Erin Khue Ninh + ESPN

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If you haven't gotten a chance to sit down and read this article yet on Linsanity by Hyphen Blog Editor Erin Khue Ninh - grab a chair, get a drink, and definitely take it all in.

Have there been famous Asian Americans before Lin? Of course. In sports, even. But Michael Chang inspired other Asian kids to play tennis; he didn't inspire all manner of Americans to sport his face. As for skater Michelle Kwan, the infamous MSNBC headline about her Olympic loss says it all: "American beats out Kwan." The difference between his predecessors and Lin is the difference between tolerance and identification -- between being a "them" that's allowed to hang around, and being "us."

More than an expansion of politically correct speech, this is about how America sees itself when it looks in the mirror. We do this thing when we watch Daniel Craig in a Bond film or Michael Jordan in a commercial, when our superheroes leap tall buildings in a single bound: We identify. They become our Ideal-I, our more capable and smarter and faster selves. And even if we look nothing like them and can do nothing like them, even if any resemblance is imaginary, that misrecognized self becomes a part of who we are.
Read it in full.