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Mikeonetwo First of all, it's not a "stereotype" when no one knows about it. A stereotype is when people limit other people because they think they can't be or do anything outside of the box of the way they are defined by others, usually defined in ways which are ignorant of the true reality. Most people in the US don't think about Asian culture or Asian-American culture, know little to nothing about it, don't know either its strengths or its weaknesses. There's nothing wrong with talking about culture, any more than there's anything wrong with talking about individual traits. The idea that cultures have no qualities is actually the most stereotype-reinforcing of them all, because not talking about culture is the same as letting the dominant culture define what is "normal" and what is "acceptable". Other cultures besides the dominant one in our country exist, they have qualities, and they do things differently. To acknowledge this is to acknowledge diversity, not to pigeonhole people by ignorant and narrow definitions from the outside, which is the essence of stereotyping. Stereotyping is done from the point of view of the dominant culture as a way of belittling the minority culture or ethnicity or group.
Studies show that Asians naturally perceive situations more in terms of context than Westerners do. This is a scientifically established phenomenon. Americans and Westerners in general tend to think much more in terms of the individual, the star, the person in the foreground. Asian culture tends to take a more holistic view. There are strengths and weaknesses to each approach.
To say that Jeremy Lin is demonstrating to the world some of the strengths of a team-oriented cultural outlook is not to say that Jeremy Lin is entirely defined by his parents culture. He's also an American. But Asian-Americans --- our parents or grandparents ---- our ancestors, they did come from Asia, and it is different from America. There's nothing wrong with pointing this out, just as there's nothing wrong with pointing out that, say, Anglo-American culture is more individualistic than other cultures, or Americans tend to have more wealth disparity than, say, Europeans or Japanese. There are cultural traits, and sometimes you can see evidence of this being played out in individuals. But especially when it's a minority culture --- like Asian-American culture --- something most Americans know little to nothing about, it's not a "stereotype" to talk about this because it's not something people even know about in the first place.
2 years ago on What I See In Jeremy Lin
Sometimes it takes one breakout example to break through stereotypes. It's obvious that one reason people overlooked Jeremy Lin was his ethnicity. It was hard to believe that an Asian-American from Harvard could be a standout player in the NBA. Even one sportswriter admitted he missed Lin's talent partly because of his own blinders. But there's another story here, which is that there are strengths, winning strengths, to Asian cultural tendencies which i think factor into Lin's play. His play is unselfish --- it works because he makes the team better. He finds his teammates with pinpoint accuracy and incredible speed. He's not the first player to do this --- Magic Johnson comes to mind --- but his coach said that this is the type of thing that is hard to see during workouts and shootarounds. It comes out when you put this type of person in the right context, in the context of actually playing for real.
What made Phil Jackson a great coach was he could see the whole picture, the holistic picture of basketball. It's the one sport where fluid, moment to moment team coordination wins games more than individual athleticism. Yet American culture tends to elevate superstars, rather than seeing things as coherent wholes. Asian culture tends to be more about how things work in context, and here we have a player who proudly plays the game both as an individual athlete and as an incredible team player who makes his teammates better. That is a genuine contribution that I think Asian-Americans have to make to our shared American culture. It's a winning approach, a Linning approach, I mean.