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.




Jeremy Lin–a compassionate and decent man (regardless of status or profession) who deserves an opportunity to prove that Asian Americans can play basketball at the highest levels

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)

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

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




More Kathy Groob: Disappointing Kentucky Culture of Intolerance for Asian Americans–Apparently my Daughter isn’t the ONLY Kentucky Student Subjected to Racial/Ethnic Slurs


When I made complaints to coaches and administrators at my daughter’s former school system about the stream of racial slurs made to my daughter (“chink”, “slant eyes”, “nigger lover”, and ” Commie”, to name a few), none of my complaints were taken seriously and no investigations initiated as required by Federal law. My wife did receive a call, though, after one of my complaints, from an assistant basketball coach and wife of the athletic director, questioning my sanity and “instructing” my wife that,”There is no racism going on at this school system.” And to make sure my wife received the message, the coach/AD’s wife asked a rhetorical question, “You understand what I am saying don’t you?”

It wasn’t until the Asian American Legal Defense and a Education Fund  (AALDF), an outstanding civil rights group out of New York City, became involved (and their complaints were ignored for weeks until the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) was contacted and KDE specifically directed the school’s superintendent to conduct an immediate investigation into my and AALDEF’s complaints). Many weeks passed before the school district even made contact with AALDEF, and to this day continues to delay or block any attempt at resolving the issues, though investigations are ongoing with the U.S. Department of Education and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.

It did not take long after the school board hired an attorney to begin a smear tactic against my daughter and me, which in a small town got back to me fairly quickly-comments such as: I was only trying to line my pockets with the school district’s limited budget because I am an attorney and that’s what attorneys do. I was going to sue all of the parents individually for the slurs “allegedly made by their children”. I wanted to destroy the name of the school district. Blah. Blah Blah. [In truth, I DID NOT FILE THE COMPLAINTS with the Department of Education and Department of Justice. AALDEF filed in their own name on behalf of my daughter after their many attempts to enter into negotiations with the school district were ignored or not taken seriously. Additionally, I was captain of my football team there, still use my number76 in my Twitter handle (terryclarke76) and gmail email address ( and my late father and two of my close cousins are in the high school’s Hall of Fame. In short, I had no interest in destroying the school’s reputation. In fact, as incredible as it appears, those associated with the school have openly questioned my motives that I was concerned with improving the climate of cultural tolerance in the schools within the school district though I am on my city’s Commission on Human Rights, and consciously made the choice not to sue the school for money damages.]


Why is still PC to make racist comments about Asian Americans?


The site linked below is a story a television station (WDRB) in Louisville filmed and posted in an article on its website. The sports reporter, Eric Crawford (who has an outstanding reputation as a national basketball reporter) came with a camera man and interviewed my daughter and me for hours after driving 3 hours to my home in the extreme Northeastern part of Kentucky where it touches Ohio and West Virginia. We only consented to two more interviews, one with an Asian American reporter I have always admired, who was the former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, and Mellisa Issacson of ESPN who wanted to seek my daughter’s opinion on bullying in the locker room of girls sports teams as the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin saga was unfolding. We turned down countless other interview requests because neither my daughter nor I wanted to bring attention to ourselves.  A link to Ms. Issacson’s story on ESPNW story is also included below the link to WDRB’s Eric Crawford’s story.

 This is the same school system which was placed on probation for openly cheating during the State’s regional Governor’s Cup competition. This is the same system whose supporters claimed that this school district was too “culturely sophisticated” for their students to ever utter a racial slur, not a single one, though my daughter was the only minority on her basketball team and it was her teammates who admitted they hated my daughter. Bear in mind the link at the beginning of this post was from an Asian American living in Kentucky’a second largest city (Lexington) and much more culturely diverse than my daughter’s former essentially all-white school located in the Appalachian area of the State (the hillbilly part). Despite the school district’s representatives claims that all of its schools “embraced diversity”, this school system has the reputation in the area as one of arrogance and intolerance. When the state’s ruling body on academic competitions issued a lifetime ban to the high school’s academic team coach from ever coaching in, or even attending, academic contests, the media asked the school’s principal if the cheater would be fired. The principal’s response, “Heck no. He made ONE mistake and they Pete Rose’d him.”


“The Gooks of Hazard”



So . . . Does anyone actually find the Appalacian school district’s position credible that racial slurs against Asian American DO NOT OCCUR at their rural school when those slurs occur daily in the halls of the schools in the State’s urban areas?

Asian American students are the most bullied ethnic group in American schools


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.



Jeremy Lin Gets Cheered Up by Friends in Sketch Comedy Bit

Jeremy Lin--genuine, "real" human being

Jeremy Lin–genuine, “real” human being

Jeremy Lin is an amazing guy, who, obviously doesn’t take himself too seriously–though he does so much good work that he refuses to publicize (including providing my Asian American daughter a surprise, unsolicited pep talk via a 30 minute video chat). He is a man who truly lives his faith and does so with great joy.

Jeremy Lin--genuine, "real" human being

Jeremy Lin–genuine, “real” human being

Asian Athletes Blog

Jeremy Lin is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he is wasting no time in going Hollywood.

via Jeremy Lin Gets Cheered Up by Friends in Sketch Comedy Bit | Bleacher Report.

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5-foot-7 Japanese PG Yuki Togashi to enter NBA D-League draft

Mavs double-down: Sign a forward and fall for 5-foot-7 Japanese PG Togashi « | Hang Time Blog with Sekou SmithI 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.

Asian Athletes Blog

Mavs double-down: Sign a forward and fall for 5-foot-7 Japanese PG Togashi « | Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith

The other half of this dreams-can-come-true Mavs summer is 5-foot-7 Japanese point guard Yuki Togashi. The 20-year-old’s combo of stature, speed, instincts and fearlessness instantly made him a fan favorite over the past week, although not quite to the level of another Mavs Summer League point guard sensation a few years ago, a guy named Jeremy Lin.

Of course Togashi’s size, quick-twitch style and terrific ability to run the pick-and-roll is more similar to yet another great Dallas Summer League find, the diminutive J.J. Barea. Now with Minnesota, the 5-foot-9 Barea developed into a steady, change-of-pace backup point guard for the Mavs and even started in the 2011 NBA Finals.

Togashi’s dream is to play in the NBA and said Friday that he will follow that dream and enter the D-League draft in the fall. His other option is to return to Japan’s pro league and take home…

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Jeremy Lin press conference with Lakers: Lin Excited for New Beginning

Jeremy Lin--genuine, "real" human being

Jeremy Lin–genuine, “real” human being

Jeremy Lin press conference with Lakers: Lin Excited for New Beginning.

Linsanity days headed to L.A.

Linsanity days headed to L.A.

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

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.








Racism. . . In American Soccer? Will It Ever End?

My daughter, the only minority on her schools basketball team was the subject of racial slurs from her own teammates, yet despite my many attempts to have it stopped, my daughter faced increased harassment not only from her teammates, but also the athletic staff. Despite the schools’ coaches claiming our daughter was the best player on the varsity team, each time we raised the race issue, her playing time was reduced until she was removed from the varsity team and placed as a little-used reserve on the JV team. The arrogance and disdain for my daughter nearly destroyed my health until a civil rights group, after being rebuffed by the school system filed complaints against them on my daughter’s behalf, with the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, as well as our state’s Human Rights Commission.

My daughter has since moved to a new school, where she is thriving socially, academically and athletically. Just 1 1/2 years removed from being a little-used reserve on the JV team on a poor to very mediocre basketball program, my daughter is now being recruited by High Division I NCAA athletic programs while her former school system continues to spend money on legal fees to fight my well-documented case of my daughter’s deplorable treatment under Title VI.

Anyone who honestly believes we live in a “post-racial” society should take a look in the mirror and then take a drive through some of their local neighborhoods where the less fortunate live.


If the racists only knew only how badly . . . .

If the racists only knew only how badly . . . .