For Jeremy Lin, defying racial stereotypes as an Asian American male requires both confidence and humility.
The electrifying Brooklyn Nets point guard, who recently suffered a terrible injury that would have him sit out the entire current season, provided his thoughts on how to contribute to improving stereotypical perceptions of Asian masculinity in the United States during a previous interview at the Google headquarters.
In the “Talks at Google” video published on Tuesday, the 28-year-old NBA star acknowledged that there has been a gradual, positive change towards how Asian men are treated in the U.S. in recent years.
He noted, however, that such positive perceptions are reinforced by the actions and achievements of Asians themselves, no matter what industry they are in.
“One of the things I really enjoy following is eSports because I feel like back then, it was like “You’re a gamer? You’re such a nerd!” Lin said. “Now it’s actually like it’s becoming something that people appreciate.”
He further stressed the importance of putting value in one’s work, noting that if Asian American males would “keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully, eventually people will come to appreciate.”
Lin also recognizes that while there have been some disappointing occurrences in the entertainment industry, there were also breakthroughs where Asians were given their due.
However, he noted that inspiring change also requires standing up for one’s beliefs, similar to “Hawaii Five-0” star Daniel Dae Kim’s decision to resign due to alleged unequal pay.
“What Daniel Dae Kim did is awesome because you have to be able to stand up for yourself, like, be great at what you are,” Lin said, adding, “Be respectful, be polite because that’s a lot well Asian culture teaches you.”
“I think there’s a way to be strong and polite at the same time, to be confident and humble at the same time,” he continued. “I think that’s what we need more of, just people being great at what they do and then staying strong to who they are and being proud to represent like Asian American males.”
Lin also touched on the “desirability” of Asian males in the U.S., which he hopes would change soon.
“People used to talk about yellow fever. Really, yellow fever was just Asian girls. It wasn’t like everybody been like ‘Asian dudes! Everyone go find yourself an Asian guy!’ That’s not yellow fever. We’re going to redefine yellow fever,” Lin was quoted as saying.
In earlier interviews, Lin constantly speaks about the underappreciation of Asian American masculinity, which he lamented should be discussed even more.
Watch the full Google interview below: