Sunday, February 19, 2012

Racial Awareness Thanks to Jeremy Lin

At the moment, there is a quite a bit of discussion of ESPN's decision to use the headline "Chink In The Armor" on their website.  The headline was describing the New York Knicks loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night and likely a reference to a big weakness in Jeremy Lin's basketball game:  Turnovers.

However, the term "Chink" has some negative connotations in the Chinese American community and that caused a minor uproar.  ESPN removed the headline and apologized for it today.

Personally, as a Chinese-American, I don't think the headline "Chink In The Armor" was meant to be offensive.  The headline (or phrase) is generally used to indicate weakness.  However, it just so happened to be describing Jeremy Lin and so I see why people would be offended.

Regardless of what you think of the ESPN uproar, I think that Jeremy Lin's sudden rise has sudden given Americans (and the entire world) to an inside look of what Asian-Americans have to deal with.  There have been quite a few national newspapers which have discussed this.

While Asian-Americans are a large part of the American culture and society,  many non-Asian Americans do not know the history of Asian-Americans and the stereotyping and racism that was faced by Asian-Americans over the years.

From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese Interment Camps to Vincent Chin, there is a history of Americans viewing Asian-Americans as foreigners or a threat to their society.  Yet, when racial politics are discussed in America, it is usually a Black or White affair.  Asians (and even Latinos) are not part of the discussion.

Jeremy Lin is bringing an awareness of the Asian-American community that should benefit everyone in the future.

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