Jeremy Lin Speaks Out on Anti-Asian Racism


Pamina Yung, Staff Writer

According to a report made by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, there was a 150% rise in the number of hate crimes committed against Asian Americans in 2020, many of which are believed to have been the results of scapegoating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent incident of the shooting in Atlanta that killed six Asian American women has been a wake-up call in these racially motivated violent attacks happening across the country. 

National Basketball Association (NBA) veteran Jeremy Lin, the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA, tweeted about the shooting, offering encouraging words to the victims’ families and the Asian American community.

Lin, Jeremy (JLin7). “This is sooo heartbreaking… praying for our world. To my Asian American family, please take time to grieve but know you’re loved, seen, and IMPORTANT. We have to keep standing up, speaking out, rallying together, and fighting for change. We cannot lose hope!!” 16 March 2021, 9:29 p.m. Tweet.

Lin further commented on the actions of the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, and Cherokee County Sheriff Captain Jay Baker’s claim that the shooter was having a “bad day.”

Lin, Jeremy (JLin7). “Not trying to learn more about how it was a ‘bad day’ for the murderer from the media. Tell me more about the victims and how they didn’t deserve this. Humanize them. Let’s talk about their stories.” 17 March 2021, 2:36 p.m. Tweet.

In a virtual interview with CNN, Lin, who is currently playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League, talked about recent experiences as a Taiwanese American player in the NBA.

Lin mentioned that a few basketball players have called him racial slurs and things such as “coronavirus” during games. When asked why he refused to publicly shame or name those who have mocked him, Lin responded by saying that he did not want to spread negativity, but rather focus on building solidarity and awareness of Asian discrimination. 

Lin elaborated on his personal encounters with racial prejudice, referring to his college days, saying that he had been ridiculed even before becoming a professional athlete. 

The basketball player was also asked whether or not he believed the sudden rise in anti-Asian hate crimes was partly influenced by former President Donald Trump’s comments and dubbing of the coronavirus as “Kung flu” and “China virus.”

Lin stated that he believes the racism we are seeing right now has been a long-term issue throughout history, with examples like the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment camps, and murder of Vincent Chin—all events he was never taught in history class and had to go out of his way to learn about. Lin does not think Trump created the issue of anti-Asian hate, but fed fuel to the fire and exposed the underlying problem of racism. 

Lin closed the interview by urging people to spend more time hearing and listening rather than shaming and condemning. He wants to see cross-cultural work done by organizations, international support, and youth empowerment. 

In February, Lin made an emotional post on Facebook and wrote about the struggles of Asian Americans who are often pushed to the side when it comes to racial injustice.

“Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans. We are tired of being told that we don’t experience racism, we are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble,” Lin said. “We are tired of Asian American kids growing up and being asked where they’re really from, of having our eyes mocked, of being objectified as exotic or being told we’re inherently unattractive. We are tired of the stereotypes in Hollywood affecting our psyche and limiting who we think we can be. We are tired of being invisible, of being mistaken for our colleague or told our struggles aren’t as real.”

In his speech, Lin wants to repay his elders for their hard, caring work and sacrifices made to settle in the U.S. He “wants better for the next generation of Asian American athletes than to have to work so hard to just be ‘deceptively athletic.'”

“Being an Asian American doesn’t mean we don’t experience poverty and racism,” Lin said in his post. “Being a nine-year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court. Being a man of faith doesn’t mean I don’t fight for justice, for myself and for others. So here we are again, sharing how we feel. Is anyone listening?”

Lin has expressed many of his feelings about the prevalent anti-Asian racism in the U.S. by speaking through social media. He also stands firmly by fellow Asian Americans during the racial injustice in these turbulent times.


Photo courtesy of ABCNEWS.GO.COM