CAAMFest Student Delegate responds to “Linsanity”
Filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong’s “Linsanity” documentary made its Bay Area debut at the Castro Theater on March 14 as the opening film for the 31st annual CAAMFest (formally known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival). Jackson was especially proud of the documentary because it brought together the Asian American community, which packed the 1,400-seat theater.
The film follows the life and struggle of Jeremy Lin as he creates his own formation of culture (hybridity) while containing multiple identities/intersectionalities (multiplicity): faith, family, and community.
“Linsanity” also enlightens the viewers about two critical concepts concerning Asian Americans. The first concept is Asian American masculinity. The second concept is racial microaggressions popularized by Derald Sue et al, which are essentially modern day racisms.
The concept of Asian American masculinity is apparent to Jeremy and the filmmakers at two critical points in his life. The first is the transition from high school to college and the second from college to the NBA. Jeremy was a first-team All-State selection for the state of California and the Division II Northern California Player of the Year. Despite these accolades and high hopes for playing basketball at the Division I level at Pac-12 schools like Stanford and UCLA, he could not even get the attention of some Division III colleges in California. Jeremy even stated, “if I were black, I would get a Division I scholarship,” noting there was a racial bias in the recruiting process. Eventually, Jeremy went to Harvard and excelled on the court. Again, despite his incredible statistics, Jeremy was overlooked by numerous NBA franchises as he went undrafted and struggled to find playing time once picked up by a few teams.
The second concept is racial microaggressions. He experienced these while playing at Harvard where people in the stands would comment about the size of his eyes and saying he should “go back home.” Other occurrences were made at the peak of Linsanity, after the Knicks extended their season high winning streak to seven games. ESPN anchor Max Bretos was interviewing former Knicks guard Walt Frazier and asked, “But if there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?” If that was not bad enough, the next game after the Knicks unprecedented winning streak ended to the New Orleans Hornets, the headline of an article on ESPN mobile read, “Chink in the Armor.” The term chink is a derogatory word referring to a Chinese person. I believe this was a poor choice of words. The word chink could have easily been replaced with kink, which is the more popular media expression, “kink in the armor.” This is why I believe the comments made by the anchor and the author of the article were intentionally using the word chink in terms of Jeremy Lin, as a horrible pun.
Although Jeremy faced adversity until finally becoming a national phenomenon last year, the one constant in his life was his trust/belief that God will guide him. Ultimately he realized God had a plan for him and continues to put his full faith in God.
If you want to learn more about the life of Jeremy Lin or relive the Linsane experience that took place last February, I would recommend seeing the documentary “Linsanity.”
Chosen from a large competitive pool of undergraduate and graduate students, the Student Delegates are a small yet diverse group of students who rigorously train at CAAMFest “boot camp.” Under guidance from festival staff, student delegates participate in an intense schedule of music events, cooking events, film screenings, discussions, and exclusive meetings with filmmakers and special guests. The program aims to cultivate the next generation of filmmakers, activists, educators, and community leaders. Check back for blogs from all of the 2013 student delegates!
Southwest Airlines is a proud sponsor of CAAM’s Student Delegate Program. Selected CAAM Internship Program applicants may qualify for complimentary air travel, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.