Entertainment Spotlight

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Suzanne Kai - on Sunday, 08 May 2022

What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres
What’s Going On? Everything, All at Once By Ben Fong-Torres MAY 8, 2022 With “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” the documentary about me, now out today and streaming merrily along on Netflix, I’m officially in the film industry.  Actually, that’s been the case since last June, when the documentary, which stole its title from a popular column at Asian Connections created by director Suzanne Joe Kai's son Mike when he was 14, premiered at the...

Linsanity Etiquette 101 - The historical milestone Jeremy Lin achieved - for all of us

Posted by AC Team on Thursday, 23 February 2012.



March 9, 2012:

The greatest thing about Linsanity is that Jeremy Lin can win, he can lose, but he has already achieved the near impossible. In just a few short weeks, he's turned a country on its head and made it examine how Asian Americans are viewed in the mainstream.

AC Team members head to New York this week with high hopes to see Jeremy Lin play in a Knicks game. When we watch him, we will be watching a talented basketball player, but we will also be thinking about the historical milestone he has already achieved - for all of us.


Related Update: 

February 23, 2012:

Following on the recent racist and racially-offensive incidents in coverage of NBA star Jeremy Lin, the Asian American Journalists Association has issued guidelines on how to and how not to cover Jeremy Lin.

These guidelines are good for everyone, not just news media. 

You would have thought that by 2012 our nation's news media wouldn't need such etiquette lessons, but the recent incidents prove otherwise. Let's hope AAJA's advisory serves not only as guidelines, but as a warning shot that any future incidents will not be tolerated. 

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Palo Alto, California, Jeremy Lin is a native born American.  

AAJA introduces its guidelines with the following:

"Jeremy Lin is Asian American, not Asian (more specifically, Taiwanese American). It's an important distinction and one that should be considered before any references to former NBA players such as Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi, who were Chinese. Lin's experiences were fundamentally different than people who immigrated to play in the NBA. Lin progressed through the ranks of American basketball from high school to college to the NBA, and to characterize him as a foreigner is both inaccurate and insulting."

"Journalists don't assume that African American players identify with NBA players who emigrated from Africa. The same principle applies with Asian Americans. It's fair to ask Lin whether he looked up to or took pride in the accomplishments of Asian players. He may have. It's unfair and poor journalism to assume he did."

AAJA's advisory on "Danger Zones" to avoid:

DRIVING: This is part of the sport of basketball, but resist the temptation to refer to an "Asian who knows how to drive."

CHINK: Pejorative; do not use in a context involving an Asian person on someone who is Asian American. Extreme care is needed if using the well-trod phrase "chink in the armor"; be mindful that the context does not involve Asia, Asians or Asian Americans. (The appearance of this phrase with regard to Lin led AAJA MediaWatch to issue a statement to ESPN, which subsequently disciplined its employees.)  

EYE SHAPE: This is irrelevant. Do not make such references if discussing Lin's vision.

FOOD: Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery? In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no.* MARTIAL ARTS: You're writing about a basketball player. Don't conflate his skills with judo, karate, tae kwon do, etc. Do not refer to Lin as "Grasshopper" or similar names associated with martial-arts stereotypes.

ME LOVE YOU LIN TIME: Avoid. This is a lazy pun on the athlete's name and alludes to the broken English of a Hollywood caricature from the 1980s.

YELLOW MAMBA: This nickname that some hae used for Lin plays off thte "Black Mamba" nickname used by NBA star Kobe Bryant. It shuld be avoided. Asian immigrants in the United States in the 19th an 20th centuries were subjected to discriminatory treatmet resulting from a fear of a "Yellow Peril" that was touted in the media, which led to legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. 

And if you think that ESPN's online writer's "Chink in the Armor" headline and ESPNEWS broadcaster Max Bretos' use of the same word and phrase in an ESPN broadcast, and Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock's comment, "some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight" were the only dispicable comments, think again.

Racial slurs and taunts are nothing new to Jeremy Lin. A Time Magazine article dated December 31, 2009 reports, "Everywhere he plays, Lin is the target of cruel taunts. "It's everything you can imagine," he says. "Racial slurs, racial jokes, all having to do with being Asian." 

Fast forward to 2012, here's more: 

The New York Post was criticized for its headline "Amasian" after Lin made a 3-pointer winning its Feb. 14 game in Toronto. 

The MSG Network which airs the Knicks games showed a graphic on Wednesday Feb. 15 after the Knicks won against the Sacramento Kings with Jeremy Lin's face coming out of a fortune cookie with text "The Knicks Good Fortune." Ironically, Jeremy Lin is the reason the MSG Network has gained a huge audience recently. 

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has repeatedly used racial and homophobic slurs against World Welterweight Champion, Filipino Boxer and Congressman Manny Pacquiao, and on Monday February 13 Mayweather started in on Jeremy Lin on Twitter, "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all of the hype is because he's Asian."

ESPN aired a sign referring to Lin as "The Yellow Mamba." It is a play on the "The Black Mamba" nickname for LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant, but unlike black mambas, there are no yellow mamba snakes. "Black" to African Americans is not considered offensive, unlike "yellow" to Asian Americans 

With the recent outrage over racial slurs and taunts let's hope the swift firing and suspension of two staffers by ESPN, and the Asian American Journalism Association's guidelines help put an end to this. Comic Jon Stewart told the CBS' The Late Show With David Letterman, "It'd be like when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game, you just wrote on there "Jewtiful"...I feel like it's very 'Lin-sensitive.'" 

Meanwhile, let's get back to the game!  



"Linsanity"- Jeremy Lin: ESPN fires writer and suspends broadcaster for its racist headline and remarks

February 21, 2012

"Can't escape race, no matter what," says writer William Wong who pens his fourth column on Linsanity.

And as Bill points out, William C. Rhoden, a sports columnist for The New York Times who is African American laments that there's been no equivalent exuberant, mostly positive madness for a sudden African American athletic star the way there has been for Lin and Tebow, and that African American athletes continue to be stereotyped negatively. 

Linsanity is more than an APA kid finally making it as a break-out star in the NBA. He has captured the hearts and minds of fans with his underdog story. The fact that he's an American kid of Chinese/Taiwanese ancestry makes the story that much sweeter.  

February 19, 2012

The headline read "Chink in the Armor." ESPN fired its staff writer Anthony Federico Saturday for penning the ethnic slur, and apologized for using the racially offensive word in a headline on its mobile website. Federico told the Daily News,"This had nothing to do with me being cute or funny...I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy."

Friday night the New York Knicks lost 89-85 to the New Orleans Hornets ending the team's season-high winning streak led by Jeremy Lin.

This was only one of three instances in which the same derogatory word was used by an ESPN employee or aired on ESPN.

On Friday, ESPNEWS broadcaster Max Bretos used the same word and phrase hours after the offensive headline appeared on ESPN's mobile website at 2:30am Saturday EST. Bretos has been suspended for 30 days. The third incident occurred on ESPN Radio New York, but the network said it was not by an ESPN employee.

ESPN's Editor-in-chief Rob King wrote on Twitter, "There's no defense for the indefensible. All we can offer are our apologies, since though incalculably inadequate." 

In a separate incident, during Lin's spectacular 38 points gain the LA Lakers, writer Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports slammed Jeremy Lin writing,"some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight."  

The Asian American Journalists Association condemned Jason Whitlock's racist remarks: “[Whitlock's Tweet] doesn’t hold up to the conduct of responsible journalists, those in sports or otherwise, who adhere to standards of fairness, civility and good taste. Nor does it meet the standards of Fox Sports, with which you are associated. Outrage doesn’t begin to describe the reaction of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) to your unnecessary and demeaning tweet.

Whitlock sent out an apology to Jeremy Lin and to the country’s Asian population. AAJA.org posted this response on its website after Whitlock's public apology.


February 18, 2012

Will fame ruin Jeremy Lin?

AsianConnections contributing writer, SFGate.com blogger, and former Wall Street Journal reporter
 William Wong asks this question in his third Linsanity commentary this week.

 As Bill points out, "The newness about Jeremy Lin's sudden celebrity is the fact that there's never been a young Chinese American man to soar into the celebrity stratosphere. Never." 

Tonight, Linsanity suffered its first loss as the New York Knicks lost 89-85 to the New Orleans Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Associated Press reports, "The Lin-ning streak is over. And Jeremy Lin's sloppiness was one of the problems for the Knicks."

Lin met the press after the game, taking the blame for the loss. "It was just a lackluster effort on my part coming out and...careless with the ball" ...It's on me in terms of taking care of the ball, and also the game in general."

This Sunday, February 19, Carmelo "Melo" Anthony is expected to rejoin the Knicks in its game against the Dallas Mavericks, after being sidelined for an injury. Anthony was the Knicks star player pre-Jeremy Lin. Some fans are worried about Anthony's return and wonder if he will upset the new chemistry established between the team and Jeremy Lin. 

Lin will be playing a role in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest, and was added yesterday to the roster of players for the February 24 game at All-Star Weekend in Orlando. 

And rumors are swirling in the blogosphere about publicity hound Kim Kardashian's interest in trying to date Jeremy.

How Lin handles his sudden celebrity will be closely watched by news media and fans alike. 

AsianConnections Editor and New York Bureau Chief Lia Chang has been chronicling Linmania and the fans snapping up merchandise with his name. 


February 16, 2012

Linmania is coast-to-coast!

CAPE-CBS-STUDIOS-2-15-2012-250x150The packed room Wednesday night at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA filled with 120 Asian American writers, actors, producers and directors attending a CAPEUSA.org exclusive event with television industry programming executives broke out in cheers at the news that once again, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks had won - its seventh straight game 110-85 against the Sacramento Kings.

AsianConnections contributing writer, SFGate.com blogger, and former Wall Street Journal reporter William Wong pens his second commentary this week about Linmania - 'Redefining American.'

And Linmania is also raging beyond America's borders. Here's a story about Jeremy's grandmother in Taipei, Taiwan by Keith Bradsher for the New York Times. 

February 15, 2012

Linmania continues! Tonight, the New York Knicks face off with the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden. Woah - Will Jeremy Lin beat the 'curse' of being on the cover of Sports Illlustrated Magazine? Here's AsianConnections' Editor and Bureau Chief Lia Chang's report and link to the Sports Illustrated article on Jeremy Lin. 

February 14, 2012

Alright, this story just got even more incredible. Tonight, with less than a second to play New York Knicks Jeremy Lin made a tiebreaking 3-points to beat the Toronto Raptors 90-87. 

Linmania is capturing fans everywhere. William Wong, former Wall Street Journal reporter, SFGate.com blogger and contributing writer for AsianConnections weighs in on Linmania.

February 12, 2012

Jeremy Lin made New Yorkers and the rest of America swoon last week. The 23 year old made his debut as a starting point guard for the New York Knicks playing amazing basketball for eight games.

He racked up five straight victories for the Knicks, and a stunning 38 point performance last Friday against the Lakers at Madison Square Garden.

JEREMY-LINHe's a Harvard graduate with a degree in Economics, and up to his recent winning streak for the New York Knicks, the 6' 3" 200 lb. athlete was an underappreciated athlete who was ignored by big name college teams such as Stanford located in his hometown of Palo Alto, undrafted by the pros, let go after stints with the Golden State Warriors, and the Houston Rockets, and briefly demoted by the Knicks.

During the 2011 NBA lockout, Lin played in China and Taiwan briefly, and almost signed a contract in November with a team in Italy, just days before the NBA lockout ended. 

Lin is the first American of Chinese descent to become a professional basketball player with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Born in Los Angeles, Lin grew up in Palo Alto, California. His parents Shirley and Gie-Ming emigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan in the mid-1970's. His family's ancestors are originally from China. His maternal grandmother is from Pinghu, Zhejiang Province in mainland China, and his paternal family ancestors immigrated to Taiwan from Zhangpu County, Fujian in mainland China in the 18th century. 

Cheered on and off the courts by Asian American fans, he also has reportedly had opposing fans lob ethnic slurs at him. He has said, "Maybe I can help break the stereotype." 

His breakout performance with the New York Knicks last week puts his career squarely on track as a major player to be reckoned with, Asian American or not.

What a story. 


Author, journalist and former reporter with the Wall Street Journal William Wong on "Linmania - Redefining American"

Author, journalist and former reporter with the Wall Street Journal William Wong weighs in on Jeremy Lin "Am I Linsane? You betcha!" 

Woah - Jeremy Lin is on Sports Illustrated Magazine's cover - Will the 'curse' of being on SI's cover jinx him? AsianConnections' editor and New York Bureau Chief Lia Chang is in the midst of Linmania in NYC with this report and a link to the Sports Illustrated story. 

Jeremy Lin coverage on Wikipedia

Jeremy Lin on Twitter

Jeremy Lin on Facebook 

Jeremy Lin's Official Channel on YouTube.com

The Wall Street Journal Feb. 12, 2012

Photo: Jeremy Lin at 2010 Golden State Warriors open practice.