By Ed Diokno
Jeremy Lin, newly signed with the Brooklyn Nets, could not avoid the obvious questions from the media on media day this week. He is one of just a handful of Asian Americans playing in a sport of big men and dominated by African American players. He also couldn’t avoid commenting on the social climate of our country and the role of athletes as concerned citizens.
On Colin Kaepernick and protest against injustice against people of color:
“I will say the one thing that I will make sure is I don’t want to do anything alone. I want something to be united, I want there to be solidarity, because I don’t want it to be X versus Y, or Group A versus Group B versus Group C or whatever. It has to be, if I do anything, I would want to be behind a stand of unity, because I think that’s what we need. That’s what I think our nation needs right now.”
“The one thing I will say is that I’m very thankful there is an increase in exposure and awareness about it, because I think that’s something that even though it’s such a big topic and even though it’s been going on for such a long time — like, hundreds of years — in some ways it was kind of swept under the rug until recently.
“I think a lot of people that weren’t necessarily interested in it before, are now engaged in it, and I think that’s always going to be the first step towards any change, which if we’re realistic and if we’re looking at long-term change or big-time change to be long-term, there are systemic issues, there are social issues that aren’t going to be solved overnight. But the quicker we can get talking about it, the more I think things will happen.”
On race and ‘Linsanity’:
“In some ways, ‘Linsanity’ wouldn’t have been ‘Linsanity’ if I was a different skin color. Most likely, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal, and that went to my advantage. But prior to that, a lot of the obstacles to even get . . . on the floor, those were definitely obstacles that were very much stereotypes that I had to fight along the way. So I’ve always understood that there’s good and there’s bad and you have to take them together and just be thankful for it all.”
On bias against Asians and Asian/Americans:
“I’ve always said [race] is a double-edged sword [with] my story,” Lin said. “You can just take the racial element alone. Anything I do is hyper-magnified in a good way or a bad way. People are quick to discount me or say certain things because of my race. And when I do well, people are quick to say he’s so amazing, whatever, because of my race, because of the way I look.