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 (February 19, 2015) is out!


The Terry Clarke Daily.

 

 

 

Please list in the comment section any issues you would like to see included in future editions of my virtual newspaper!

 

Trading Jeremy Lin Was A Huge Mistake For Houston Rockets


I agree. I think former NBA Commissioner David Stern was right on point during the height of “Linsanity” when he suggested that discrimination and/or inaccurate Asian stereotypes contributed to Jeremy’s inability to gain substantial playing time.

Why was Jeremy Lin's s superior play described as "against all odds." He has the height and quickness to play in the NBA. Apparently, his Asian features were the only odds he was facing.

Why was Jeremy Lin’s s superior play described as “against all odds.” He has the height and quickness to play in the NBA. Apparently, his Asian features were the only odds he was facing.

My ethnic Kazakh daughter certainly excels at basketball despite her Asian features. Her size,nearly 6′ (150 cm), and strength have not held her back, though she has endured the same ethnic/racial taunts and slurs as has Jeremy. Jeremy is the most humble and compassionate professional sports figure With whom I have ever spoken (though former New England Patriot WR, Troy Brown, is in in that class also). Mr. Lin, after learning from his mother of my daughter’s mistreatment from her former teammates, arranged and had a 30 minute video chat with my daughter, discussing their shared experiences and giving her practical advice on dealing with the slurs and taunts.

Kazakh warrior Milena Clarke, following her video chat with Jeremy Lin.

Kazakh warrior Milena Clarke, following her video chat with Jeremy Lin.

This may help explain why my daughter is such a powerful, strong basketball player–because


Microagression–subtle (some say) racist comments not “obvious” on the surface.


I am so sick of “well meaning”people making comments about my Asian American daughter. I am not talking about the obvious racial slurs (like “chink”, “slant eyes” or “Commie”–she was adopted from the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan and her first language was Russian. Never mind that ethnic Kazakhs share a mixed Turkish-Mongolian ancestry, and my daughter comes from a primarily Turkish Ru (“tribe” to you non-PC worldly types).

When my daughter was 4 or 5, an unnamed “idiot” at my company picnic, who thankfully was fired as a poor performer soon after my chance meeting with him, began to tell me and a very uncomfortable group of coworkers held captive with by the “idiot” were spared no detail in hearing the “idiot” describe in graphic detail how he and his wife were unable to have their own “real” child (reaffirming my faith that genetics would see that the “idiot”‘s DNA would not be carried forward). With my adopted Asian American daughter sitting on my lap, I told him I didn’t understand his reference other than that it was a phrase used in Pinocchio and that I was very grateful MY DAUGHTER WAS REAL. Incapable of understanding my less-than-subtle-way to ask him to shut up, he asked scarcely before I finished, nodding down at my daughter, “How much did she cost?” After hearing about his financial woes for the first ten minutes of our pontoon ride, I told him based on his dire financial condition, he should contact me in 10-20 years if he was asking what I thought he was asking. Since my daughter and I conversed frequently in Russian, her first language, during the boat ride, I was, but should not have been when he asked me if she could speak Chinese when she was adopted at 18 months of age. At this point, I suggested that he save his questions for later, during a more appropriate tone (or, on reflection, I may have told him I was going to kick hiss ass if he opened his mouth again before we docked).

In any event, my daughter receives all the microaggression questions which are obviously racist, but cleverly concealed (or perceived as such by the questioner) on a daily basis and I certainly receive my share also–even from “friends” whom I am keenly aware no better.

Below is a link to a vey good Psychology Today article on microagression racism, its frequency and harm to the victims.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201010/racial-microaggressions-in-everyday-life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminist Kathy Groob’s Racist tweets about Kentucky essentially having NO ASIANS is a lose-lose situation


Kathy Groob got into a Twitter war arguing that Elaine Chao, the former labor secretary and wife of Republican US Senator Mitch McConnell, can’t possibly be from Kentucky, “because she’s Asian.”

That drew a firestorm on Twitter from folks who didn’t see the relationship between being from Kentucky and being Asian. One of Ms Groob’s many Anti-Kentucky and Anti-Asian American racist tweets (all of which she later deleted from her account), appears below.

In order to present an accurate portayal, I am including links to articles posted on a Kentucky television station (WHAS), an extremely conservative blog (fireandreamitchell.com) and an Asian American blog (AsAm News) to let you determine the appropriateness of Ms. Groob’s comments regarding Asian Americans and Kentucky (1) Kentucky has no Asians, and (2) Ms. Goob continues to openly express the widely held belief, despite her very liberal views, that Asian Americans, regardless of how many generations their ancestors have been American citizens “are really never fully American.”

I realize, of course, that politics often descend into the absurd and that Ms. Goob made her racist attacks because she disapproves of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnel (R, KY) (who is married to Asian American Elaine Chao–a citizen of both Kentucky and the United States) and I realize she did make an “apology” (though her “apology” was perhaps the weakest and least effective apology in modern political history). Ms. Goob’s comments, however, fall outside any sense of human decency, and continue to depict Asian Americans, depite their legal citizenship, as forever foreign and unwanted in their country of citizenship. Make no mistake, there is no doubt, whatsover, that Ms. Goob was well aware of Ms. Chao’s citizenship (in both Kentucky and the U.S.). If she is as involved in politics and feminism on the national scene as she claims, she would certainly know that Elaine Chao was the first Asian American women to be appointed to a U.S. President’s cabinet in American history, serving as the United States Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009. If Ms. Chao did not possess Asian features, I can only assume she would have been thumping her chest that a female served as Secretary of Labor (a Cabinet level position) for two full terms under a Republican President–but how could she celebrate a woman in such a high level position because thw woman “did not look like an American citizen, but looked instead like a massage parlor worker whom the poor, ignorant hillbillies populating Kentucky (including me, though I have an LL.M. degree from George Washington University and even have an “Asian” daughter) would surely not allow to live in their state. I guess I should receive my notice any day to report to an interment camp with my daughter).

Since Ms. Goob has announced to the world through social media that Ms. Chao can’t possibly live in Kentucky because of her Asian features, I guess, based on her logic, my 15 year-old Asian American daughter isn’t from Kentucky either since she was adopted from the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan and has lived with and been a part of our Kentucky family since she was 18 months old. The good liberal, Ms. Groob, has helped perpetuate the myth that Americans with Asian features are somehow strange and different and will never be accepted as true Americans in the United States. Perhaps her point of view (which many claim is wholely within the domain of Conservative politics, though Ms. Groob has proven otherwise) is the reason that Asian teens are the most bullied racial group in the U.S. and also have the highest suicide rate.

I care very deeply about this subject of Asians being viewed and treated differently because the issue directly affects my ethnic Kaazakh daughter (both an Asian and Kentucky citizen, though in Ms. Groob’s world the two categories cannot co-exist). I also care because my Asian Kentucky citizen daughter was bullied (racially harassed and retaliated against) at her previous school based on her ethnicity, national origin, race and religion) while the school system at every level displayed an incredible deliberate indifference with regard to my many comlaints of her mistreatment. When people like Ms. Kroob spew their hatred on a national stage, there is a trickle down effect reminding all of white America that American citizens with Asian features are “not really” Americans and there is no need to allow them the same courtesy and conditions to which white people feel priviliged.

http://www.fireandreamitchell.com/2014/08/02/feminist-kathy-groob-tweets-deletes-racist-crack-against-asians/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FireAndreaMitchell+%28Fire+Andrea+Mitchell%21+Exposing+Liberal+bias+cause+the+MSM+doesn%27t+have+to.%29

http://www.whas11.com/community/blogs/political-blog/After-she-is-Asian-tweets-about-McConnells-wife-Dems-rebuke-operative-269676631.html

http://www.asamnews.com/2014/08/04/whas-democratic-operatives-tweet-about-elaine-chao-draws-rebuke/

 

 

 

 

 

I knew when I was in Almaty, I saw many tall, beautiful, athletic Kazakh ladies, I just didn’t expect my daughter to ever grow up (and become one)


The article in the link below (and the images that follow) speaks for itself. The article appeared in the Huffington Post. Obviously, the picture of the basketball player (in and out of uniform) is my daughter, and the ugly guy in the one picture is her father (me).

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/27/sabina-altynbekova-beautiful-volleyball_n_5625530.html

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I knew when I was in Almaty, I saw many tall, beautiful, athletic Kazakh ladies, I just didn’t expect my daughter to ever grow up (and become one)


The article in the link below (and the images that follow) speaks for itself. The article appeared in the Huffington Post. Obviously, the picture of the basketball player (in and out of uniform) is my daughter, and the ugly guy in the one picture is her father (me).

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/27/sabina-altynbekova-beautiful-volleyball_n_5625530.html

image image image imageimage image image

 

 

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