If I were to ask some random American friends about how they see Asians in America, they would say……nerds, kung fu masters, scientists, Math wizards and so on. Although there is a solid truth behind this admiration, Asian Americans, even the most popular ones, face racism and discrimination. NBA player Jeremy Lin has no escape to this.
Lin’s ethnicity became an issue in the basketball scene when boxing icon Floyd Mayweather twitted; “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he is Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.” It was posted by Mayweather on February 2012, something that started a buzz specially to Asian-Americans in the Internet.
Lin, (born Jeremy Shu-How Lin) is a professional basketball player who is currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakes of the NBA. His stardom started when he unexpectedly led his team the New York Knicks while he played as a guard.
After unexpectedly leading the NY Kick’s victory on 2012, a “Linasity” fever flew in the air, which then turned out to be the name title of Lin’s life documentary. Linasity was finally brought to the big screen in 2013 and throughout the documentary, Lin cited how his ethnicity affected his career emphasizing that no issue would have happened if he was black. The film was a Kickstarter project backed by more than two thousand donators.
Basketball is a game dominated by black Americans and if you are one, you would be a part of the norm. It wasn’t ‘til Yao Ming step into NBA that Asians created a buzz around the basketball arena. Even Ming had to catch a few of those racial jokes. Stepping back in 2002, NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal was a center of the media’s attention when he said “tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching chong yang, wah, ah soh'” during an interview.
While racism jokes and other discriminations could happen to big names like Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin, average Asian Americans are not exceptional. Take for example this Vietnamese descent friend of mine who happened to have the privilege to step into an Ivy League school in Massachusetts.
Making friends wasn’t easy for him at the beginning of the school year. He saw how some students grouped their selves. The whites are with the whites and the black with the blacks as so the Asians are with other Asians. Being an introvert himself didn’t help either. So his first few days were spent alone in the cafeteria studying and listening to music.
But, the school year ends with a big difference for him. He gained friends, lots of them. No, they aren’t just Asians but students of different races. He found out the secret formula; to treat each fellow student individually with respect according to who they are and not where they come from.
We could only wish that everyone posses such mind like of my friend’s. Things would have been way easier and diversity wouldn’t even exist.