Do not let the CollegeHumor icon in the bottom corner fool you – this was in fact a real headline for ESPN.com, which was quickly taken down once the network realized how offensive the pun was to Asian-Americans. Unless people have been living under a rock, sports fans from all walks of life have been proudly stricken with LINSANITY for the Asian sensation that is Jeremy Lin.
So Lin had a poor performance in this particular game that led to the New York Knicks snapping their winning streak, so someone thought it was clever to use the derogatory term of chink in this manner. Sure, it is ingenious word play technically, but it does not make it any more appropriate.
Like I have said before in a previous blog post, I would be a hypocrite to say that I do not throw out the occasional racial joke and whatnot (half of the time I am making fun of my inept math skills as an Asian-American). But still, I still believe there is a time and place for such things, and to plaster this kind of racist headline is extremely out of place and unwarranted.
Lin has been a rising star, capturing the hearts of the Asian community in particular. Especially in the sports world, Asians are extremely rare to see outside of people like Yao Ming or Ichiro Suzuki. One could argue that Lin’s booming popularity is attributed to his ethnicity, but people are always quick to hone in on key traits of people (their gender, their college education, their financial background and so forth – race is just one of many aspects considered in the equation).
Anyway, the headline was a boneheaded move. If a different player played a mediocre game, would the headline be linked to that player’s race? No, probably not. America would soon start widespread riots before someone could get away with a racist headline aimed at black people for instance.
Basically, I wish America would catch up and realize that more ethnic groups need more racial sensitivity. Many individuals would be extremely wary of throwing the “N” word around black people, but they would more than likely toss around “chink” among a group of Asians without fear. All my life, this has been the case for me personally.
I find racial topics are very important and fascinating. Those who think that race doesn’t matter come off as ignorant in my book. I don’t expect the world to change overnight, as there are so many layers of viewpoints and racial tensions that constantly evolve.
In the meantime, I will continue rooting for people like Jeremy Lin who give Asians a better name.