Hannah Star Racially Lin-Sensitive?

Even for a non-sports fan like me, who couldn’t tell you if the Knicks were a basketball team or a curling organization, it’s pretty hard not to get swept up in the current “Lin”-sanity (get it? I totally made that up myself.) With Jeremy Lin’s incredible winning streak in the past few weeks, I can now add him to the list of NBA players that I can actually recognize and name (the list now contains two names: Jeremy Lin and Lamar Odom, the latter of whom I really only know in the context of Keeping up with the Kardashians). But with all this fuss about Jeremy Lin’s shocking talent, I’m left wondering, quite frankly, if we’re all being a little bit racially “Lin”-sensitive.

On the one hand, Jeremy Lin’s sudden fame has been really inspiring for Asians and Asian-Americans. This morning, I watched as CNN conducted interviews in New York’s Chinatown, asking Chinese-Americans how they felt about Lin’s athletic success. Most of them expressed gratitude that Lin was helping to quash Asian stereotypes, and explained how he gave them confidence to pursue their own athletic goals.

One girl, however, asked CNN why race was even a factor in Jeremy Lin’s new celebrity. I mean, really: are Lin’s fans surprised by his winning streak alone, or are they surprised that a Chinese-American could carry out an all-American victory story á la Tim Tebow? Are we more impressed by Lin’s basketball ability, or are we just amazed at his defiance of racial stereotypes?

Ultimately, while Lin may be inspiring to Asians and Asian-Americans, I think his accomplishments should be motivation for all aspiring athletes, regardless of race. Because he isn’t just a good Asian basketball player; he’s a really fucking good basketball player, in general. So while I don’t think we should be colour-blind, I also don’t think we should be using Lin’s racial background as a standard by which to measure his success.

Also, to the girl at a recent Knicks game holding the sign that read: “Jeremy Lin, I want you Lin-side me,” you are inspiring to no one.

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