Sunday, February 19, 2012

This Linsanity Needs To Stop

If you don't follow sports, let me take a minute to explain a couple of things. First off, sports people seem to really love a good nickname. Actually, I take that back. It doesn't even have to be good. (See "Chad Ochocinco".) Any nickname will do. Well, almost any nickname. And it seems that the good and apparently clueless folks over there at ESPN forgot the part about "almost" when they were sucked into the "Linsanity" of New York Knick Jeremy Lin.

In case you're not familiar with the guy, Jeremy Lin is a guy who was born in the United States to parents who had immigrated here from Taiwan. That makes him kind of Asian. This will be relevant shortly. He's just recently started playing for the Knicks (basketball, don't ya know) and he's just kicking ass and taking names (though why anyone would sign up for an ass kicking is beyond me). Cue the media to begin the onslaught of easy to make puns/wordplay based upon Jeremy Lin's name.

We have things like "Linsanity", "Lincredible" and "Linconceivable". There's the "Linderella Story" and "Super Lintendo". Don't forget not-so-clever phrases such as "To Linfinity and beyond" and "Thrillin". And remember, he's "Amasian". (That one is a little combination of "Amazing" and "Asian". I spell that out for you because I am surprised at how very few people can figure that out and I really hate for a pretty good wordplay to go to waste.) And I think that it was that last one that caused ESPN to go right over the edge with their attempt at a witticism of their own the other night. Yeah, after the Knicks winning streak with Lin was snapped the other night, ESPN went with the headline "Chink in the armor". Oh, for cryin' out loud. Freakin' behold...

Now, as you may or may not be aware (or care about) the term "chink" is not exactly an accepted (or preferred) nomenclature for those of Asian descent. In fact, it's quite the opposite and is now more of a racial slur than anything positive. Granted, I haven't heard that particular term used in a derogatory (or any other manner, as if that was even possible) in a long time. But maybe that's because I don't hang out with racists (or really old people who refuse to acknowledge that World War II is over and we're no longer mortal enemies with Japan). So while I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt to whoever came up with that headline, I don't even know what that sort of benefit would look like.

It's obviously an insensitive term at best. Racially offensive at worst. But either way, whoever came up with that headline had to know that it wasn't a compliment, didn't they? If not, I think they need to step away from ESPN for a little while and maybe read a book or take a class or something. Something that would help them grasp a basic understanding of why "Linsanity" is perfectly OK to use, but "Chink in the armor" is SO not OK. What is wrong with some people? Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that whoever wrote that headline did so to be racist. I'm saying that it's a racial term that really should not be used in any headlines. Or anything else for that matter! Go back to "Super Lintendo". It's stupid, but I don't think it will offend an entire race of individuals.

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