The Jeremy Lin Backlash of Anti-Asian Racism

by Heather · 29 comments

Hey guys! Huggable Heather here with another article exposing racism – this time, on New York Knick’s beloved Asian American superstar, Jeremy Lin.

Now that we’re two+ weeks into the Linsanity story, we know that he’s able to deliver more than just a few baskets or assists – he’s made 295 points, 118 assists, revitalized the NBA and, according to Forbes magazine, has singlehandedly reinvigorated the economy. Jeremy Lin seems to be bigger than himself…and in all this tumult and hype, he still remains humble and remembers why he’s here: to play basketball.

Unfortunately, there will always be bumps along the road to success – most recently, their defeat by the Miami Heat. In a game that seemed out of character for the newest sensation, Jeremy Lin only scored 8 points and had just as many turnovers, causing many people to lose faith in their humble hero from Harvard.

While I understand criticisms like Jeremy Lin needing to work on his turnovers, I don’t understand blaming the entire loss on one man. Sure, it’s nice to hail Jeremy Lin as a hero, but it’s because he’s doing his job as a point guard – passing the ball to other teammates like Chandler, Shumpert and Fields and managing to get around 20 -30 points in the meantime.

So while we are quick to attribute every win to Lin, we should remember that they win as a team. Of course, the inverse is true – when they lost against the Miami Heat, a solid team that has been on an 8 game winning streak and seeded first in the playoffs, they lost as a team.

In the heat of the moment, however, people tend to pick on those that are perceived to be mighty. It is so easy to jump on the bandwagon when the Knicks are doing great but when they fall, people desert them. So they blame the target getting the most attention – in this case, Jeremy Lin. While it is one thing to hate the player, one should never hate his race.

While I love Jeremy Lin, I’m okay with people saying mean things about his skills and it’s totally acceptable to criticize his game. I saw one that said “Jeremy Lin has more turnovers than the local bakery”. It’s actually funny…and kind of true. What is not acceptable is…this.

http://i.imgur.com/p09Lk.jpg

After their loss to the Heat, people posted to their facebooks “funny” things about Jeremy Lin and the Knicks losing.

This is not funny.

THIS IS DISGUSTING.

I don’t care who you are or where you came from. White or Black, man or woman, racism is UNACCEPTABLE. Saying that Jeremy Lin needs to go back to China or that he needs to eat more fried rice is ignorant, racist and beyond stupid.

So he loses one game. Suddenly Asians are public enemy number one? For some reason it’s okay to joke about Asians and make fun of all Asians as a whole? Somehow your personal contract with your Asian friend that states racist jokes are funny extends to all Asians? Just because you can’t make hate speech, suddenly your freedoms are threatened?

What about when Kobe and the Lakers lost miserably to the Knicks just a week prior? What if I had said Kobe had been eating too much watermelon and fried chicken to play well, or that Gasol should go back to being a migrant farm worker, or that Metta Peace (formerly Artest) was jumpin’ and jivin’, screaming “Lawdy Lawdy, I ain’t nevah done seen me a game like that!” the instant he got off the court?

We all know that wouldn’t be taken as lightly as the racism against Asian-Americans.

Of course, I am not the first to point this out. When Don Imus used the term “nappy-headed” he was fired. Jason Whitlock wrote an article about how offended he was at such a statement. This, of course, is the very same Jason Whitlock that made a reference to the small penis joke Asian-American males horrifically face.

Hypocritical much?

Some people have criticized this blog and my articles because I stand up for Asian men. Some say it’s pointless, some say it’s unnecessary, others say it’s downright idiotic.

To them, I say – look at this. Look at Alexandra Wallace. Look at all the people who thought the Japanese Tsunami was karmic retribution. Look at people losing their jobs over racial slurs and bigoted comments. THEY are the ones who are downright idiotic.

I know I am not alone, but I know what is right and I know what is racist. If we all stand together, we can show enough people that this behavior is wrong. Maybe we can’t change the minds of the people in the screen caps, but perhaps we can change the minds of the more open-minded.

It would be detrimental to let this roll of our backs in the Asian-American community. This is the same kind of internalized racism that Private Danny Chen faced before ultimately killing himself.

Being bullied, hazed, ridiculed for his race, such as being called “Dragon Lady”, “Chink” and “Gook” while simultaneously defending his tormentors rights and freedoms is so infuriating and morally incorrect. He was probably told to let it slide as well – to be the bigger man. Unfortunately, it was too much for him and he ended it the best way he knew how – by taking his own life.

I fail to see how anyone would allow themselves to be subjected to being called the n-word or told to go pick cotton in the army. The government would not tolerate that. Why they should tolerate internalized racism to Asian-Americans is beyond me.

So, dear readers, the next time you see this and simply say “it doesn’t bother me, so I won’t do anything about it”, I want you to imagine telling that to your son or daughter.

Look your Asian-American son in the eye and tell him that he needs to grow a pair for receiving racist remarks about his penis size.

Tell your Asian-American daughter to let it go when she’s called a chink or gook and ostracized for her eye shape. Tell your children that this kind of racism is okay and we don’t need to do anything about it.

If we don’t do something about this now – and always – then your children will learn that they deserve the taunts, teases and torments. Let’s take some inspiration from Jeremy Lin’s incredible story and use it to come together as a stronger community.

Let’s make sure the world for Asian-Americans for generations to come is a warm and inviting one where they only read about these stories in textbooks. That is the world I envision – let’s make it happen.

  • Long Tran

    Good article Heather.  We should not take any of it lightly.

  • B A

    Well, it’s understandable. They’re americans ;) What I notice is that most of them are black xD Fate ?

  • Cam

    I love this article because it is so bloody true! My Asian parents always told me to tolerate slurs and stay out of trouble, but from personal experience tolerating only seems to suggest weakness to the offender and equates to MORE trouble. Making a stand is usually the right way and it took me many years to figure that out. Oh and also do Martial arts, make your children do it too, it will save your life one day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003307697956 Kieran Tsao

      Don’t forget numbers. Blacks and latinos only make a stand for themselves when in groups, you’ve noticed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terence-Tan/1075556586 Terence Tan

    Most of them are blacks and claim to praise God. Does that make God a racist?

  • nahh

    this is how it goes with america

    white racist against blacks > blacks protest > blacks free from racism > blacks racist against asians

    seems legit

    • dirk

      lol

  • TP
  • Deceptivelypowerfulasianman

    Should all asian/Chinese Americans in the U.S. have several riots and burn down all the buildings in America like those Blacks while use the N words.  Let me tell you something here. These people are really uneducated ( blacks, hispanics, some whites here) . They don’t know that they get discriminated also when they say things like this. I will wait another  Latin basketball player and now it’s going to be my turn to  make a racial joke and send his Mexican ass back to tijuana (even though he is not from Mexico) once he lost a game or even better a black basketball player. i will use lots of Nigga this and NIgga that on my comments. Give him a bucket of fried chicken and send his ass back to AFrica even he was borned in America!! I’m telling you people that there is noo cure for stupid people. I was in rage when I see those comments but now I’m okay after controlling myself. I’m telling you that we still have
    lots and lots of stupid people in America. I’m asian and I know what respect is . asians are very respectful therefore you will never see comments like that out there coming from asians. I have a prosposal is that take away the teaching of respect in our  culture and be like those ANIMALS out there. I have been through war before and I can guarantee that asians can be disrespectful and voilent if we want to. These people are just jealous because he is different. NBA is all about money and they can’t stand a person (asian) who looks different makes money. I have lots to say but I’m wasting my time and yours. seriously!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003307697956 Kieran Tsao

      But maybe that’s our problem… and this extends to dating, relationships, careers… everything – we’re too “nice”. We don’t insult others. We don’t take the courage to stand up for ourselves. Go grab that date. Deny other men. Put up a fight if they’re approaching our women (hence why so many white men find it easy to get asian women… as opposed to say, muslim, indian, black women… because their men are in the way). Us being “nice” has resulted in a complete lack of respect in the social order, meaning that blacks and even latinos – recent arrivals compared to asians – are seen more at home here than asians.

  • Ericland1950

    This sort of criticism is rubbish. Shouldn’t it be the coach that should take up the criticism or at least a majority of the players instead of just Jeremy Lin?

    • Hasha

      a lot of the other players hav been taking critisms like melo

  • Terminator258

    I just read the comments posted in that image. Now, that is clearly not a perfect representation of the larger basketball fan community, but what really disturbs and disappoints me is how many of those people making those racially insensitive and racist comments were minorities, most of whom were African Americans.

    As most of us know, African Americans are the most visibly and heavily oppressed minority in this nation’s long history. However, if those comments are an accurate sample size of its larger population, then this just shows that even though one group has suffered racism doesn’t make it any more sympathetic to racism suffered at the hands of another group.

    Even though blacks have suffered a lot of racism in their history doesn’t mean that they aren’t racist themselves. If anything, one could make the argument that they are even more racist given the fact that they notice race more than a white person would, which is, to say the least, disheartening.

    I would love to hear feedback from anyone on this! Thanks.

    • kennotrussia

      It’s true that blacks are the most visibly and heavily oppressed minority even to this day, and pretty much part of anywhere in the world. Even if African Americans are more racist via a sample size, but there is more to the story than that. There is a lot of poverty amongst African Americans. Poverty breeds ignorance, low education, & less hope. It is a vicious cycle which can lead to racism. With such a long and unfair  history, I think it can happen to any race. In the world, history has been more harsh to blacks simply due to their skin being the opposite of white.

      • Terminator258

         Hi Kennotrussia,

        Thank you for responding. I agree with what you have said. Many African Americans, especially those that have grown up in poverty, are not exposed to people of different ethnicities or backgrounds. That might explain why the people who made those racially insensitive comments did not think twice before they posted them. This, however, does not excuse or condone their actions.

        Unfortunately, there are many African Americans who do not believe that they can be racist because they “are not in power.” I just wonder what the reaction would be if the opposite had happened, if a rising African American in any field were subjected to racial taunting and offensive comments like Jeremy Lin was. No doubt Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be demanding retribution.

  • Mister Wu

    Thank you Heather for sticking up for us. I can tell you really do feel hurt by these comments and not just saying so to be “politically correct”. I wish the mainstream media would give women like you more of a platform on television in this country. Asians and Asian-Americans dont really have a voice to defend themselves unlike other minorities.

    It’s basically OPEN SEASON to insult, demean and degrade Asians with impunity.  Even though you are not of Asian descent yourself I think you would make a great advocate speaking out against racism and it would be an honor, in my opinion. God bless you and keep writing for this site.

    Your words have really touched me and have renewed my faith in the goodness of human beings.

    • g g

      Yeah amen brother, I feel the same way.  Heather, you’re such an inspiration. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1506878039 Heather Johnson

        Thanks guys, you’re too kind :)

  • terkey

    Heather, if only you could see me now. I am standing up, applauding you. Well done.

  • jajabinks

    If you look at the haters, almost all of them are insecure white and black men. They can’t stand the sight of an Asian 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tracy-Domenica/100003638644394 Tracy Domenica

    Sports fans talk smack about their opponents, so there is nothing new here. What’s interesting is that so many of the posts quoted here are based on Lin’s perceived “foreignness.”
    The Lins out there will keep telling themselves that this country belongs to them as well; but that doesn’t mean the others think the same way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003307697956 Kieran Tsao

      The worrying disparity is that most whites, bar the most ardent of hardline racists, do not think this way towards blacks. Why is that? Numbers? Physical presence, violence of blacks? White guilt over slavery?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QYFSSAQFW6BIXRKLFUNGIWPW2A HIndenburg

    This white man, married to an Asian, proud papa and grandpa to bunch-of-kids, says California needs 5 million new Chinese and Korean immigrants to get a healthy culture back. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003307697956 Kieran Tsao

      the irony is that by marrying an asian you are making asians more white, Your case alone has deprived an asian man of a family, and an asian woman of asian children. So its odd that you cannot realise the irony of your comment of “needing more asians”

  • DefEnder

    This is proof everyone is against asian men. No one can deny that not only whites are racist, but as well many blacks and hispanics.

  • jr

    Quite frankly I do not give a damn about the history of blacks or their sufferings if they think it gives them the right to incite prejudice againts asian males. We all know their intentions are subversive.
    What makes me sick is that the media gives them so much visibility where as we are aggressively pigenholed to a contemptous stereotype.

    • LostOdyssey

      Asians HAVE NEVER given a dam about the history or well being of blacks FAR before Jeremy Lin so don’t give me that

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003307697956 Kieran Tsao

    It is interesting, that blacks have reached a position in America to racially abuse other groups without realising the irony. Though I do think it’s because basketball is a black majority sport, thus they feel “at home” in it – much like whites feel at home in politics or whatever, and discrimination on nonwhites for rivals (at least that was the case before Obama). Asians however, are not a majority in any sport, event etc… thus they will always be treated as a minority – and the sufferings that come with it.

    This can only be rectified by simple numbers. take UFC, despite events held in white heartlands, when you see people of latino origin fight there is no racial cussing or prejudice… why? Because there are hordes of latinos to back them up. Asians really need to number up, otherwise they will continue to suffer in white (and black) countries.

  • livetolift190

    These idiots aren’t NBA fans lol. They know nothing about basketball.