucked-up calculations, doesn’t really count. Eugene Chung played offensive line and went bust. Dat Nguyen, Parcells devotee, could have come close, but he was undersized, as everyone would have expected him to be. Michael Chang could only win with finesse, on clay, no less, and only did it once.



There is no narrative for an Asian American kid who led his team to a state title, went completely unrecuited, settled for Harvard, for chrissake, dominated the Ivies, went undrafted and then signed with an NBA team straight out of the summer league. Does anyone’s story in the NBA deserve more of a FTW? And while it might be technically true to say that he is his own man and should not have to bear the yoke of his people, that truth is utterly irrelevant. His story is so perfect that it will be gobbled up and turned into metaphor, he will be a experiment for how ESPN discusses “his kind,” he will be the litmus test of where Stu Scott can go and where he cannot, he will be most easily accessible, visible counterpoint to the emasculated Asian male. He will be the Great Yellow Hope for millions of Asian people, not just in the Bay Area, but in Flushing, K-Town, Little Saigon, Annandale, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei and Beijing.

And yet, while repairing our faith in the multi-cultural vision by placing himself in the country’s most unlikely forum, the Great Yellow Hope of Jeremy Lin is not about equality at all. He might make a smiling cameo in the soft-handed dream, but he didn’t get to where he is because of it. His promise buries itself into more personal and violent lines—we are asking him, or, rather, his body, through the arbitrary act of helping five other men put a ball through a hoop more efficiently than five other men, to undo the harm of the stereotypes we do not discuss, to give us an icon to rally around without reservation or fear that our great hero might also reject us for the novelty of our wiring.

We are asking, and not nicely, for him to give up his racialized body to those of us who might need it much more than we will comfortably admit. As the first of his kind playing in the country’s weirdest and most intense racial metaphor, he will carry the weight of evolving into the counterpoint, the measure of pride. In this way, he is more DiMaggio than Jackie Robinson, more of a symbol to his people than a trailblazer. He will be picked at, conflated, celebrated, deflated, trashed, defiled and mocked on the road. He will certainly not deserve any of this. But, despite what the random volley liberal, multicultural responses might say, deserve has nothing to do with it.

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The mantle of trailblazer goes to Rich Cho, the former Boeing engineer from Federal Way, who, on Tuesday, was hired as Portland’s General Manager. He is the first Asian-American to ever head up the front office of an American professional sports team. It is certainly a strange coincidence that these two events would occur within the same forty-eight hour span, and while the linearity-loving part of the brain lights up with the possibility of stringing these two events together into some story about acceptance, pushing barriers and progress, Rich Cho and Jeremy Lin have as much to do with one as another as Barack Obama and Venus Williams.

Cho is the fruit of the multicultural dream, his success validates the mantras of expanded equal opportunity and the boon that comes when you stop thinking assuming that certain races are better suited for certain jobs. He is why our well-intentioned teachers had to preach what they did, a beacon, not for the possibilities of his body, but rather, for the possibilities of what our racial math has already confirmed: Asians, if given the chance, can succeed in business endeavors of all kinds. Cho, despite being really the first of his kind, (Lin has Wat Misaka, and, to a lesser degree, Yao, Yi, Sun Yue, Yuta Tabuse, etc. as his forbearers) will never be anything more than another immigrant kid staking a claim in the White world.

As I wrote in FD back in January, the majority of Asian American kids raised in the United States are taught, oftentimes insidiously, to covet the bounties of Whiteness. Pro basketball, with its “hip-hop image,” its Big Black Supermen, its near-naked display of the athlete’s body and its association with that vague place known as “the street,” has an immutable connection with Blackness. And while, of course, the act of running an NBA team places you within the constraints of White success, to actually play the game, to dunk, preen, block shots, bomb threes, all that is uncharted, volatile territory, something that falls not only outside of the possibilities envisioned by Asian immigrant parents and their children, but on the wrong side of an unspoken racial divide that has found its ugly and violent outlet in every Riot the country has seen over the past thirty years.

As is true with all racial violence, at least in this country, the targeting of Korean-owned businesses during the Rodney King Riots was more about the ways in which each group measured their battered bodies up against the pristine and guilt-proof White. And although the Rodney King Riots slammed the door on the possibility that us Asian kids could run away from Whiteness, the violence of the Riots still radiates outwards—this year in the Bay Area, there have been several high-profile murders in which Black assailants have purportedly been targeting Asian victims. Having lived in almost every major American city, I can say that I have never been in a place where the tension between Blacks and Asians is more palpable than it is in the Bay Area: 2010.

This is the context in which Jeremy Lin, Palo Alto kid, comes back to pursue his dream: he will be playing in America’s Blackest game in one of America’s Blackest cities and every goddamn connotation of every word will have its sway on how we view him. To say that all these things are on the minds of Lin, his teammates or most Warriors fans is a stretch, but to deny their sway over how we process Lin, to barrage him-within-his-context with our simplistic, easy, liberal, multicultural rhetoric is just flat-out dumb.

As such, I do not think it is a stretch to say that Jeremy Lin’s successes and failures in the NBA will redefine how Asian-American males view their bodies. In some ways, the redefinition has already begun. Videos have already begun to sprout up that attempt to anthropologically break down Lin’s fabled summer league showdown with John Wall.

The comparisons that were made last January, when similar videos of Lin dunking on UConn started making their rounds through the blogosphere, have been ratcheted up. What was once hypothetical is now real. The comment board at Golden State of Mind have been clogged with ecstatic Asian hoopheads who have been posting comments like, “it feels as if one of us just walked on the court and started playing.” The statement is ridiculous, yes, (I wonder if Alfonso Ribeiro, better known as Carlton Banks, feels the same way whenever he witnesses Lebron dunk on somebody’s head), but it shows the peculiar desperation of the Asian American sports fan, the manic need to find some outlet to place ourselves on the mount with the rest of the Athlete Gods.

To reach such heights, Jeremy Lin, human being-who-is-entitled-to-just-be-himself, could very well be sacrificed. It would be nice to hope that this doesn’t have to happen, but to tell the truth, it probably already has happened, and, as long as he provides the heroic figure, I do not care either way.

Still, I will probably buy a Jeremy Lin jersey. There is not a Rich Cho jersey, but, if there were, I probably wouldn’t buy it.



So, how will he do? We have already seen Jeremy Lin’s game against the NBA’s next Most Gifted One. Matching up one-on-one against John Wall, Lin looked big enough, quick enough, and, more importantly, competed on every possession. Sure, it’s summer league, but Lin proved to be a patient, well-coached, and pretty fucking big point guard who could get into the lane with ease. He showed flashes of a jump shot, most notably the fade-away three he hit with Wall in his face, but nothing to indicate that he could fill, say, the point guard’s shooting role in the triangle.

With his size, competitiveness, quicks, patience and admittedly average passing/court vision, he reminded me most of Jarrett Jack. Lin is already a better shooter than Jack will ever be and might even be a step quicker and although the restrictions of summer league made it impossible to see if Lin also possessed Jack’s ability to lead a team, his footage at Harvard shows a level of focus and unselfishness that should translate well into the pro game. Other than that, it’s really impossible to tell—he played well in Vegas. But so did Marco Bellinelli.

Within the context of the Warriors, (is there even a context?) Lin’s signing creates a weird culture contraption in which a point guard from Davidson will be backed up by a point guard from Harvard. While Jarrett Jack is the most immediate game-comp, it is Curry who offers the more interesting conversation—both move with deceptive speed, both attack methodically, carefully, and both are surprisingly adequate rebounders and defenders. More interestingly, both guys come into the league with questions about their athleticism, their ability to D-up against the league’s big guards.

In some measure, both Lin and Curry face such scrutiny for fucked-up reasons: Curry, because he is light-skinned, frail, “well spoken,” and played at Davidson. Lin faces a similar scrutiny because he is Asian, with all the cocooning context of that word, and played at Harvard. Both guys dominated in college, albeit on different stages.

I feel safe in saying that Lin will never be the player Curry has already become, but having watched a few of his games at Harvard and the entirety of his summer league performance, I will say this: Lin, like Curry, is fueled by a heady competitiveness. He knows his spots on the floor and seems to get up for the big stage—remember, we first began paying attention to him after he blew up UConn for thirty points, and, as one youtube poster counted, two dunks. His best game of the summer league came against Wall, when he knew everyone was watching.

These two moments certainly don’t quite measure up to Curry’s NCAA run, but they do provide some evidence that Lin will not be swallowed up by the scrutiny of being the NBA’s strangest player.

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24 Comments:

At 7/22/2010 7:43 PM, Blogger db said...

This made my day, thanks.

 
At 7/22/2010 7:47 PM, Blogger achiappanza said...

Fabulous entry, thanks.

 
At 7/22/2010 8:05 PM, Blogger MR_FJG said...

The dynamic itself of Lin playing in the bay area will be very interesting to watch. I can see it now,the racial tension like you stated will be there but the only thing that will cut through that tension will be his play on the court. Or maybe it will add to the tension, who knows.

If he can silence the people who will undoubtly say "He can't ball because he's Asian" and just be a solid contributor to the team and work on the little things that make an average player a good player, he will definitely cause quite a stir.

Just imagine the ovation for Lin on a night where he starts, I'm willing to bet it will be bigger than Steph's & Monta's combined. As a chicano, I know why the Asian communitiy is flocking to Lin. As minorities, we tend flock to those who are like us especially when they are in visible positions like sports.i.e Manny Pacquiao or on the bay area tip someone like Eric Chavez for the A's and raise them up because we feel that they are a representation of what we can be if given the opportunity. Even if the figures themselves don't want to play into the role of being a minority role model.

Like you said he can be a hero while not meaning to be one and it is going to be a very ineteresting story to watch as the season rolls around.

Also Chavez example may sound wierd because he has been hurt but when he was at the top of his game, there still are a lot of Mexican-Americans/Chicanos who identify with him even though he himself pronounces his last name as Ch-A-Vez with an emphasis on the A as opposed to the spanish sounding CHA-Vez where the emphasis is on the CHA.

One other thing, I want to know what you think about the issue of "Model Minorities" which sometimes the Asian culture is referred to as and if you think that may play a big role in this story going forward. I feel like your article touched on it a couple times & would just be interested to hear more of your thoughts on the issue.

 
At 7/22/2010 9:35 PM, OpenID kcraigetsu said...

"Might be a step quicker than Jarret Jack"?

What?

I'm all for "liberated fandom" and everything, but your arguments should be at least somewhat rooted in reality. In the WVU game, John Wall allowed Joe Mazzula to look like a deadly offensive genius, and it's no surprise Lin exploited him as well. Wouldn't read too much into it.

 
At 7/22/2010 9:52 PM, Blogger lux said...

"but rather to figure out why, exactly, that when I heard that Jeremy Lin was going to come home and play for my Golden State Warriors, the first thought that trailed my elation was, calm down."

thankyou for articulating that feeling... great post!

 
At 7/22/2010 10:35 PM, Blogger Jay Caspian Kang said...

MR_FJG: I've always hated what happened to Chavez after he signed that huge contract. People forget he was Longoria before Longoria-- similar stats, maybe even a better glove.

I don't know if I have any thoughts about the idea of a model minority that I didn't articulate in the post I did back in January... But yeah-- Chavez, born in LA, is a good corollary to Lin. Do you feel similarly about De La Hoya as compared to, say, Morales or Barrera? For some reason, I've always found that boxing follows different rules...

 
At 7/23/2010 1:43 AM, OpenID sportshistorynow.com said...

Jay, what an excellent, bold take. Your writing ability blows me away and engenders many thoughts I considered intangible almost a decade out of college.

Some comments:

There are several presumptions in here that may be giving too much long-term credit to this situation. IMO, Lin's achievement is a whimsical fad as much as it is a historic moment as was such arrivals of Hideo Nomo, Ichiro, Yao Ming, et al. In other words, while Lin's presence in the NBA will be greatly celebrated with zealous by a varied but pre-dominant AA audience because of the novelty and the anticipation of Lin failing/meeting/exceeding expectations, he will never be bigger than the game itself.

How the Warriors do and how the NBA carries on business as usual will eventually overpower the significance of Lin. And that's the best thing that can happen for the sport, Asian Americans, Jeremy, and America itself. A sense of normalcy will be the ultimate celebration of Lin's arrival. He's made his mark and we should feel something for the time being, but it's too soon and too presumptuous to give it more meaning than it is right now.

Of course, that shouldn't take away from this being a huge moment that we can reference for the remainder of sports history.

Speaking just basketball, I do think Lin will turn out to be a decent contributor. The Warriors are really the perfect situation for his basketball career.

I think this entry would have been stronger if you ended on the sentence that you wouldn't be buying Rick Cho's jersey.

Thanks again for the read, I really enjoyed it.

Please visit my site: sportshistorynow.com and my take on Lin.

 
At 7/23/2010 7:11 AM, Blogger campbellaguilar林志易 said...

人並不是生來要吃敗仗的。人可被毀滅,但不可被擊倒。.................................................................

 
At 7/23/2010 7:11 AM, Blogger 陳韋夏陳韋夏益東富益東富 said...

Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another..................................................................

 
At 7/23/2010 11:23 AM, Blogger MR_FJG said...

In the Latin community, De la Hoya is a somewhat of a polarizing a figure as opposed to say Morales or Barrera. Just like I'm sure what happens in the Asian community, there is a separation of individuals born in the US versus individuals born in Mexico or in the native land.

Especially in boxing, De la Hoya almost came to be despised by many male Mexican boxing fans who originally came from mexico. In his younger days, everyone supported him but as he grew older,I really think certain segments of the Latin community resented him because he was representation of how the younger generation would take things for granted. In particular the Mexican boxing lineage has always been about fighters giving everything of themselves during a fight and going out on their shield no matter what. Plus It didn't help that he seemed to gloat when he beat a past his prime Julio Cesar Chavez and as my uncle's told me he shouldn't have celebrated as much as he did. It seemed like this created this wierd age clash of traditional Latin values versus more new age values.

Then you cant forget De la hoya went all Hollywood and started singing and put out CD's and let's just say it didn't sit well with the certain parts of the latin community. So on top of him going hollywood, at least his public persona seemed to distance himself from his native roots. Or at least that was what many people perceived and why many Latin men didn't like him but his female fanbase grew by leaps and bounds.

Obviously boxing is a whole other crazy disscussion about nationalism & racism and how those two things have this crazy dance during a boxing match. But like you said Boxing plays by totally different rules because it emphasizes the ultra alpha male parts of different cultures like strength,violence,competitiveness, etc while denegrating the more passive parts like sympathy,feelings, and emmotions.

Either way gret talk and yes Chavez was Longoria before Longoria but I'm not quite sure if Longoria plays up his latin side. Baseball is also a wierd sport in terms of recial identity but that seems like a topic for a another time.

 
At 7/23/2010 1:16 PM, Blogger Jay Caspian Kang said...

@MR_FJG: I always thought the perception of De La Hoya was a bit unfair-- he was a tough fighter, almost never backed down (except that weird BHop fight), a guy whose style was to always bull forwards. Fine, he didn't have the heart of a Barrera or Morales or Julio Cesar Chavez or Juan Manuel Marquez, but nobody does... But yeah-- our vision of boxers is always screwed up by race and style. The CDs and commercials made Oscar seem soft. Unfair, maybe, but he also made his own bed with all that crap...

Thanks for the candor...

 
At 7/23/2010 1:21 PM, Blogger Joshua Paddison said...

We'll have to add religion to the mix:

ESPN: How important is the [Asian-American] identity stuff?

Lin: You know, it's important but not as important as my being a Christian. That's first and foremost the most important thing to me when it comes to my identity.

http://tinyurl.com/2994vwr

 
At 7/23/2010 3:07 PM, Blogger Marc said...

Isn't Lin over 200 pounds? He's plenty big enough for an NBA point guard. But he has to readjust his game to become more unselfish and look for the pass first, and do it without losing that heady confidence in his scoring ability. Learn to pick his spots. I think it's really shaped him that he was always the best scoring threat on his teams before now.

He doesn't strike me as exceptionally quick for the NBA but he's definitely quick enough to keep up and to break down the defense if they're not careful, which is really what you need.

 
At 7/23/2010 5:42 PM, Blogger walrusoflove said...

Thanks. Great read. Appreciate you opening up and really putting it out there. Lin cracking the league is the best NBA story of the summer. There's just so many feel good ingredients....hometown kid, no scholarship, undrafted, hard-working, family support, strong beliefs, humble, love for the game, and just his raw excitement about getting the chance to live out his childhood dream when it was looked unlikely even a couple weeks ago. I can only begin to imagine the magnitude of both what he is doing and how he is doing it from the perspective of the AA community.

On the flip side, i really hope he doesn't get crushed by the expectations... dude has his head on solid but...
- Comparing him to Jarret Jack already. wow.
- "I do not think it is a stretch to say that Jeremy Lin’s successes and failures in the NBA will redefine how Asian-American males view their bodies". wow.

Maybe I got no right to say it, but I hope 'his peoples' don't lay impossible expectations on him the same way that many resent (thats way too strong a word) the over-achieving expectations of their own parents/grandparents. Let the kid flow, he has climbed the summit, time to cheer him on.

For context: I'm a white canadian male...steve nash has embodied a lot of this stuff for many canadian youth, not saying its apples to apples, but he gives kids hope and is a guy parents feel good about pointing to as a role model. Also, even though i'll never have the perspective, I'm not just playing off stereotypes and buzz, I have lived in Taiwan, have spent a lot of time in China, and went to see lin hoop at harvard this year. Respect.

 
At 7/23/2010 5:56 PM, Blogger walrusoflove said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nMB1u5ocS4

 
At 7/23/2010 7:11 PM, Blogger Ahithophel said...

Lin spoke at length about his faith and his ethnicity in the series of interviews that begins here: http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Faith-and-Fate-of-Jeremy-Lin.html

 
At 7/25/2010 10:05 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

From a narrative perspective, when I think about Lin, I can't help but think about Steve Nash. Which is way too huge a set of expectations to pin on anyone. Plus, I've barely seen any video of Lin and can't recall at this point what Nash looked like when he left Santa Clara. So, I really don't know whether their games bear even a passing resemblance. But their stories do a little, and we all love to shove new players into the narratives of players we already know, so ...

Tensions between blacks and Asians in the Bay Area may be high, but this is the land of Sideways Heros. Folks here don't just support underdogs or alpha dogs; they also ride the unexpected. I won't be surprised if, by December, I've seen a black dude in a Lin jersey. And if Lin plays a respectable back up PG game, the number of cross-racial Lin fans will grow. Will it mean anything for local race relations? Probably not. But who can say what that would mean in a few individual cases.

 
At 7/25/2010 10:35 PM, Blogger Francis Acero said...

I've always wondered why Spoelstra never gets his due as an Asian-American head coach. He isn't black. If he was an Asian-African-American head coach would it break more boundaries? If Spoelstra went by his mom's last name, Celino, would it be more shocking? Is it because he works for Riles? Is it because Riles is going to yank him out when it all comes together? Is it because when Spoelstra walks on the court he's decked in Armani and he looks like Riles' caporegime? I don't get it. I seriously don't.

 
At 7/26/2010 2:24 AM, Blogger Mr. Higgs Boson said...

A very thought provoking and insightful article. Jack Johnson and Joe Louis come to mind as similar figures in a very narrow respect- both Johnson and Louis were entering a world where their innate capacity to achieve their goals were questioned due to long-standing racialized cultural norms. (Unlike Jackie Robinson, whose depth of talent and ability were never seriously challenged.) Particularly in Johnson's day, black fighters were considered cowardly and weak, lacking the fighting spirit of champions. This lingering doubt ran as deeply through the black community as did the disbelief in the essential manhood of black men coursed through the larger white society.

By simply being, Lin has conjured these same feelings in many of those who watch his game. I think it may create a level of cognitive dissonance that will lead to some uncomfortably (and likely accidentally) frank moments from members of the media and fans alike.

 
At 7/26/2010 3:09 AM, Blogger 林旻貞林旻貞 said...

道歉是人類一定必要的禮節..................................................

 
At 7/26/2010 3:43 PM, Blogger O.W. said...

A fascinating read. A few points, some small, some big. I'll start with small.

1) As primary as the Black/White divide has been in American history, racial tension and violence can't always be reduced to that binary. Especially in reference to the LA Riots, Korean businesses were looted by a rainbow coalition of different youth, especially Latinos who now constitute the primary population of South LA (and have for at least a generation). Black/Asian tension plays up well in the media (and Ice Cube songs) but it's not an accurate representation of what actually happened.

Moving onto bigger stuff:

2) I think it's way too premature to claim Lin is going to be the Most Important Asian American athlete in history. If he blew out his ACL next week and never played a single game for the Warriors, he'd be a footnote, forgotten quickly and the state of how "Asian American males view their bodies" would remain essentially unchanged.

If you're really going to go there, the upcoming "K-Town" reality show is likely to be far more impactful given its potential media reach compared to Lin's. I mean, he is playing for the Warriors after all.

3) If your argument is that our sense of masculinity is dependent on switching from a White model to a Black model...I don't think this works at all, on any number of levels, least of all the insinuation that our recuperation of our bodies is linked to the domination (on the court in Lin's case) of Black bodies.

3) To the degree that Asian American men need other Asian American men in the media to be their role models...I think that's of an older generation. Shit, even when I was growing up as a kid in the 1970s, I idolized Bruce Lee and though he may have lived in the U.S., he wasn't "Asian American" in the same way I was. As is said ad nauseum, we live in a transnational era. I think today's Filipino American youth, for example, can take inspiration from Manny P. in ways where the divide between Filipino vs. Filipino American is much less relevant than it might have been a generation or two ago.

4) Most importantly, I don't think today's teenager or 20-somethings need a figure like Lin as a form of recuperation. In the absence of those kind of figures, they've just gone out and done it on their own. Hence, you end up with something like K-Town. Or John Cho. Or Daniel Dae Kim. Or the gazillion youtube stars out there. You're possibly overvaluing the relevance of professional sports as a necessary, transformative site. I'm not saying it's not relevant. But I think the stakes and landscape have shifted. My sense is that today's Asian American "young person" (I'm 37 so I'm pretty sure I don't qualify for that category anymore) is a lot more comfortable with their body than I was at their age.

So for me, I'm excited by Lin's arrival. I think it's cool as hell. I agree - it's a great story. But to me, he's more like the b-ball equivalent of the rapper Jin: he's entering into a space where, heretofore, Asian Americans had practically zil presence (no offense to Fresh Kid Ice from 2 Live Crew). However, his longterm success, while relevant from an institutional point of view (i.e. it might open up more opportunities for others), isn't as radically perception-altering as it might have seemed in the past.

Lin is just a guy. But his success or failure won't alter how I see myself nor how I think others see me.

 
At 7/28/2010 6:38 PM, Blogger Bhel Atlantic said...

Nice article. But what was the Alfonso Ribeiro reference about? Was that some sort of irony? Because on its face it seems odd, suggesting that the actor is less likely to identify as "black" because he played a character with "white" tics...?

 
At 8/01/2010 7:58 AM, Blogger Don said...

Nice read. And I can definitely see the comparisons between Lin and Jarret Jack.

That said, I believe that Jeremy Lin will have the opportunity to flourish as a Golden State Warrior.

 
At 4/19/2013 4:03 PM, Blogger Jim Philips said...

I think that it is better to have a multicultural education because different point of views make thing better. It is one of the things that I like the most of Hostpph community.

 

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