Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Jeremy Lin Matters

Lots being written these days about Jeremy Lin, basketball player, and the fact that he's Asian-American and one of the few Asians in the NBA.  Angry Asian Man has a blog roundup of Linsanity posts;  Racialicious warns that a great deal of Linsanity is about race.  I'm watching a news show right now, where they're talking about a televised image of Jeremy Lin's head emerging from a fortune cookie as a racist image. So clearly there are a lot of layers to Linsanity, including this post by an Asian mom about what Jeremy Lin means to her 3.5-year-old son, and what he would have meant to her as a young girl facing racism in America:
Jeremy Lin is riding a well-deserved wave of goodwill and adulation. After being undrafted and waived by not one, but two, NBA teams last year, the 23-year-old point guard for the New York Knicks has become the sport's latest sensation.

And Asian-Americans are loving it.

Each time Lin shows off his skills on the basketball court or does an on-air interview where — surprise! — he has no accent, he helps Asian-Americans get one step closer to being accepted as "real" Americans.

Like millions of other viewers last week, my family was glued to the TV watching the Knicks defeat the Los Angeles Lakers. Like most Americans, my 31/2 - year-old son Kyle had never seen an Asian-American basketball player in the NBA. Pointing at Lin, he shouted, "That's me! He looks like me!"

What a difference a few decades make.

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