Tag Archives: race

Linsanity: Chink In the Armor Fallout

LinSanity ice cream, Linsanity, Jeremy Lin, race and LinsanityYes, 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.”

from Gawker

Some more interesting articles sent by friends. Thanks Tai, Nathalie and Tim!

Linsanity: A Marketer’s Dream from CNN

“From a marketing perspective for the Knicks, Lin’s popularity is proving a boon — last week his No.17 jersey was outselling those of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.”

Is Linsanity Hype Caused by Race? from CNN

“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.



Harvard/Princeton Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe (Bloomberg)

Harvard Asian American discrimination Princeton JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

“The prevailing college admission policy artificially places highly qualified Asian-American applicants to compete against each other rather than against the general pool of all applicants, instilling such a fear that many Asian-Americans hide their own racial identity” on applications, the committee stated in December.” from Bloomberg


Finally, someone is willing to file a complaint with the Department of Education on the lopsided Affirmative Action policy for college and universities that now pits all Asian Americans against each other despite the fact that Asian Americans come from with vastly different socio-economic backgrounds. This is the latest article in a whole string of articles since this issue has been brewing for several decades. For all the articles on how Asian Americans face discrimination when applying to top colleges and universities, please go here.

Highlights from the Bloomberg article are below. The full article is here.

  •  The department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint it received in August that Harvard rejected an Asian- American candidate for the current freshman class based on race or national origin, a department spokesman said.
  • The new complaints, along with a case appealed last September to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging preferences for blacks and Hispanics in college admissions, may stir up the longstanding debate about whether elite universities discriminate against Asian-Americans, the nation’s fastest- growing and most affluent racial category.
  • Asian-American applicants have to outperform their counterparts from other backgrounds on the SAT to gain entry to elite universities, recent studies show.
  • “Clearly, both whites and Asian-Americans are discriminated against vis a vis African-Americans and Latinos,” said Roger Clegg, the center’s president. “At some of the more selective schools, Asians are also discriminated against vis a vis whites.”
  • Because many Asian-Americans come from families that arrived in the U.S. relatively recently, they are less likely than whites to qualify for preference as alumni children, Clegg said. “Stereotyping takes place too” of Asian-Americans, he said.
  • If all other credentials are equal, Asian-Americans need to score 140 points more than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and 450 points above African-Americans out of a maximum 1600 on the math and reading SAT to have the same chance of admission to a private college, according to “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal,” a 2009 book co-written by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade.
  • There are 14.7 million Americans of Asian descent only, plus 2.6 million who are multiracial including Asian, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The combined 17.3 million comprises 5.6 percent of the population, up 46 percent from 2000. Median household income for single-race Asian-Americans exceeds $65,000, compared with a national average of $50,000. Half of those 25 and older hold college degrees, almost double the national average.
  • It also documented that Harvard admitted Asian-Americans at a lower rate than white applicants even though the Asian- Americans had slightly stronger SAT scores and grades. Nevertheless, the agency concluded in 1990 that Harvard didn’t violate civil rights laws because preferences for alumni children and recruited athletes, rather than racial discrimination, accounted for the gap.

CalTech Admissions: This is What a Meritocracy Looks Like (But It Ain’t Pretty for Everyone)

Caltech Meritocracy JadeLuckClub Asian American College Admissions Discrimination against Asians

Students of Asian descent often receive no boost in admissions, unlike blacks and Hispanics, although they are racial minorities.

In fact, admissions officers set the bar higher for these students. 

“Applicants to Caltech are clearly seen as representing only themselves and their own individual merit and achievement, not their race or their ethnic group.”

from American Civil Rights Blog, Caltech’s Meritocracy by La Shawn Barber

This was published on the American Civil Rights blog. For those who believe in Affirmative Action, take a look at Caltech who firmly rejects the idea of admissions as a vague and nebulous “catch up” game for some minority groups, while ignoring a negative impact on other minority groups. Affirmative Action is a party that Asian Americans don’t want to attend anymore. No thank you! There are very few colleges that buck the notion of Affirmative Action but Caltech is the gold standard for an admissions policy built around merit, judging each candidate as an individual. Using test scores. In fact, if you scored a 775 out of 800 on the math portion of the SAT, 75% percent of your Caltech classmates will have outscored you. This is what doesn’t matter: legacy, athletic ability, and ethnicity. Here’s what does matter: a passion and ability  for math and science.

How does this play out from an Affirmative Action perspective? The result is:  Asians 40%, Caucasians 39% , Hispanics 6%, Non-Hispanic Black, less than 1%. (Class of 2008 data listed below). See my other post on Affirmative Action Hurts Caucasians and Asians.

This is not to say that I think that this is the correct distribution of minorities NOR that this is the right system for all colleges and universities. In fact, I do NOT think that less than 1% Non-Hispanic Black is good for society or for diversity within a college. Nor is 6% Hispanic high enough.  CalTech is unique because it is a specialized math and science focused college that also can get funding from outside of its alumni base BECAUSE it is a prestigious math and science powerhouse. My point of this article is just to illustrate what a meritocracy looks like in its pure state and to show that the percentage of Asians is quite high.

For all the posts on Don’t Identify as Asian When You Apply to College, click here.

Caltech’s Meritocracy

by LA SHAWN BARBER on 12/23/2010

Princeton University’s Russell K. Nieli, author of the forthcoming book, Wounds that Will Not Heal: Affirmative Action and Our Continuing Racial Divide, revealed that students of Asian descent often receive no boost in admissions, unlike blacks and Hispanics, although they are racial minorities. In fact, admissions officers set the bar higher for these students. In a pure meritocratic sense, the practice is ill-conceived.

Wounds that Will Not Heal: Affirmative Action and Our Continuing Racial Divide by Russell K. Nieli

In a recent essay at Minding the Campus, Nieli writes that America’s elite colleges and universities capitulated to ridiculous demands during the 1960s and, among other things, lowered their standards. The California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, stands alone among the elite. By admitting students based on grades and scores and not on race, the school blows the rest out of the water. An excerpt (emphases added):

“What this means is that at Caltech, there are no dumb jocks, dumb legacies, or dumb affirmative action students. It is clear from its published statistics that the non-academic criteria that preoccupy admissions committees at all other elite universities count for little at this beacon of pure meritocracy. Perhaps the most striking difference from all other elite universities — including institutions like MIT and the University of Chicago which forgo athletic recruitment — is Caltech’s complete indifference to racial balancing. In a state and a region of the country with the largest Hispanic population, Caltech’s entering freshmen class in 2008 was less than 6 percent Hispanic (13 out of 236). The unwillingness to lower standards for a larger black representation is even more striking — less than 1 percent (2/236) of Caltech’s 2008 entering freshmen were listed as ‘non-Hispanic black.’ This ‘underrepresentation’ of blacks and Hispanics, of course, was more than made up for by the huge ‘overrepresentation’ of Asians. Only 4 percent of the U.S. population, Asians made up a whopping 40 percent of the incoming freshmen class in 2008, a slightly larger proportion than the 39 percent figure for whites. Applicants to Caltech are clearly seen as representing only themselves and their own individual merit and achievement, not their race or their ethnic group. As a professor at Caltech who has taught there for many years explained to me in an email, ‘We try, like our competitors, very, very hard to find, recruit, and nurture underrepresented minorities but we won’t bend our standards.’”

Let’s read these words again: “Applicants to Caltech are clearly seen as representing only themselves and their own individual merit and achievement, not their race or their ethnic group.”

“Applicants to Caltech are clearly seen as representing only themselves and their own individual merit and achievement, not their race or their ethnic group.”

Such should be the aspiration of every individual, regardless of race, ethnic background, or class. We should aspire to be assessed and judged based on our merit and achievement, with race playing absolutely no part in an admissions or hiring or contracting decision. In Caltech’s case, it matters little if only two blacks are admitted for a particular year. Those students know, without a doubt, their grades and scores got them in.

According to Nieli, Caltech doesn’t do legacy admissions, either.

“If you can’t meet the stellar performance requirements and show an intense love for science and mathematics, Caltech isn’t interested in you and will not lower its standards. When you apply to Caltech the admissions committee is interested only in your intellectual merit and passion for learning. It has little or no interest in your family heritage, your race, or your skill in slapping around a hockey puck.”

I don’t know about you, but those words sound like music to my ears. Oppressed people longed to be treated like this! Only when race plays no part in an admissions or hiring or contracting decision can individuals truly strive to excel, knowing their race or ethnicity will provide neither benefit nor detriment to their prospects.

This kind of “rugged individualism” scares some people. For others, it’s part of life’s joy. There are no guarantees of success, but the game is yours to lose. It’s very frustrating to me that people don’t see this and instead choose to believe the world is against them because of their race and rely on race-based government policy to prop them up.

To view Nieli’s book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.