I know next to nothing about basketball, but I do know racism when I see it. Some facts; Jeremy Lin was born in California. He went to Palo Alto High School and then Harvard University. You know, THAT Harvard. He is the first AMERICAN of Chinese/Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA.
The first. So maybe people and the media can be forgiven for their misguided, ignorant and outright racist coverage of this very talented athlete. NOPE. This is 2012, mother fuckers. We’ve all seen Blazing Saddles. We were raised on Afterschool Specials and “very special” episodes of Diff’rent Strokes. You should know racism when you fucking see it.
Jason Whitlock (after Lin posted 38 points against the Lakers), a Fox Sports News columnist tweeted (I won’t repeat it here, but it plays into stereotypes and is, well, RACIST) a comment that if an Asian reporter for Fox tweeted something similar about a players race, he would have been immediately fired.
I live in Wrigleyville and every year I get to see the racist t-shirts on sale. “Horry Kow”, “Pujols Mows My Lawn”, and more. It’s annoying and frustrating.
Check out some of the astoundingly racist items in the media:
Look, we get it. He’s Asian. But he’s not. He’s American. If anything he’s Asian-American. By making him “different” than American, by identifying him as “something other”, you belittle him and generalize. “Oh, he’s so good at basketball… you know, for an Asian.”
MSG Network ran this photo during the game. Their excuse has been that it was a fan-made sign… yeah, but you focused the cameras on it and ran it during the game! It’s not like some racist boob hacked your signal… you made the choice, a-holes.
And then there was this… after the Knicks lost to the Hornets on Friday night, ESPN mobile ran this:
Are you fucking kidding me?
*sigh* Maybe I’m being over sensitive. Maybe I’m reflecting my own experiences onto this strange phenomena. (hey, I spelled “phenomena” correctly the very first try and without spellcheck. Good on me, eh?) I know I’m a comedian or a satirist or whatever, and maybe I should just go with the “jokes.” These aren’t jokes. It’s a pattern of racism that no one seems to be fighting on a large scale. Sure lots of blogs are saying “tsk tsk” but big shit. Where’s the condemnation of an outraged media that accompanies the mere perceived slur upon African-Americans, Christians, and other perhaps more vocal groups? When Whitlock tweeted that slur, what did “we” do? Well, we wrote a stern letter. What are we, the UN? Where are the calls for his firing? Goddamnit, Asian American groups get your shit together!
Recently, I had an argument with a friend who didn’t get “racism.” If the remarks are good and complimentary then how can it be racist? A believe or statement based solely on someone’s race is, by definition, racist.
I’m reminded of this exchange from “Silence of the Lambs”:
CRAWFORD: Starling, when I told the sheriff we shouldn’t talk in front of a woman, that really burned you, didn’t it? It was just smoke, Starling. I had to get rid of him.
STARLING: It matters, Mr. Crawford. Cops look at you to see how to act. It matters.
CRAWFORD: Point taken.
The point here is that when the media, with their editors, directors, and producers do this sort of thing it trickles down and becomes more and more unrefined and gross. Suddenly, the t-shirts, the posters, the blogs become even more venal, racist and just mean.
Jeremy Lin is an American of Asian descent who happens to be good at basketball. Let’s not all lose our shit and forget to use our brains.