Thursday 19th October 2017,

Bad Ass Asians

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Hair Raising Tale Spiked. Kenyon Martin Apologizes to Jeremy Lin

posted by Randall
Jeremy Lin gets dreadlocks (Instagram)

Jeremy Lin gets styled (Instagram)

This story produced with contributions from Views from the Edge

Hopefully this is the end of a controversy that took on a life of its own.

Former Brooklyn Nets player Kenyon Martin has apologized for his critical comments directed at Jeremy Lin who Martin accused of “cultural appropriation” and “wanting to be Black” after the Asian American player sported dreadlocks.

“I made a statement. Wording probably was bad,” said Martin in a video published by TMZ Sports. “Saying he was trying to be Black. Wasn’t my intention to be racist or anything like that. No I thought he was hilarious. I thought it was nothing more than us getting a laugh and joke out of it and people took it the next level.”
 
Lin is not afraid to express his feelings and that leaves him vulnerable to criticism. He’s also not afraid to sport his hair style, from spiked mohawk to Chinese pigtail to, right now,  wearing his hair in dreads.

“Do I need to remind this … boy that his last name (is) Lin? Like, come on, let’s stop this. These people. There is no way possible he would’ve made it on one of our teams with that (expletive) going on on his head,” said Martin in a now-deleted video that was posted on Instagram. “Come on. Somebody really needs to tell him, like (alright), we get it. We get it, you want to be black. We get it, but the last name is Lin.”

 

After he started getting a backlash, Martin doubled down on his criticism.
 

“That man (is) grown. That man can rock whatever hairstyle he want to rock. That don’t mean I have to like it or agree with it,” he said. “Second of all, I’m grown. I can say whatever I want to say it about. It ain’t about race. It ain’t about none of that. Grow up, people, it was a joke, but I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it, so it is what it is.”
 

Lin, one of only two Asian American players in the National Basketball Association, later responded on the post.

 

RELATED: What’s up with Jeremy Lin’s hair?

 

“Hey man, it’s all good. You definitely don’t have to like my hair and (are) definitely entitled to your opinion,” he wrote.
 
“Actually I (am) legit grateful (for) you sharing it (to be honest). At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos (because) I think its a sign of respect. And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other’s cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops … had your poster up on my wall growing up.”

 

Later, Lin followed up with a thoughtful, 1500 essay on
 
The Player’s Tribune
. It was more than just about his hair. It was about cultural appropriation, racism and being true to himself. He wrote:

 

“I’ll be honest: At first I didn’t see the connection between my own hair and cultural appropriation. Growing up, I’d only ever picked from one or two hairstyles that were popular among my friends and family at the time. But as an Asian American, I do know something about cultural appropriation. I know what it feels like when people get my culture wrong. I know how much it bothers me when Hollywood relegates Asian people to token sidekicks, or worse, when it takes Asian stories and tells them without Asian people. I know how it feels when people don’t take the time to understand the people and history behind my culture. I’ve felt how hurtful it is when people reduce us to stereotypes of Bruce Lee or ‘shrimp fried rice.’ It’s easy to brush some of these things off as ‘jokes,’ but eventually they add up. And the full effect of them can make you feel like you’re worth less than others, and that your voice matters less than others.

 

He talked with Black teammates and friends about his plan to get dreadlocks. One of them, Nets teammate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who grew his hair long so both of them together could get their hair done in dreadlocks.

“The conversations I had weren’t always very comfortable, and at times I know I didn’t say the right things.,” Lin continued. “But I’m glad I had them — because I know as an Asian American how rare it is for people to ask me about my heritage beyond a surface level.

 

“It’s easy to take things that we enjoy from other cultures — that’s one of the coolest things about a melting-pot society like ours. But I think we have to be careful that taking doesn’t become all we do. With all the division, political turmoil and senseless violence in our society right now, we need to talk to each other more than ever.
 
“To listen to the real concerns of someone from a different background — and not just their everyday, superficial experiences — that’s pretty uncomfortable,” he said. “Taking the time and energy to ask about the things we don’t know may be messy — but we don’t really have a choice. We can’t let our divisions get worse.”
 

Lin criticized those who responded to Martin with cruel or racially insensitive comments, to cool it. “I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it … I heard people were saying the ‘n’ word on his page. That’s not what I stand for and that’s not helping us move in the (unified) direction we want to move in.”

 

He closed his essay acknowledging that his opinions may very well be off base, but he’s willing to listen to any comments anybody might have.

 
“If I ruffled Jeremy Lin’s feathers or if I made him feel any way, I apologize, bro. I’m a grown man. When I’m wrong. I can admit I’m wrong,” Martin concluded.
 
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4 Comments

  1. Ally says:

    RE: Hair Raising Tale Spiked. Kenyon Martin Apologizes to Jeremy Lin: Jeremy Lin handled it like a true class act! He gets it! Open honest constructive dialogue is the true and refreshing way.

  2. EC says:

    RE: Hair Raising Tale spiked. Kenyon Martin Apologizes to Jeremy Lin: Pretty sure Lin’s piece on the Player’s Tribune preceded Kenyon Martin’s video. It wasn’t a response to him.

  3. AVY says:

    RE: Hair Raising Tale Spiked Kenyon Martin apologizes to Jeremy Lin: Who’s the other Asian American in the NBA?

  4. Randall says:

    RE: Hair Raising Tale Spiked. Kenyon Martin Apologizes to Jeremy Lin: Jordon Clarkson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Clarkson

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