Today begins the traditional Kazakh celebration of Nauryz, an important and ancient holiday celebrated by Kazakhs and other Central Asian ethnic groups (and, I’m told, certain Eastern Slavic groups) for many centuries. I cannot do justice to the importance placed upon this national holiday in Kazakhstan so I am providing a link below which discusses, in general terms, the history and significance of the Nauryz national holiday celebrated in Kazakhstan. There are several other worthy sites, and I would encourage you to spend some time between watching NCAA Tournament games–which are blowing up your brackets anyway–surfing for more information on this important historical holiday!
I am traveling to yet another showcase basketball tournament where my daughter Milena will play tomorrow–this time the 2015 Springtime Showdown in Murfeesboro, Tennessee, one of scores of such tournaments she has played in over the years. During a driving break, I came across the article linked below. The article struck a chord with me because my daughter Milena, a muscular 5′ 11″ Asian-American post player, and I have made a game out of searching for just one other post player of Asian descent (a variation of the snipe hunting game, considering the lack of success we have had in our searches) though we have, on rare occasions, spotted an Asian American point guard at a tournament.
I know this season as a Los Angeles Laker has not been a great one for Jeremy (though he has played well the last five games), but I also know he is one of the most down-to-earth, compassionate men (regardless of profession or status) I have ever met. I was shocked last year when he called to set up a video call with Milena when things were not going so well, spoke to her about their shared experiences as Asian American basketball players and their Christian faith, and left his cell number with her in the event she ever “needed to talk, about anything.” He is one of the few positive Asian American role models for basketball players at any level. I wish him all possible success with his future in the NBA, not only because he is a positive role model for young Asian American basketball players like my daughter, but because he is a genuinely good and decent human being–just the type of person who deserves a break.
Why are Asian American basketball players stereotyped as unathletic? (Part I) (Jeremy Lin version)
Why are Asian American basketball players stereotyped as unathletic? (Part II) (Milena Clarke version)
If you are a Starbucks fan (and I’m not), you may have noticed that the plastic cup (regardless of what oddly named size you ordered) containing your ridiculously expensive coffee had the phrase “#RaceTogether” scribbled on its side in placed of the standard mangled spelling of your first name. Starbucks claimed its “#RaceTogether” campaign was simply the company’s attempt to start a dialogue on race relations in America and was not based on an attempt to profit from the recent racially charged protests against a series of police killings of black men. In an insert to be included in every edition of a USA Today newspaper (which no doubt cost a small fortune–unless you happen to be a coffee-peddling company that practically prints money), Starbucks designed, in their words, “to stimulate conversation, compassion and positive action regarding race in America.”
Starbucks self-proclaimed attempt to initiate dialogue on race relations in America
Starbucks claims its “#RaceTogether” campaign was purely a socially responsible attempt to get drinkers of their expensive coffee blends (with difficult-to-pronounce names and a complex and illogically system of cup sizes) to begin a dialogue on racial issues. After a barage of comments on social media sites primarily by people of color who called B.S. on Starbucks’ claims that their “#RaceTogether” campaign was not based on a corporate altruistic motive, but a disingenuous attempt to exploit the recent rash of protests against policemen killing black men as a way to augment Starbucks’ coffers. Apparently, selling cups of copy for ten bucks a pop is not satisfying the Starbucks bean-counters (pun intended). A number of tweets about the issue question the huge numbers of white employees working at Starbucks, reflected in Starbucks’ own promotion efforts–which all show an unmistakably white hand wrapped around Grande, Venti or Trenta sized cups. [How and why Starbucks chose those labels for small, medium and large sizes are questions for another day.]
Alas, the “#RaceTogether” campaign” was short-lived (by my count, only 4 days, but I may be off an hour or two) . . . So, in the end, intentionally or not, Starbucks started a dialogue on race relations in America–their folly, though not their ill-conceived “#RaceTogether” campaign,” serving as the reason behind that dialogue–a sentiment captured in the picture below:
So, dear readers, in the unlikely event you see me in a Starbucks “cafe,” your cup of coffee, regardless of whether it is Grande, Venti or Trenta sized, is on me!