author: Scott Kurashige (Associate professor of American culture and history, University of Michigan)
This article exhibits a social left perspective.
The author acknowledges Jeremy Lin’s success as the first Asian American marquee player in NBA history but worries how the story is interpreted by American news commentators. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and right now they are combined with bad analogies and partial knowledge, So he issues a plea (indeed, 3,) on behalf of all Asian Americans to ensure that Linsanity doesn’t « jump the shark before its time »:
1) Enough with the Tim Tebow comparisons.
If you must link this great story to something providential, « History will forever remember Jackie Robinson as the first African American in Major League Baseball. But Robinson’s faith in God played a key role in his reaction to the racial taunts he faced when he began playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. »
2) Stop trying to turn Linsanity into a Black-Asian rivalry thing.
Folks who lived through the 1960s remember that there was a worldwide movement for « Afro-Asian solidarity » and…[i]n fact, Al Sharpton, who once backed a boycott of a Korean American-owned grocery, has become one of Jeremy’s biggest fans: « We’ve been waiting for a movement like this for decades. Americans have hope again, and there’s real change in the air. It’s got people from Wall Street to Main Street looking for their own diamond in the rough. It’s about looking past the surface, beyond the stereotypes, and giving unlikely people a chance. »
3) Linderella is not a neo-conservative fairytale of bootstrap success
Please stop using a distorted version of Jeremy’s story to justify your neo-conservative theories of bootstrap success (that everyone has an equal chance to succeed if you work hard), such as citing Jeremy Lin’s ‘How to Get into Harvard’ as evidence that Asian Americans exhibit a dedication to education that you presume is lacking in other ethnic groups you wrongly believe are just skating by through affirmative action— since in fact ‘How to Get into Harvard’ is a satire that presumes an Asian-American stereotype which, before an Asian American has truly risen above all the slights and stereotypes he and the rest of us have faced to become a true superstar, can only be joked about.
But we’ve never had a chance to revel in the neo-conservative legend of Linderella—one that we can embrace with total sincerity alongside millions of Americans of every race, color, and creed doing likewise.
- Jeremy Lin emerges as emblem of burgeoning Asian-American Christianity (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
- Jeremy Lin row reveals deep-seated racism against Asian-Americans | Hadley Freeman (guardian.co.uk)