Lin-Tebow Comparisons Are Racist

Jeremy Lin has burst on the scene, the first American man of Chinese/Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. He's Harvard-educated, is well-spoken, has been fearless on the court so far, and has a pure game. After watching him play the Wolves and Lakers this weekend, I had to go back and YouTube the highlights for his previous four (I think it was four) games. They were an absolute blast to watch.

The man only has four or five starts under his belt, but wow, have they been sexy.

He's been cut by a couple of NBA teams. He was undrafted out of college. He wasn't offered any scholarships when he came out of high school (Standford boosters have been mad about that for years).

I admit that I find it quite a novelty to see an Asian man playing guard. I mean, his first step is so good. He takes hits in the air and still makes buckets. His layups over helping big men are downright acrobatic. And all of that seems incongruous to me, because Lin is Asian.

I think that's making people pull for him.

Lin has been dealing with racial and racist stuff for a long time. He's playing a sport he shouldn't be playing. Everything from being called "chink" to having a kindly arena attendant inform him when he was in college that there was no volleyball that day, only basketball.

But none of that's surprising. And honestly, it's kind of fun to watch him put a lot of stereotypes to bed. There is, however, besides the Asian racism, a tangential racist element to this whole Lin thing.

It starts with the Lin-Tebow comparisons. Lin is blowing up, and he's being compared to Tim Tebow. Unexpected success, focus on teammates, electrifyingly unusual play (less unusual in Lin's case, but not orthodox), the wait for the magic to run out. And oh yeah, the God thing.
The New York Knicks sensational Asian-American point guard is exciting fans everywhere with his play and endearing himself into the hearts of many who otherwise wouldn't watch a quarter of NBA basketball, all while giving thanks to God at every opportunity. (Yahoo Sports)

I've read or heard comments from several sources on his propensity for thanking God, although he's much less over the top than Tebow. There's a little eyebrow raise, a little snicker or knowing smile from the TV personality, and they move on to talking about his game.

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Lin grew up as a Christian. He says he'd like to be a pastor. People are talking about it.

If I were a black man, I'd be angry. You can't count the number of black professional athletes who grew up as Christians, would like to be pastors, and thank God or Jesus every time they're interviewed.

Nobody talks about them because the cultural intelligentsia and the bourgeois-buy-ins have decided that Christianity is part of the black cultural handicap. We expect blacks to be Christians because they're poor and less well-educated. Or at least their grandmas were.

It's just amazing when a nice clean-cut white boy from north Florida displays the same tendencies. But I guess we can understand it. I mean, north Florida is practically the Bible belt, and his parents were crazy missionaries. Fine. But wait. You're telling me this Chinese kid from Palo Alto, who could've gone to any school he wanted to and settled on Harvard, is a vocal Christian as well? No way...he's probably good at math and everything. Even more amazing than Tebow, frankly.

Tebow was far from the first person to open his post-game interviews with "first of all, I'd just like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". To a large degree, people are reacting to his and Lin's Christianity because they're not ignorant black folks. The truth is, all the college-educated white people are ashamed of their Christian heritage, just as their parents are. They think that sounding educated and smart means not being a Christian, or keeping one's Christianity safely out of sight. They don't know what to do with men like Tebow and Lin, who don't buy into that lie; they don't know what to do because Tebow and Lin are smart and educated like them.

If I were a black man I'd be insulted by this reaction. It doesn't matter how smart I am or how well-educated I am, it's expected that I'm too dumb to escape the lies of my upbringing; I definitely wasn't smart enough to decide on my own that I want to be a Christian and follow Jesus.

Just give up, black man I could have been. Just accept it. You're scary on the football field, or when you go out for a drink, but you're nothing but cute when you open your mouth and try to talk. Such a well-spoken young man, that's what you are.


  1. "You can’t count the number of black professional athletes who grew up as Christians, would like to be pastors, and thank God or Jesus every time they’re interviewed."

    I wouldn't say that this is as common as you make it out to be. And it's one thing to say that you "thank God," and quite another to live it out. That's what makes a Danny Wuerful, AC Green, and Tim Tebow so different.

  2. No question. And it's not a coincidence that most of these men choose to thank "God", which is a lot easier and less Trinitarian than thanking Jesus.

    Nonetheless, the point is that we accept overt religiosity from black men much more readily, and I think that's actually a sign of a negative perception of blacks.

  3. Just saw this-

  4. There's general agreement that race plays a part, at least as part of the underdog suite (race, Harvard, being cut, etc).

    I stand with Ralph Wiley in believing that it's totally okay to cheer for people you identify with, your "own people", even. As long as you're not thinking less of others when you do it.


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