Jeremy Lin — Class Act in Every Way — Discusses Issues Faced by Asian Americans


 

 

I have written several times about Jeremy Lin arranging a video chat with my Asian American daughter both at the height of Linsanity and at the depth of my daughter's ethnic harassment and bullying at the hands of her middle school basketball teammates while the school administrators turned a blind eye to my and my family's numerous complaints about the essentially all-white school's failure to apply its Tltle VI policy to address even one single act, among the scores of humiliating acts our family directly reported to school personnel, beginning with a 7th grade basketball coach, an 8th grade teacher, and moving up through the school board and district superintendent.
After a NYC civil rights group, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) intervened on my daughter's behalf (evidencing the extent of how egregious the acts suffered by my daughter actually were–because of the resources involved in representing a single girl in rural eastern Kentucky from the NPO's office in NYC), the group also soon learned that the school administrators continued to act with the same deliberate indifference toward the civil rights group, as they had toward my daughter and my family, and that, incredually, the school district had hidden the fact that it had NO actual Title VI policy at all, and thus no mechanism to address my daugter's civil rights violations in any way. Eventually, AALDEF filed administrative complaints with both the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education–who eventually addressed my daughter's complaints through execution of a Resolution Agreement with the offending school district. During the two-year period my daughter attended the offending school district's middle school, the entire school district did not employ a single minority (including not only teachers, but cafeteria workers, bus drivers or volunteer coaches). If the reader is interested in reading a more detailed description of my daughter's mistreatment, please see the article by WDRB's Eric Crawford, “Kentucky Girl Claims Racial Harassment from Basketball Teammates.”

PERSISTENT Asian American Stereotypes

 

After moving my daughter to a new school system far away from the offending school district, she is now thriving in every possible way and has not been the subject of a single ethnic slur during her 2+ years at her new school, excelling academically and athletically and being recruited for both her academic and basketball achievements by D-1 basketball schools, including Vanderbilt, Xavier, Ivy League institutions and universities throughout the country.

I mention my daughter's background to show the type of character Jeremy Lin possesses. His 45+ minute video chat with my then 13-year old daughter, which Jeremy arranged between NBA practices, resulting from his mother telling him about my daughter's mistreatment — which she learned of in the Asian American media. Jeremy and my daughter talked about their shared experiences of being the subject of frequent ethnic slurs (chink, gook, etc.) from mean-spirited teammates, classmates, and others, many of whom claimed they were only teasing (as if the harasser's stated intent is relevant in any way), being told frequently that “Asians can't play basketball,” and the myth of the model minority–in which Asian American students are presumed by some American teachers and school personnel to be innately advanced in math and science (and if they are not, they are labeled lazy) and the ridiculous, but persistent, stereotype that Asian Americans are “more suited” for individual “sports” (such as tennis, cross-country and chess) rather than team sports like basketball and football. He also told her to always take the high road and never descend to the level of those who have hurt her and that he knew her to be incredibly brave because she had the courage to stand up against her harassers and the adults within the school Disrict charged with protecting her. He also told her he was sure most of her tormentors would be unable to cope with issues unique to Asian Americans and to stay the course, regardless of how someone tries to label you. [Actually, Jeremy's advice to my teenage daughter could be instructive to adults, as well as teenagers.]

 

At the conclusion of their video chat, Jeremy left my daughter with his agent's cell phone number and told her several times that she could get in touch with him anytime she needed to talk about anything. Fortunately, his reassuring talk lifted the self-esteem of my daughter before she moved to her new school and, in the nick of time, renewed her interest in basketball and academic achievement and, most importantly, her trust in her new fellow students.

It is not in the least surprising to me that Jeremy Lin has decided to speak out on the deleterious issues faced by Asian Americans–issues to which other ethnic groups are largely immune.

This isn't to say that other ethnic and racial groups in America do not face daunting issues, perhaps even more so than Asian Americans. I am a Human Rights Commissioner, and, of course know that there are other critically important racial and religious intolerance policies and issues outside the Asian American community which have spurred organizations to “fight the American political system” (whatever that may mean, if anything, in today's modern world). #BlackLivesMatter, of course they do, and while I have a great number of friends who practice the Islamic faith, my Muslim friends are kind and gentle people who are horrified by the atrocities committed by Islamic extremists.


This blog post, though, is written as a tribute to Jeremy Lin, who not only helped my daughter come to terms with who she is a human being and who has the potential to succeed in life (a difficult concept for a middle school girl to grasp), but also as a thank you note to Jeremy because he was willing to take a risk to his professional career in order to begin a public discussion about the other side of the back-handed compliment of the so-called “model minority” stereotype–the side, not of conforming, curve-busting students, but of the incredible academic pressures bearing, sometimes, intolerably down on Asian American students and consequent suicides where “every homework assignment, every project, every test [for an Asian American student] could be the difference . . . The difference between success and failure. The difference between happiness and misery.” The quotation cited above comes from an on-line piece from CHRON, a media outlet in Houston, and is entitled, “Former Rockets guard Jeremy Lin opens up about academic pressures and suicides” and is important reading to anyone associated with or part of the Asian American community. [Matt Young, December 16, 2015]

It really should come as no surprise that Jeremy Lin is once again standing up for marginalized groups of Americans on the video (“Jeremy Lin's Advice on Bullying“) posted to the U.S. Department of Education's YouTube channel a couple of months ago as part of the White House Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative, Anti-Bullying Campaign.

The point of this post is simply to thank a kind and compassionate young man, who just happens to play in the NBA, for restoring my daughter's self-esteem through a call he generated–simply because he cared, cared for one single Asian American teenager facing a part of his past in an isolated community in Kentucky–and, in doing so, unlocked so many potential opportunities for the remainder of her life. I knew it would only be a matter of time before he spoke, not just to my daughter about the unique challenges of simply being an Asian America in the USA, but to a much wider audience who respect him, his humor and his display of personal courage to succeed where so many have failed.

Thank you, Jeremy, for your act of kindness toward my daughter and your desire to reach out to all Asian Americans facing unique pressures largely unknown outside the Asian American community.

 

 

 

The Terry Clarke Daily (March 3, 2015) is out!


 

The March 3, 2015 edition of The Terry Clarke Daily is out. I appreciate the response so far, and I have incorporated several issues into regular articles at the request of many of the publication's readers. I continue to request additional areas of interest readers would like to see in future editions.

Please click the link below to access today's edition!

The Terry Clarke Daily.

 

The failure to stop bullying has driven courts and policymakers to take drastic means (imposing economic liability) to protect innocent victims



Finally, a truly effective anti-bullying movement is gaining ground . . . because it hits those responsible for bullying their victims or failing to stop the bulling where it hurts the mosttheir pocketbooks. The failure of schools to address bullying for so long when administrators have known the terrible consequences to the victims has driven governmental policymakers to create law/policies which allow victims to sue for monetary damages virtually anyone who bullies, fails to stop bullying or who turns a blind eye to the bullying occurring on their watch.

The link beneath the anti-bullying graphic (which contains the address to a great anti-bullying site) takes the reader to an excellent article explaining the economic liability facing bullies and those who had an obligation to abate the bullying occuring on their watch.



Emil Guillermo’s great idea for virtual reality goggles–using empathy to reduce racism


http://aaldef.org/blog/emil-guillermo-on-petas-virtual-reality.html

Racism is taught

Racism is taught

Privilege can lead to feelings of superiority which can lead to racism.

Privilege can lead to feelings of superiority which can lead to racism.

 

 
Virtual reality COULD produce empathy for victims of racism.

Virtual reality COULD produce empathy for victims of racism.

Questions and Answers about the Epidemic of Bullying of Asian American Students in Public Schools


I have written several posts about the unaddressed bullying of my Asian American daughter (who excels academically and athletically) at her former school. After some brief research, I soon learned that my daughter’s mistreatment was not unusual for Asian American students attending American public schools. In response to this bullying epidemic and other issues facing the Asian American community, President Obama established the AAPI Initiative to seek redress for these issues.(See http://www.whitehouse.gov/aapi.

The article linked below contains numerous resources of assistance to one seeking information on bullying of Asian students.

http://www.askhelpbox.com/when-students-especially-asians-get-bullied-it-is-mostly-verbal-name-calling-or-physical-attack

 

 

 

Slowly, but surely, the law recognizes bullying for what it is.


The article from the Education Law firm referenced below provides a very concise, but accurate picture of the general state of the law regarding bullying, as it now exists. Here's to hoping school administrators (not all of them, of course, because I've m

et some very good ones) spend more time in changing their school system's climate that tolerates (or, at times, instigates) the harassment of students from diverse cultures, and spend less time trying to protect those in their good old boy network and less time focusing on preserving the cronyism status quo. Adopting a curriculum that extolled the virtues of tolerance and the importance of diversity should be a top priority for all school administrators.

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/bullying-slowly-but-surely-the-law-rec-74663/

 

 

Bully describes why she “bullied” and her epiphany


Bully describes why she “bullied” and expresses remorse for her middle school actions In the link below from Upworthy–a fantastic collection of interesting videos on YouTube.

http://www.upworthy.com/she-confronted-her-bully-and-asked-one-question-now-the-bully-has-an-awesome-story-to-tell?c=upw1 

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Bullying and Harassment–Efforts by the Presidential AAPI to Protect Asian Americans–an often overlooked group


http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/aapi/bullying-and-harassment/

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.