Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jeremy Lin and the Rise of the Planet of the Asians

Jeremy Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese ancestry (or Taiwanese, depending on how you feel about that whole sensetive China/Taiwan thing), had an outstanding game against the New Jersey Nets, then started in the Knicks' next game and proceeded to post incredible numbers yet again against the Jazz-holes (despite 8 turnovers).  He not only may have saved D'Antoni's job, but he also may be turning Steve Novak into a star and a personal sidekick with their devastating Asian-Caucasian Double Combo the world has never seen since Kato and the Green Hornet

This is a milestone, not only for Lin's NBA career, but for Asian-Americans in general.  Ok, maybe that's being a little over-dramatic, but we have been lost and looking for someone to root for in the NBA since the retirement of Yao Ming because, you know, everyone likes rooting for someone they can relate to... the same way white people ask if Kevin Love is the next Larry Bird (he is not, by the way, because he showed that he has no class for stepping on Luis Scola's face).  Lin is different from the other crop of Asians in the NBA (obviously) because while Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian look like freaking giants, Jeremy Lin is more like the kind of guy you'd see dominating in your average Chinese church basketball league.  He and other nerds who also pursued their dreams (like Masi Oka and his acting career) give the rest of us hope that we can do what we love and get paid for it.

However Jeremy Lin didn't just miraculously turn into a baller over night or after taking some magic ninja pills... no, he is where he is today because of years of training and hard work...and because he's a freaking ninja.  And now that he's finally in a position to rock the NBA's world... are more Asian ballers going to be inspired to put down their stethoscopes and law books (or wacom tablets) in order to pursue their dreams of playing in the NBA?  Count on it, Asian parents.

If you've ever read my old blog, you probably remember that the majority of my posts always involved jokes about racism or stereotypes directed at people of the Asian persuasion.   The picture to the right is the stereotypical Asian man, taken from the infamous 1961 movie, Breakfast At Tiffany's. Back then, this was the prevailing view of Asians, but today you'd have to be an idiot to still cling to this old worn-out caricature. Watching Mickey Rooney's embarrassing attempt to be Japanese now causes most people, Asian or not, to cringe.  When Rosie O'Donnell said "ching chong" on TV, she was immediately lambasted by the Asian community and forced to apologize.  The UCLA Girl who complained on Youtube about Asians in the library had her life ruined forever by internet vigilantes.  The lesson?  Asians make up more than half of the world's population, so I hope you haters have learned by know NOT TO SCREW WITH US. Movies like Rush Hour, Harold and Kumar, and comedians like Russell Peters and Bobby Lee all poke fun at the stereotypes and discrimination that minorities face, while making idiots of anyone who still has those backwoods views ("All Asians look alike".. except that one is kinda true...).  These days, it's a lot harder to be openly racist when everyone around you is a different color, so most of the racism/discrimination now is either done in secret, done passive-aggressively, or done on the internet behind a wall of anonymity in your parent's basement.
Where would we be without the legendary Bruce Lee, who faced discrimination and prejudice at every turn, yet overcame hardships and paved the way for martial artists like Jackie Chan and Jet Li to become international icons? Where would Asian actors be without guys like James Hong, Pat Morita, the guy who played Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat and RUFIO, who were always called upon when there was a need for a stereotypical Asian role in a Hollywood movie or TV show?  Where would we be without Short Round and his crazy one-liners like HE NO NUTS HE CRAZY??!!! Thanks to them, gone are the days where the only Asians in the movies or on TV shows are just there to do some karate or work in a rice field. In The Walking Dead, the Asian dude who looks like a grown-up Short Round hooks up with a white girl.  How crazy is that??

Let's not forget the internet's role in turning some North American Asians into household names (almost).  Freddie Wong, NigaHiga, KevJumba, Peter Chao, Mikey Bustos, HappySlip, and Wong Fu Productions, for instance, arguably wouldn't have been able to achieve the level of success and popularity they've reached through traditional media.  Instead they found a cheap, easy way to deliver their content and showed that there's an big audience for their own unique brand of comedy.  Why are so many Youtube celebrities Asian-American?  I dunno, maybe it's because we're crazy good with computers and math!!

I am by no means saying that everything's just perfect the way it is now.  There's still a ways to go.  It seems like Asians are too smart for their own good.  In fact Asians are so good at test-taking and getting good grades that they would probably take over entire universities if they weren't being discriminated during the college admissions process.  Looks like we're becoming victims of our own success. 

Asian hiphop on the rise

1 comment:

  1. The Lin-Novak combo strikes again! (against washington)
    Novak - 19 points, 4 assists from Jeremy Lin