The Alarming Rise of Jeremy Lin's Black Antagonists
Floyd Mayweather, one of Jeremy Lin's many black critics
Even non-sports fans had to enjoy watching Jeremy Lin almost single-handedly win six games in a row for the New York Knicks after sitting on the bench for most of his NBA career. Overnight, Lin went from a nobody development league player to the toast of New York City, and all via a glorious burst of athleticism that rivaled the greats of old. The world loves a Cinderella story, especially when the little guy is like Lin, a kindhearted, good-looking underdog with a Harvard degree and a deep faith in God. Everything was beautiful. But then came the bowing.
After a particularly electrifying point in the Knicks game against the Nets, when Lin had gotten nearly all of Madison Square Garden to its feet and cheering, Lin's teammate Carmelo Anthony, approached the point guard, locked eyes with him, and bowed. It might have been a less inappropriate gesture if Lin were from Japan, where bowing is customary, but Lin is Taiwanese-American, and people don't bow in Taiwan. In other words, Anthony was bowing to Lin simply because he's Asian. Lin, who has spoken openly about the slurs he's encountered throughout his life, was a good sport about it, bowing back immediately—and in the grand scheme of racist gestures, Anthony's falls low on the totem pole. But that doesn't make it any less stupid or offensive. And, unfortunately, it doesn't end there.'>
Of all the ups and downs of Lin's brief but exciting tenure atop America's cultural heap—a historic first start, manipulating the stock market, outmatching the older and far more experienced Kobe Bryant—the ugliest part has been the racism to which he's been exposed. Worse still, a lot of this bigotry is coming at the hands of black people, who, one would think, should know better.
Eddie Murphy once joked—rather offensively—that Asian people suffer relentless mockery from the black community. Murphy was kidding, of course, but, as with many jokes, there was a kernel of truth there, which has been confirmed in the wake of Lin's ascent. One might be able to brush away Anthony's bowing as mostly benign, the innocent mistake of someone ignorant to a cultural detail. But then came this series of tweets from filmmaker and devoted Knicks fan Spike Lee, considered by many to be a black thought leader:
When some of Lee's Twitter followers admonished him for resorting to kung fu flicks to find Lin a nickname, Lee blasted back, saying that stereotyping is "not the spirit in which [he] works."
Six days after Lee's Twitter barrage, in the hours after yet another great performance from Lin, Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock took to his own Twitter account to congratulate Lin. "Jeremy Lin is legit!" he tweeted. But then this came out: