Thank you to Taylor Zhou for giving me this link about Jeremy Lin graciously lunching with ex-ESPN writer Anthony Federico, 28, who was terminated after writing the incendiary headline, “Chink in the Armor.” It speaks volumes.
Federico was amazed and touched that Lin would make time in his insanely busy schedule to have lunch with him as his request. I just love Jeremy Lin more and more!
It was an honest mistake. Chink in the Armor IS a common term, after all, and he did not realize Chink had a racial slur connotation.
They bonded. They talked about their shared Christian faith and Lin’s knee injury.
I suspected the ESPN writer’s derogatory headline was not intentional. Because, seriously, when was the last time you were called a Chink? I’m half Chinese and half Japanese and I got called a Jap once in Junior High School 35 years ago when we studied WWII history.
And in college 30 years ago while visiting Copley Plaza to research a paper on the architecture of McMead, Kim and White and H. H. Richardson, two black kids yelled out some remark to me and my then boyfriend that included Chink. He’s from Queens, NY, so it didn’t phase him at all. The boys were junior high school age, and I was, like, “WHAT did you call me?!!!” Chink is like “Oriental”; it’s just not commonly used anymore. There is prejudice still, to be sure, but it’s more insidious and subtle.
In the case of young writer, Anthony Federico, though, Chink was an honest mistake. He had no idea. He’s too young to have Chink in his vernacular. Can’t we just forgive and forget? Please give him his job back. If you agree, please fill out this poll.
A reader who teaches at Tufts University sent me this chain of emails that demonstrate the tacit exclusion of Asian Americans at their college. What do you think? Does this kind of subtle exclusion happen around you?
p.s. For more posts on Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian American When Applying to College, please go here.
I just want to bring your attention to this event and am deeply disturbed by the fact that in their brochure for this event, the organizer mentioned this forum is (particularly for African-American, Hispanic/Latino and American/Indian/Alaska Native individuals), and not Asian Americans. I remembered there is CABA and I think someone from that group should attend the event and alert the organizer regarding the situation – I just can’t believe they omit Asian Americans!!
New England Science Symposium on Sunday 4/1 at the Josph B. Martin Conference/Harvard Medical School on 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
And the point of view from a professor at Tufts:
To share 2 cents of mine with you: Asian students consist of 12% of Tufts University population where I have been teaching since 1987 even though we have only 4.43% of population in the US and 5.3% in Massachusetts. So it is not surprising that Asian is not counted as minority in terms of academic activities. That does not mean we should give up. The Asian percentage dropped from 16% several years ago to about 12% now. We were concerned but can do little.
“A visit to the University of California’s most selective campuses shows how very well Asian-American kids do academically: While Asian Americans constituted 14 percent of the state population in 2008, this fall they made up about 40 percent of the freshman class at UCLA and 37 percent of the entering class at University of California, Berkeley.
But it’s not just in California, and it’s not just in college. The 2000 Census found that 44 percent of Asian Americans had a bachelor’s degree, compared with 26 percent of the white population. Their outsize presence in higher education — critics charge some universities with enforcing tacit Asian-American quotas — has made their success legend.
In the latest report of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, standardized tests administered to U.S. elementary and secondary students, finds Asian-American students have overtaken white students’ scores in reading at the high school senior level. Asian Americans had already topped white scores at the fourth-grade level in 2007 and the eighth-grade level in 2009.
Of course, there are many ethnic subgroups of Asian Americans. So a word of statistical caution: Research on parenting practices has mostly focused on East Asians — Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. University of California and U.S. Census statistics, on the other hand, include many other smaller subgroups, such as Filipinos, South and Southeast Asians, Indonesians and Pacific Islanders.” By Kathy Seal
And the response back:
Thanks for forwarding us this info. We should definitely contact the organizers and find out what their thinking is. I won’t be surprised if they say that Asian Americans are not under-represented in this profession/area, hence justifying their particular solicitation of the rest of the minority groups. It’s an opportunity for us to think about whether that’s still okay. It’s a good time to have our own thoughts cleared and voice them – I’m referencing the public attention brought out from a few incidences related to Jeremy Lin. It’s about time.
Yes, there is a new flavor of ice cream named Taste the Lin-Sanity. Does Jeremy Lin get a cut? He should!
The frenzy that is Linsanity has yet to peak and it seems to disregard game by game results by Mr. Lin. Indeed, it’s moved into a new level such that Linsanity has a life of its own. Paramount to this is the question of race, image of Asian Americans of themselves as much as how the rest of the world perceives us, and the bastion of what was always Ebony and Ivory, the NBA. Is it weird to be in year 2012 and have a new hero much like Jackie Robinson was to the sport of baseball or Tiger Woods to golf?
Jeremy Lin is more like Jackie Robinson to me, and the hopes and dreams of Asian Americans seemed pinned to his success. What are our dreams exactly? It can be simply for a young Asian American hapa to make the NBA like my young friend Tom in 4th grade. Finally, he has a role model that he can relate to. It’s also a coolness factor. That Asian American men actually are sexy, strong, and confident despite Madison Avenue messaging that only Asian women are sex symbols.
And what do you think of Chink in the Armor? My friends, the musical group The Slants, are probably chuckling. Our world is now so PC that they — The Slants — an Asian American dance band (and very good, check them out) are denied trademark rights because they dare to denigrate themselves with racial slurs. To be honest, Chink in the Armor is a clever play on words. Very headline worthy. Catchy too. Is it too honest? That people view Lin as a Chink? Do they view him that way or was this just a headline grabber for readership? I would like to think the writer who was fired is not even racist. That’s entirely possible.
There is a whole new huge world out there that is now suddenly interested in basketball who never paused the channel before and it extends beyond the U.S.A. That Lin can engage the Asian community both here and in China is a marketer’s dream. With his squeaky clean image juxtaposed with his on court swagger, this is a new world of media images we’ve never seen before. I think it will start to extend beyond basketball. Maybe there will finally be an Asian Old Spice guy. Maybe Asian actors will be cast beyond doctors and techno geniuses.
What do you think? Did Chink in the Armor bother you or did it just bounce off your armor? Does it bother you that Linsanity is not just about his basketball ability but his race or do you accept that it’s a package deal? Do you think the hype IS caused by race? I’d love to get your opinion!
ESPN has swiftly fired the writer responsible for publishing a post about the Knicks Friday loss with title, “Chink In the Armor.” The headline went up at 2:30 am and ran for exactly 35 minutes before it was taken down.
ESPN released the following statement apologizing for the lapse in judgement:
Last night, ESPN.com’s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake.
ESPN anchor Max Bretos has also been suspended for 30 days for asking, “If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?” while on the air. Whoops, shoulda just gone with a simple, “You Lin Some, You Lose Some.”
“Floyd Mayweather Jr., the famed boxer, caused controversy when he said the other day, ‘Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.'” Lin is the first Chinese-American to not just get on the court but make a major impact in the NBA. That is huge.
Asian Harvard Grad Somehow Succeeding In New York; Or, Why I Love Jeremy Lin from DeadSpin
“Jeremy Lin, a charming 23-year-old with an economics degree from Harvard College, has somehow become the city’s ultimate underdog and talisman.”
Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning from Forbes
“The Jeremy Lin story is incredibly popular because we can all see a little bit of ourselves in this man’s struggles and now successes.”
1. Believe in yourself when no one else does.
2. Seize the opportunity when it comes up.
3. Your family will always be there for you, so be there for them.
4. Find the system that works for your style.
5. Don’t overlook talent that might exist around you today on your team.
6. People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else.
7. Stay humble.
8. When you make others around you look good, they will love you forever.
9. Never forget about the importance of luck or fate in life.
10. Work your butt off.
May we all learn from Jeremy Lin and be better for it.
“Lin breaks down, or at least penetrates, the walls that have excluded Asian Americans from popular culture.” from SLAM
image from Privy 5
Jeremy Lin is making headlines and history and the Asian American community could not be happier both for him and for presenting a different side of the stereotypical Asian American. Yet, his success is yet another example of the Asian American work ethic that is drummed into us all from birth. The fact that he’s made People Magazine as one to watch pretty much signifies that he’s reached our nation’s consciousness. Who is Jeremy Lin? Let’s see what the media says:
First Harvard Graduate to Play in the NBA Since Ed Smith in the 1950’s
Lin, whose parents emigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. in the ’70s, is the first American player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent in the NBA. Also notable: He’s the first Harvard alum to play in the league since Ed Smith’s 11-game season for the Knicks in 1953 to 1954, reports Sports Illustrated. from People
Author Wendy Shang of award winning middle grade chapter book The Great Wall of Lucy Wu sent me this article from a friend of hers who writes for SLAM Online, Your Source for the Best in Basketball.
Pride and Prejudice
Jeremy Lin and the persistence of racial stereotypes.
by David J. Leonard
What emerges is another side of Jeremy Lin. Revered and lauded by his Asian American community, he’s a lone example of an Asian American male who commands respect for his athletic prowess but remains humble and hardworking.
“Timothy Dalrymple highlights the appeal of Lin to Asian-American males:
He particularly has a following amongst Asian-Americans. And some Asian-American young men, long stereotyped as timid and unathletic, nerdy or effeminate or socially immature—have fought back tears (which may not help with the stereotype, but is understandable under the circumstances) as they watched Jeremy Lin score 25 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds for the New York Knicks.”
I like this quote a lot:
“He’s a triumph of will over genetic endowment, a fact that makes him inspiring to an entire generation of Californian kids restless with their model minority shackles,” he notes. from Andrew Leonard
“Asians are nearly invisible on television/movies/music, so any time I see an Asian on TV or in the movies, I feel like I’ve just spotted a unicorn, even though usually, I see them being portrayed as kung-fu masters/socially awkward mathematical geniuses/broken-English-speaking-fresh-off-the-boat owner of Chinese restaurant/nail salon/dry cleaners,” writes one blogger. “Anyway, this phenomenon is 10 times worse in sports. While there has been some notable progress with Asians in professional baseball, Asians are all but non-existent in the big three sports in the US (football, basketball, baseball).”
“Amid the invisibility is a history of feminization of Asian American males. When present within media and popular culture, Asian-American men have been represented as asexual, weak, physically challenged, and otherwise unmasculine. Sanctioning exclusion and denied citizenship, the White supremacist imagination has consistently depicted Asian male bodies as effeminate. The entry of Lin into the dominant imagination reflects a challenge to this historic practice given the power of sports as a space of masculine prowess.”
In a sport long dominated by African American males, Lin’s game is based on the same swagger and skills rather than on freakish proportions. It’s like he can play that game too!
“While surely offering fans the often-denied sporting masculinity within the Asian body, the power of Jeremy Lin rests with his ability to mimic a basketball style, swagger and skill associated with Black ballers. Pride emanates from the sense of masculinity afforded by Lin, a fact that emanates from stereotypical constructions of Black masculinity.”
And yet, can just one person break down the Asian American stereotyping? Perhaps not according to Leonard.
“Lin is therefore not breaking down stereotypes (maybe denting them), but in many ways reinscribing them. Celebrated as “intelligent” and as “a hustler,” his success has been attributed his intelligence, his basketball IQ, and even his religious faith. His athleticism and the hours spent on the court are erased from the discussion. And, in positioning him as the aberration, as someone worthy of celebration, the dominant media frame reinforces the longstanding stereotypes of Asians as unathletic nerds.”
David J. Leonard is Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman. He is the author of Screens Fade to Black: Contemporary African American Cinema and the forthcoming After Artest: Race and the War on Hoop (SUNY Press). Leonard is a regular contributor to NewBlackMan and blogs at No Tsuris. Follow him on Twitter @DR_DJL.
image from StreetBall.com
And yet, there s something inspiring about Jeremy Lin, if only to speak to our generation of Asian American children with real confidence and say, “Yes, you can be anything you want to be.” This is the lesson that Forbesseems to get from Jeremy’s upbringing (Tiger Mom style, of course!).
First of all, he IS 6′ 3″ after all. Having a highly-motivated (read: Tiger Dad) parent, I guess, helps. Luckily, they taught him to overcome setbacks through persistence and hard work.
“Have that golden combination of pushy parent and motivated child. Gie-Ming Lin, Jeremy’s father, himself is a basketball junkie. According to the ESPN.com storied I linked above, he was discouraged from playing as a youth in Taiwan, but taught himself the game with obsessive fervor after arriving in the United States to get his PhD at Purdue University. (How appropriate Gie-Ming Lin studied in the land of Hoosier Hysteria.) Gie-Ming Lin was no Marv Marinovich, but he started teaching Jeremy the game and putting him through drills when he (Jeremy, not Gie-Ming) was not long out of diapers. As it turned out, Jeremy was as motivated a student and Gie-Ming was a teacher. Point being, on top of having the physical talent, you need a child motivated to put in the work, and a parent motivated to support him or her putting in the work, in order to be for your child to be good enough that in case of the injustice of being benched, he or she can later show the coaches what idiots they were.
Have a child who doesn’t get too discouraged by setbacks.
After high school, Lin got no scholarship offers, so he went to Harvard, which is Division I, but as an Ivy League school offers no athletic free rides. Lin was projected as a second-round NBA draft pick by many, but ended up undrafted. Lin caught on with Golden State, but the Warriors let him go. The Knicks took him on, but had him player in the D-League and often didn’t seem to give him a passing thought. And yet, Lin played on.
Now, with a brand that is estimated to be worth $150 million, Jeremy Lin is a success story that every Asian American can get excited about.
What is your reaction to Jeremy Lin? Please share!