Last month I wrote about the unfortunate pattern of Asian American stereotypes in ads. Which is why I was especially happy to see this great Nike commercial featuring Jeremy Lin, point guard for the Golden State Warriors and the first Chinese or Taiwanese American to play for the NBA.

Lin wasn’t drafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, and many argued that being Asian played a big role in his underrecruitment.  And even now, as a pro baller, Lin has to deal with racism on a regular basis:

Some people still can’t look past his ethnicity. Everywhere he plays, Lin is the target of cruel taunts. “It’s everything you can imagine,” he says. “Racial slurs, racial jokes, all having to do with being Asian.”

Remember earlier this month when Fox Sports produced that racist segment mocking Asian immigrant students at USC for their lack of knowledge about college football (and their funny accents, of course)?  Blech.  Fox Sports was quick to apologize and immediately canceled “The College Experiment”, but not before the damage was done.  As University of Colorado professor Darryl Maeda put it,

“This is demeaning to millions of Asian Americans who have put down deep roots in the United States, claim English as their language and root vigorously for their favorite sports teams.”

Hear, hear!

And that’s also why we need to see more role models like Jeremy Lin in the media.  As an Asian American pro athlete, and a damn good one at that, Lin is breaking all kinds of old and tired stereotypes that are still way too prevalent.

 

— CKH

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