During the hours before the “chink” references at ESPN, I was convinced that many Asian Americans were willing to overlook Floyd Mayweather, Jason Whitlock, the New York Post’s “Amasian,” and myriad other public indignities in order to experience something so joyous and so spectacularly surprising as Jeremy Lin that even we, the people who are like him, have been conditioned to never have expected it.
Less than a week ago, in trying to explain what Lin means to Asian Americans, I wrote on ESPN.com that his feel-good run in the NBA would be a test of ”an Asian American’s ability to take the bad with the overwhelming good.”
We couldn’t be allowed to have even a fleeting, rapturous moment without the bad-good equation being utterly turned on its head by such a torrent of racially motivated indignation and political-correctness backlash that feels, in some ways, like open season has been declared on Asian Americans. I feel stupid and ashamed, true to my cultural conditioning, I suppose, that I ignored the reality of living in HaterNation, a place where the meek are allowed to rise because the mighty so enjoys shooting them full of holes during the inevitable fall. The past few days have taken us beyond that.
That “Chink in the Armor” happened is so unbelievable to me, it still feels like a bad dream. But it wasn’t the end of Linsanity; it hasn’t even been the worst part. Americans who are not of Asian descent are hijacking the discussion of how Asian Americans would like to be talked about, and that is the real kick in the groin.