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let’s talk about linsanity

so if you’ve been on facebook, twitter, espn, the ny times, colorlines, or just tuned into the last few knicks games, you’ve heard of new starting point guard and harvard graduate, #17 jeremy lin. you know he scored 25 points with 7 assists against the nj nets, and you know he racked up 28 points and 8 assists against the utah jazz. of course you do, my bad.
but now that the initial buzz about this newcomer with his sick drives to the basket and shot-clock beating 3s has quieted a bit, the discussions have turned to linsanity off the court.
as a prominent asian american athlete, it is inevitable that race is going to be part of the story. a lot of people have asked: why does race always have to be brought up?
well, for starters, there aren’t many visible asian american nba players. colorlines says that lin is the first in over a decade. so give us this one, ok? let us celebrate our asian american brother. let us drink beer and cheer every time he adds points to the board, regardless if we live in new york or not. we’re a tight-knit community and like phil yu from angry asian mant weeted: When I see @JLin7 play his ass off, I feel like a proud brother cheering from the bleachers
that’s how we feel when a fellow asian american does something awesome, like we’re watching a family member go forth and wreck shop.
because there hasn’t been much precedent, we’ve jumped full force on the storm that is jeremy lin. a few people have asked why other asian nba players haven’t received as much attention: yao ming (though i argue that we all love yao and i remember all the cutesy commercials back in the day), wang zhizhi, and yi jianlian, for example. there’s a huge divide between asian (born in asia) and asian american (born in america). asian americans are forever trying to prove that we are american. we’re american born, american raised, thus true americans despite what we may look like to others. so this is, i think, a big reason why the asian american community has fallen so hard for mr. lin: he’s american like us and he plays ball real well.
let us not forget the most glaring obvious reason as to why linsanity has come about other than his skills on the court—jeremy lin defies stereotypes placed upon the asian american body. how long have our men been seen as weak, emasculated, unathletic, playthings for women who just want their homework done? how many hollywood movies show asian american men as nerdy, awkward, sexless objects whose only real value is for comedic relief?
now, i don’t know the guy, but i’m going to guess that after 53 points and 15 assists in the 80 combined minutes of his last two games, the man is getting some.
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kayak joins lowe’s in pulling ads for TLC’s show all-american muslim

Earlier this week, travel site Kayak.com joined Lowe’s in withdrawing their ads from TLC’s All-American Muslim, a reality show featuring 5 Muslim American families in Dearborn, Michigan partaking in everyday activities like getting their kids ready for the first day of school, a new mother coming to terms with postpartum depression, and two young women pondering what the next step in their career is.

Frankly, the subjects of this reality show are so mundane that I started wondering if I would be able to land my own show, episodes of me making a sandwich, combing my hair, tying my shoes before work, all set to catchy background music.

Jokes aside, it’s quite satisfying to see Muslim Americans on mainstream television just living their normal lives, none of that stereotypical extremist imaging that you find on countless other shows. So why, then, did Kayak pull their ads?

When we decided to give our money to TLC for this program, we deemed the show a worthy topic. When we received angry emails regarding our decision to advertise, I looked into the show more thoroughly.

The first thing I discovered was that TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show. As I said, it’s a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod. We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn’t let us know their intentions. That’s not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us. I also believe that it did this subject a grave disservice. Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy.

I then checked the Florida Family Association website to see how this was portrayed. Besides the regrettable hatred, I also noticed that we weren’t listed. The email was a template, so people who sent thousands of emails seemed to be unaware they were sending it to us. The amount of vitriol in the emails was saddening, but I didn’t exactly feel pressured (not to mention we wouldn’t bend to such pressure). Many of the emails I’ve received expressing disappointment in our decision have been much more civil, and I applaud you for that.

Lastly, I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.

I’m not sure what Robert Birge, Kayak’s Chief Marketing Officer, meant by TLC intentionally picking a fight by airing All-American Muslim. I’m pretty sure the people picking a fight are those who dislike the show because it shows Muslim Americans as normal Americans and not as violent fanatics like they may be used to seeing. Dare I say, the Florida Family Association and its followers are uncomfortable with this mundane portrayal because it challenges a blanket image they hold of an entire group? And give me a break about not caving to such pressure. You caved.

Birge’s statement also claimed: For the record, we didn’t “pull” our ads. Our ads kept running on this program, but we have made the decision not to give TLC more money when the show returns in January. Yes, this would be like if ex-presidential candidate, Herman Cain, said: I’m not handsy, I just get a little overzealous with my touching at times.

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