Jeremy Lin and ESPN’s recent racist headline has made its own headlines all week. Below is a small, but not all inclusive sampling of commentary from the past week:

Asian American Journalists Association issues Media Advisory on how to discuss Jeremy Lin:

“As NBA player Jeremy Lin’s prowess on the court continues to attract international attention and grab headlines, AAJA would like to remind media outlets about relevance and context regarding coverage of race. In the past weeks, as more news outlets report on Lin, his game and his story, AAJA has noticed factual inaccuracies about Lin’s background as well as an alarming number of references that rely on stereotypes about Asians or Asian Americans.” See guidelines…

The Headline, the Tweet, and the Unfair Significance of Jeremy Lin (Jay Caspian King):

“These have been a revealing two weeks, not only for the Asian American community or the Ivy League basketball community or the talent evaluator committee, but also for watchdogs, handwringers, and pulpit-thumpers. Not since Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has there been so much national discussion about the appropriateness of discussing race. The 2008 election set the groundwork for an aggressive sort of colorblindness — as long as you voted for Barack and/or can celebrate, say, Jackie Robinson, you now have the right to flag down anything that might shake us from our post-racial dream. Statements like “I see everybody equally, therefore everyone should just talk about him as a basketball player” and accusations of “playing the race card” have become even more ubiquitous.”

Jeremy Lin and Narratives Among People of Color (Ryan Davis):

“In a 2006 San Francisco Gate article, Richard Twu (the executive director of San Francisco’s Dream League), was quoted, ‘We don’t have anything to call our own yet…What I mean by that is, anything homegrown here in the U.S., from our own ‘hoods, not imported by our parents. Sushi, Chinese opera and kung fu don’t count.’ The self-exclusion vs. self-preservation argument is not a new one, and not unique to Asian-American culture. And it is not an argument this author wishes to engage now. Instead, Jeremy Lin is forcing people to reconsider who/what can make an elite NBA athlete. This is not the first time, but it provides a unique opportunity to examine how People of Color write their narratives into U.S. culture.”

When it Comes to Sports, Race Still Matters (David Leonard):

Race matters when examining the media representations of Black athletes, whether were talking about the demonization of Michael Vick (the most despised athlete in America), Barry Bonds, or LeBron James; it matters in look at the stories of redemption afforded to Ben Roethlisberger and Josh Hamilton, or the lack of media attention directed at Kevin Love following his recent stomp.  To deny the impact and significant of race with Lin is as absurd as deploying “the race denial card” in these contexts as well. To imagine Lin outside of the scope of race and racism, or to isolate race as something usual in this instance, especially given the ways that the NBA is associated with blackness (the subtext here feels as if the discussion is being reduced to anti-Asian prejudice from African Americans), represents an immense failure.”

Breakout Stars Shine Light on those Left Out (William C. Rhoden):

“When was the last time a young, untested professional African-American athlete had been on the receiving end of this type of adulation? Specifically, adulation that had more to do with positive, universal characteristics — faith, humility, selflessness — than with athletic acumen. The intensity and suddenness of Lin and Tebow’s acceptance has led to a flotilla of half-baked ideas about sports and religion and ill-conceived, even insulting notions about race and ethnicity. Examples involving African-American athletes were difficult to come by, especially adhering to the criterion of athletes who had come from out of the blue, because very few athletes do these days.”

The Asian Basketball Leagues that Helped Create Linsanity (Jamilah King):

“’Basketball emerged in a segregated setting,’ says Kathy Yep, a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who spent her childhood playing in Asian American leagues just south of San Francisco. Yep is also author of the book ‘Outside the Paint: When Basketball Ruled at the Chinese Playground.’ ‘People were segregated by law in terms of immigration, citizenship and marriage, and then de facto white privilege regarding housing and employment. It made sense for them to have their own leagues in part because of the segregated environment of that time period.’

Please Allow Jeremy Lin to — Play (D.K. Wilson)

“For, when the inevitable tailing off sets in for Lin, the gears of the Wurlitzer will enmesh and shift the, “He’s the greatest” screaming hyperbolic arc to, “Isn’t that something. He’s not so great after all. How could he have fooled us like this?” And the “experts” will engage in very public gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and further engage in seemingly very public self-flagellation – “did we push him too far too fast?” Talk, talk, talk. And after the requisite 48 hour cycle of quasi-inward turning criticism passes, that same press will turn on its trusty co-dependents, the public, and blame that public for begging for a new hero to look to, rather than seeking to find the hero in themselves or in their neighborhoods.”


Related: Behind the Linsanity: What’s Real and What’s Not

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