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.

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

This is not funny.


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.