Monday, December 31, 2012

Jeremy Lin - Asian American Male Of The Year

It's about that time again where we start anew, but before we do, I want to give an Asian American Male of the Year award to the one and only Jeremy Lin. What Lin accomplished this year alone is truly remarkable. To go from being an NBA player who nobody had really heard of outside of the Asian community before his breakout game against the Nets, to a megastar athlete in a span of a few months calls for a resounding applause.

Far too long have Asian American men had been desperately seeking an Asian male role model to look up to outside the relic of Bruce Lee, though an unadulterated actor, fighter, philosopher and legend by anyones standards, Lin on the other hand has graced the front pages of major newspapers, magazines, mainstream media and entertainment outlets. Most Asian American parents that I knew of growing up didn't encourage their children to go into professional sports. The main focus has always been studying, which isn't a always a bad thing, but Lin achieved more than that. As a Harvard graduate, Lin not only turned the conventional wisdom surrounding Asian American men on its head, that of course being strictly academic, un-athletic and feeble, but also made up for the lost time and painful setback by the American idol reject William Hung.

No offense William. You seemed pretty clueless that America was laughing at you. For the rest of the AA guys out there, myself included, we were cringing at your embarrassing performance. Why none of your male Asian friends told you that you were making a complete fool of yourself and setting back the entire AA community 20 years is beyond me.

Linsanity electrified audiences nationwide and provoked a serious discussion regarding racism against Asians, males especially, in America. A discussion that's been long overdue with respect to the quiet discrimination and bamboo ceiling that AA males encounter all too often whenever they aspire to take on leadership roles or the center stage for the public's viewing. It spurred contentious dialogue about the lack of AA male athletes in all professional sports, how often they get overlooked because of their God-given, immutable ethnicity and even bled into other controversial social issues such as its influence on interracial relationships and business.

Yes, Lin was the talk of the town even in corporate America. Business bloggers were jumping on the bandwagon publishing pieces on how to succeed professionally by following Lin's work ethic and perseverance. Remember Forbes' article back in February? Just Lin Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning. 

Okay, so Jeremy Lin didn't amass over a billion views on YouTube like Psy did and have everyone in the world doing an infectious horse-riding dance, which by the way is nothing to sneeze at. But, Jeremy Lin is someone who resonates with me more...a lot more. Finally, the spotlight is on someone who is like me in a significant way. We're both American.

And to close this out, I'd like to thank all of my readers out there where ever you are. I hope Destroy To Rebuild has instilled some insight and inspired you to go out there and be a better Asian man in 2013. Happy New Year!


  1. Jeremy Lin taught America to never underestimate or stereotype Asian men.

    It's really not about basketball, or even athletics in general. Asians are only 5% of the American population, and it's unlikely that such a small demographic will produce many superstar athletes. For example, how many Jewish athletes are out there?

    But Jeremy Lin's impact was far greater than simply athletics. Every minority could relate to his story of being overlooked mainly due to race. And Asian men in particular could especially empathize with Lin's struggles, whether it be in sports or dating or careers.

    Lin smashed the most egregious stereotype against Asian men, our equivalent of the "Blacks can't become presidents" stereotype threat: he became a dominant presence in a sport that was all about size, speed, and strength.

    Once that stereotype has been broken, it seems ludicrous for the other stereotypes against Asian men (can't be business leaders, can't be good boyfriends/husbands, etc.) pale in comparison and look ready to be easily shattered.

    1. I couldn't agree with you more. Let Jeremy Lin serve us as a beacon of light for the future generations of Asian American it any man who's had to endure discrimination and that soft bigotry of low expectations we're all too familiar with.

    2. What's really disheartening was just how close Lin was to forever being thrown out of the NBA. Say Iman Shumpert doesn't get hurt. Lin would now be out of the NBA, trying to use his Econ degree to get an entry job in finance or something.

      How many Asian men have been counted out way too soon before being able to prove themselves?

      Jeremy Lin was supremely lucky in getting his opportunity, but thousands like him never got that shot in the first place.


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