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Jeremy Lin on the “de-masculinization” of Asian men

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In a YouTube video posted last week, a well-known Asian-American trainer posed this question to Jeremy Lin during a Q-and-A at a gathering of Asian-American men and women.

“Did you ever come across the stereotype Asian guys not being attractive, and if you have, how do you think we can break that in the American culture especially?” fitness activist Kevin Kreider asked.

Lin agreed with basic tenet of Kreider’s question, noting the bias he’s faced as an Asian-American male on the court and how that bias can even be seen in the Asian-American community.

Kreider believes that the media has portrayed Asian and Asian-American men and women differently, that while women have been the victim of “oversexualization,” men are portrayed as “not sexy, not good-looking.” Instead, he argues, they have been stereotyped as “being good at math and science and making money.” Asian and Asian-American men “keep their head down,” Kreider added.

Here’s what Kreider posted on YouTube, including Lin’s answer...

Kreider, a Philadelphia native, says the discussion took place “right after the 76ers game.” The Nets last played in Philadelphia on April 4.

Lin responds by discussing how he was treated during the 2010 Draft when he and John Wall came up with similar scores in athleticism pre-draft, but Lin went undrafted and Wall was taken No. 1.

“Me and John [Wall] were the fastest people in the draft, but he was athletic and I was ‘deceptively’ athletic,” Lin said. “I think I’ve been deceptively ‘whatever’ my whole life.”

Daryl Morey, the Rockets GM, has said at least in his case, bias played a role in not taking Lin.

Then Lin moved on to the larger social context of what Krieder was saying...

“I feel like a lot of times we had a lot of Asian girls going for non-Asian guys,” Lin said. “You don’t see a lot of non-Asian girls going for Asian guys. That’s just like when they say ‘yellow fever’ growing up, it wasn’t like all these white girls are going for Asian guys. It was the Asian girls going for white guys.”

Lin concludes that things are changing. “I think Asian American males are viewed differently, but I think we just need to keep being ourselves and I think that the world will come around and appreciate us Asians,” he said.

As Kreider notes, Lin “broke the stereotypes for Asian-American males,” which of course is part of his popularity ... and his desire to speak out on these issues.