Why Asian American Athletes Are Tired of the “Model Minority” Stereotype | Jeremy lin



“Say to Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh’”.

These are the words Shaquille O’Neal casually used in a 2003 TV interview referring to the Chinese star of the Houston Rockets. Whether, as O’Neal asserts, it was a joke or not, it was the kind of language Asians in America have had to endure for years.

Since the first influx of Asian immigration began in the 1850s, discrimination against Asians – and the idea of ​​a “model minority” – has existed, and it is something athletes are more than aware of.

“The American experience of Asian origin has often not been mentioned. Asian immigrants came and they were told what to do, to be quiet, to stay under the radar and not to make noise, ”recently explained Jeremy Lin, perhaps the most Asian American athlete. in view of his generation, to Anderson Cooper of CNN. .

Lin admitted he was reluctant to speak out earlier in his career, but recent events have made him change his mind. While playing last season for the Santa Cruz G-League Warriors, Lin was called a “coronavirus” by an opponent. The NBA affiliate G-League has since identified the player and handled the case internally.

Lin undoubtedly has Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric around Covid-19 stoked anti-Asian racism in the United States.

“The previous administration and the rhetoric that was used,” Lin said. “You can even hear in the audio recordings, the cheering, the laughter, when it was called the ‘Kung-Flu Virus’ and everyone was cheering.”

While some may think Trump’s comments were a joke, the numbers speak for themselves. Stop AAPI Hate, an activist group has tracked more than 3,500 anti-Asian hate cases in the United States over the past year. Add to that the unreported hate crimes, and that number is certainly much higher.

And Lin is far from the only Asian American athlete to have suffered abuse. Reigning Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Chloe Kim recently shared a screenshot of a direct message she received on Instagram that read, “You’re a stupid Asian bitch, kiss my ass.” The 20-year-old says she has received hundreds of similar messages on social media.

“People played down my accomplishments because I was Asian,” Kim recently told ESPN. “There were messages in my DMs telling me to go back to China and stop taking medals from white American girls on the team. I was so proud of my accomplishment, but instead I sobbed in the bed next to my mom, asking her, “Why are people so mean because I’m Asian?” “

Asians working behind the scenes of American sport are also affected.

The Guardian contacted several Asians working in coaching or front office roles and a few agreed to share their experiences, but their employers then told them to decline. An individual of Asian descent in professional basketball circles, whom we will call Mark, agreed to speak, but only anonymously out of fear of reprisal.

Several years ago, near the team bench, a group of fans openly called him “Jeremy Lin”. Another time, as he walked through the tunnel to enter the arena, someone nearby said, “Watch out for Godzilla.” Mark also reports that he was aggressively questioned during a match by an agent. security, who did not believe his credentials were legitimate, which he said would not have happened to a white colleague.

This treatment shouldn’t come as a surprise. The stereotype of the “model minority” permeates American culture, aided by the influence of film and the media. Instigators often feel that abusing Asian Americans has less of an impact than with other minorities. Karin Wang of Asian Americans Advancing Justice told New Republic, “It is easier to target Asians because it seems safer. It is a community that is seen as less likely to rise up en masse and speak out.

From the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II to the murder of Vincent Chin, racism against Asians has always been an ugly part of America. The subject will come back from time to time before the news cycle moves on. It took a pandemic and ignorant individuals accusing Asian Americans of Covid-19 for the discussion to remain in the public sphere. While stereotypes and slurs are allowed to escalate, minorities like Asian Americans will always feel the need to watch their backs when they leave the house, whether athletic or not.



Comments are closed.