Asian-American Journalists Association: Here’s a list of things not to say or write about Jeremy Lin

posted at 6:28 pm on February 24, 2012 by Allahpundit

I’m right in line with Ace on this. Point one: There is, I guess, some usefulness in having a list of helpful hints for the media in how to cover Lin-sanity. Remember, some reporters are very, very stupid. They really might need to be told, formally, that “chink” jokes are offensive.

Point two: Some of these “danger zone” items are so dumb, and the thought of the AAJA brainstorming over them is so surreal, that it really does start to feel like an SNL sketch. The effect is similar to your third-grade teacher standing up in front of class and reading off a list of words you’re forbidden to say. “Fart, diarrhea, caca-doody…”

DRIVING: This is part of the sport of basketball, but resist the temptation to refer to an “Asian who knows how to drive.”…

FOOD: Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery? In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no.

MARTIAL ARTS: You’re writing about a basketball player. Don’t conflate his skills with judo, karate, tae kwon do, etc. Do not refer to Lin as “Grasshopper” or similar names associated with martial-arts stereotypes.

“ME LOVE YOU LIN TIME”: Avoid. This is a lazy pun on the athlete’s name and alludes to the broken English of a Hollywood caricature from the 1980s.

The “grasshopper” one is hard to resist, but okay. The fascinating thing about Lin-sanity is that, for all the dopey puns about an “Asian who knows how to drive,” etc, he’s captured people’s imaginations partly because he has some of the qualities associated with positive stereotypes about Asian-Americans. He’s … brainy! A Harvard grad, no less. And, as an undrafted player, he … worked really hard to get where he is! And he’s … modest and unassuming, a winning contrast to some of the league’s preening superstar jackasses! That’s what really drives popular consciousness about his race, I think — he seems so culturally familiar to people in some respects and yet, as a rare Asian-American star in the NBA, very unfamiliar in another.

By way of tribute, the obligatory and inevitable Jimmy Fallon/Pearl Jam parody.


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