Linplexity: A Closer Look at How One Asian is a Representative for an Entire Race


Asians specifically in America, negotiate with the depictions of microaggressions rooted in racism in everyday life. According to Derald W. Sue et al. (2007), “racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily, verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communication hostile, derogatory; or negative racial slights and insults towards people of color” (Sue et al., 2007). Common microaggressions imposed on Asian Americans in the media are their portrayal as perpetual foreigners, “Yellow Perils,” or the model minority. The image of Jeremy Lin as the “model minority,” low-keyed, passive athlete is seldom problematized and often encouraged by mainstream media. However, Asian scholars, sports commentators, filmmakers and journalists have noticed mainstream media unconsciously or uncritically directs microaggressions at Jeremy Lin through the model minority myth. Hence, the tension in these portrayals of Asians through Lin on an individual level as the model minority constitutes and extends the microaggression. Using Critical Race Theory and “symbolic microaggressions,” my research will apply content and critical discourse analysis to provide a clearer picture of Lin to deconstruct Asian stereotypes, microaggressions, and colorblindness. I will be comparing and contrasting non-Asian media perceptions of Jeremy Lin with the Linsanity documentary (directed and produced by Asian Americans). Can Jeremy Lin’s portrayal in mainstream media as a model minority be oppressive and empowering at the same time? Finally, I will seek to address the larger impact of this work on Jeremy Lin in terms of how the media represents Asians both in United States and globally.

Author Information
Ryan Kitaro Kwai-ming Hata, San Francisco State University, USA

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2014
Stream: Sports

This paper is part of the MediAsia2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon