Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My, what big balls you have!

An Asian-American hero.

Where?!! Where?!! Here, via the Angry Asian Man....Jeremy Lin.

Lin is a fine example of what it will take for Asian men to become empowered. So why do I think that Lin is such a hero even though he still might never play first team basketball? Simply put, the odds are so stacked against him, that to get even as far as he has is a heroic achievement.

As we all know, the idea of Asian male athletes competing successfully with non-white athletes is a paradigm far outside the realm of possibility for many people - including some Asians. The mainstream likes to (no, needs to) believe that Asian men are inherently weaker or slower than they, and for some Asian cultures a career in sport is somewhat shameful and so they don’t encourage their sons to partake, let alone excel. Of course, even more ominously, some Asian boys are told by their families that they are too small, or too weak to compete with westerners, and so mentally they are set up to fail.

Furthermore, many Asian boys feel the weight of media stereotyping to be an almost insurmountable hurdle to their success. This is why Lin’s example is powerful; he has apparently been single-minded in working for what he wants. Stereotypes, negativity, and racism have not stopped him from striving. Most interestingly, Lin never seems to cite a lack of media role models as a hurdle to his determination to succeed, or his belief that he can succeed. This, for me, is the most important point and one that I will probably expand upon in a later post.

In the meantime, kudos to Jeremy Lin!

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