I hope Jeremy Lin has paved the way for this up and coming Asian basketball star my be spared many of the ethnic slurs hurled at Jeremy Lin. BUT MOST OF ALL (for the sake of my Asian American, basketball-playing daughter), I HOPE THE OUTRAGEOUS STEREOTYPE/MYTH THAT “ASIANS CANNOT PLAY BASKETBALL” can finally be purged for good from the American consciensciousness along with the ridiculous stereotypes of drunken Irishmen and watermelon-loving African Americans.
The Presidential AAPI Initiative has been very effective in reducing bullying of Asian Americans, the most bullied ethnic group in America, but only in those schools who have a genuine interest in choosing to complying with Federal and State statutes and regulations over hurt feelings of mommy coaches and friends who, without impunity, follow the long-held unwritten rules of cronyism–believing their threats to parents who raise legitimate, will destroy their children’s chances of being placed in AP courses or, for those few minorities in these (mostly schools with no minorities employed for any positions) a reduction in playing time or a smear campaign if complaints of racism do not stop (without ever investigating these complaints, of course). If you have bought into the “Asians as model minority myth”, please recognize that The term “Asian” covers an incredibly large number of people, whose only connection with other Asians is simply that their ancestors at some point lived on the same, extremely large continent. Please treat all Asians or Asian Americans as separate ethnic groups with their own, often very different, cultures and heritage. My Asian American daughter is from Central Asia and her ancestors did not use chopsticks (though she has since become quit adroit at using them). She also excels at the highest levels of amateur basketball, playing on one of only a handful of Nike-sponsored teams and a member of Nike’s EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League), yet was taunted by her own teammates at her FORMER school with racial slurs and up through the last day was told “Asians can’t play basketball.” Typical comments raised as complaints up through the all-white schoolboard and white School District Superintendent. After the high school varsity coach declared that my daughter had the best skill set on the varsity team, I raised a number of complaints of Title VI yet again (though now that she has thankfully transferred to a school that celebrates her diversity, I question why I continued to make complaint after complaint, when most rational people would have stopped when the entire coaching staff ratcheted up their harassment of my daughter. Most significantly, though, after proclaiming my daughter the best player on the varsity team, posting her name as the only middle school player on the varsity team in the community’s largest newspaper and having her dress with the varsity the first 4 or 5 teams, summoned my daughter into her office and said, “Don’t take this personally, but you ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO PLAY VARSITY, and then calling a fellow 8th grader (who did not make the all conference team as my daughter) and a 7th grader who rarely even played in 8th grade games) to proclaim they would be on the varsity team. In fact, the two newest varsity members were not even made to play on the freshman team, as was my daughter–though she was the only middle school player who played JV the previous year, but at that point relegated to a little used player on the JV team. It should be pointed out that this schools girls basketball program was very lightly regarded. Two months after the season thankfully came to an end, my daughter’s AAU team won the State’s AAU Division I championship and earned a number 15 seed in the AAU National tournament. Despite transferring to a new school where she is treated with respect and dignity, the U.S. Department of Education and our State’s Commission on Human Rights is continuing to investigate the school’s athletic program–complaints filed by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) who filed the complaints in their own name against my daughter’s former school system–after the school district treated a NYC civil rights group in the same manner as they treated my daughter and our family WITH COMPLETE DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE.