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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Spotlight on Lin casts shadow on media, US

    The recent success of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has exposed ingrained racism in the media, and in the U.S., against Asian-Americans.

    Lin, who graduated high school with academic and athletic honors, had his basketball talents largely ignored early on. Though he won many state athletic awards and was named first-team All State for his success in high school, most colleges undervalued his basketball skills, and he didn’t receive a single athletic scholarship. However, Lin was rewarded for his academic achievements. He attended Harvard University and was guaranteed a spot on the basketball team.

    Lin improved his game in college but only sporadically received national media attention. He graduated in 2010 with a degree in economics, but was not drafted by any NBA team.

    Over the next two years, Lin bounced around the NBA D-League but saw limited playing time. Lin signed with the Knicks on Dec. 27. More than a month later, the struggling New York team gave Lin his first chance. Lin took full advantage, scoring 25 points and delivering seven assists. Everyone started asking, “Where did this guy come from?” But he’s been there all along, dismissed for his race. Lin-sanity surprised everyone.

    “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian,” tweeted African-American champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. earlier last week. “Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”

    Even though Mayweather’s comments are insensitive to all the hard work Lin has done, he might be scratching the surface to why Lin has struggled with racism. The U.S. is a country of stereotypes, and when someone breaks these stereotypes, everyone is shocked.

    Lin’s success hasn’t only exposed how surprised Americans are when an individual breaks the norm, but his arrival has revealed how racism toward Asians is thought of as being more acceptable than other minorities.

    It’s one thing when drunken, ignorant fans yell obscenities at a game, but when racial stereotypes are used so nonchalantly in the media by professionals, there are dangerous consequences.
    ESPN used the phrase “Chink in the armor” twice, once as a headline and once in an article by Anthony Federico. Max Bretos, an anchor on SportsCenter used it in a newscast. Federico was fired and Bretos was suspended.

    FoxSports.com writer Jason Whitlock takes the prize with his tweet, “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.” Days later, he gave an unsatisfying apology: “I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.” In other words, he’s sorry for ruining the mood, but not for what he actually said.

    It’s hard to find a major TV network in the U.S. that makes blatant racist remarks of any kind, and the media companies made the right call by reacting swiftly and harshly. However, it’s shameful that some Americans still believe that stereotypes are harmless. Hopefully ESPN’s and FoxSports’ actions send the message that racism is not a joke.

    Lin has taken the right approach by ignoring the hate and continuing to work hard. It’s appalling that he has to under these stereotypes, but one can only hope that we as a society can learn and grow.

    _— Luke Davis is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions . _

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