A few days ago some YouTube commenters got a little (well, a lot) hot under the collar about this blogger’s assertion that Jeremy Lin’s popularity was fueled mostly by the fact that he was the first American-born Asian NBA basketball player.
As I said in my video, anyone who breaks a racial (or sexual) barrier is to be celebrated. Moreover, we have to address the race issue just to explain why the breaking of the said barrier is important. My video:
Now, here’s ESPN pushing the race issue more forward in our face than even Floyd Mayweather has done. Not only did they rub salt in the wound by using the term “chink” as in “Chink in the Armor” in describing Lin’s nine turnovers in the NY Knicks’ 89-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets Friday night. The loss ended the Knicks’ seven game win streak, just when I said they would need to win five more for Linsanity to have any real meaning, because at that point, assuming the Philadelphia 76ers and the other NBA teams in the Atlantic Division fell, the Knicks would be challenging for first place.
But that news of the loss was overshadowed by the insult. And while it seems that the use of the word may have been unintentional, and ESPN has apologized, the action points to the considerable institutional racism that’s still within American Society. But on the bright side, Lin’s surge is activating a kind of giant social correction action that needed to happen long ago.
The overall message is race does matter, always. It may matter positively or negatively, but race is always a factor. The worst situation is to say “I don’t see color” because that’s a lie, and also exposes the possibility that the person doesn’t even know the motivation for how they acted was based on race – or worse, that they did know it, and covered it up.
And if you still don’t think race matters in the Jeremy Lin discussion, look at the location of search popularity for the keyword “Jeremy Lin.” According to Google Insight For Search as of this writing, the country most active in searching for Jeremy Lin content online is not the United States, it’s Hong Kong. In fact, the United States is behind Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines – all Asian countries – in search intensity for Jeremy Lin.
Sorry folks, the Jeremy Lin issue is about race.