Lin-ks and conversations about race

Yesterday afternoon, after church, a few of us got together to watch the Knicks game. And what a game it was–on yet another big stage, this time against Dirk Nowitzki and the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, J-Lin stepped up and performed.

28 points, 14 assists, 5 steals (to go with 7 turnovers).

What an afternoon!

Taking a step back, it’s also been fascinating to see how the world and the media has responded to Jeremy’s emergence, particularly where it relates to his ethnicity. Just as Barack Obama’s coming into the spotlight triggered a number of race-related reactions (and continues to do so), so also has Jeremy Lin’s presence in the spotlight. While some–like my friend John–have welcomed J-Lin’s ascent, others like Floyd Mayweather and Rex Chapman have demonstrated a glaring lack of sensitivity.

But it’s started conversations. It’s gotten people talking. It’s made people realize that, (at least where it pertains to this episode) when it comes to Asian Americans, there’s still a lot of uncertainty and awareness about how to talk about issues of race and ethnicity. It’s challenging people’s assumptions about Asian Americans (and helping them realize those assumptions in the first place!). As Rick Quan writes,

he is starting to change not just the way general managers and pro scouts look at Asian-Americans playing sports, but also the way our society thinks about them.

So … we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, Angry Asian Man regularly posts collections of Lin-ks. Enjoy:

And to close, another article on his faith, with this line:

“He knows that everything that he has is a gift from God,” [Lin’s pastor, Stephen] Chen says. “Even the hard times.”


Welcome to the bigs, Jeremy Lin

If you’re not Asian (American), not into professional basketball, or don’t have a number of Facebook-active Asian-American friends, you probably haven’t heard about Jeremy Lin.

If you are Asian (American), into professional basketball, or have a number of Facebook-active Asian-American friends, there’s a high probability that you haven’t heard about anything but Jeremy Lin.

J-Lin is the newly-minted starting point guard for the New York Knicks, the first American player in the NBA of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, and has been catapulted into the national spotlight with three assured performances for the struggling Knicks, leading them to guarantee his contract earlier this week.

What a journey for Lin. (You can read more of his story via the Wiki link above or here.)

And while I’m still rooting for Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder (on account of my Seattle love bleeding over), I’m starting to check the scores every time the Knicks play.

First and foremost, Lin’s a legit baller. But beyond that, he’s an Asian American breaking new ground, an InterVarsity alum, and unapologetic Christian. And for all of those reasons, I want to see him succeed.

He’s also stirred up some thoughts about race and culture among many of my friends, and I’ll be sharing some of those in the coming weeks. But for now … get caught up on #Linsanity by reading some of these Lin-ks (see what I did there?!):

A Day in the Life:

Links of the Day, November 23

Matt Logue’s book, “Empty Los Angeles.”