Thank goodness for Lin, our role model

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 12:00am
 

I am sure you have heard of the Linderella story. It doesn't matter whether you follow the New York Knicks. Jeremy Lin has become a household name.

It's hard to ignore the internet memes, Va-Lin-tine's Day declarations on Facebook and the stream of media coverage.

A Harvard graduate and Knicks' point guard, Lin has his fair share of haters, though. Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr tweeted that Lin is a 'good basketball player', but 'all the hype is because he's Asian' and that 'black players ... don't get the same praise'. I'll just add that Lin's impressive stats are proof that he's no one-hit wonder.

This Twitter bash branches into another hot topic - discrimination - and that's hardly surprising. As an Asian-American, I have grown up with few role models with a similar background. For a while, we had Bruce Lee, Lucy Liu and ... Mulan?

Sure, many TV shows - for example, sitcoms - have had a 'token' Asian or two - but when have they ever been the main focus on TV? Hearing Harry Shum speak for the first time on Glee after almost a whole season was a breakthrough in itself.

Simply put, Asian-American success hits home - so resentment makes my heart ache as well. Not only do Asian-American actors get fewer roles than their Western counterparts, musicians receive negative publicity, too. Far East Movement, the hip hop quartet best known for their song Like a G6, started performing under the name MCees Anonymous to avoid racial prejudice.

Although race became a roadblock in their early years, their hard work paid off - last year, they became the first Asian-American group to earn mainstream success, even climbing to No 1 on Billboard's Top 10.

While race-related praise can bring Lin more publicity, it still is a double-edged sword - his performance should still speak for itself. Just watch him play, and you'll see what the fuss is all about - it's Linsane not to root for him.

We have a genuine need for athletes like Lin and musicians like Far East Movement to gain media coverage. While we may not hold positions of power in the entertainment industry, the least we can do is support our community - let's say this reminder came just Lin time ...

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