Revisiting Linsanity: Understanding the Continued Cultural Significance of Jeremy Lin.

Vincent Quang Pham. Revisiting Linsanity: Understanding the Continued Cultural Significance of Jeremy Lin. Honors Thesis, University of Washington. 2013.

What makes the case of Jeremy Lin so significant is that in the age of social media, he has become one of the most famous Asian Americans in a society devoid of such individuals through the Linsanity experience. As a consequence of the ideological media narratives that focus on race, when we see Jeremy Lin, we do not see the third year basketball player, but instead the embodiment of a socially constructed cultural phenomenon, the son of hard working Taiwanese immigrants who overcame racial prejudices and being underestimated in high school and college. To emphasize the importance of Lin and how the media attention towards him reveals the U.S culture's understanding of Asian Americans, I will draw upon Lisa Lowe's statement that "the Asian is always seen as an immigrant, as the "foreigner-within," even when born in the United States and the descendent of generations born here before". While such a claim can be supported by the explicitly racial responses to Lin's successes and struggles, Lowe's relevance is strongest in the subtle ways in which we interject race when discussing Lin's basketball play. Thus, my close analysis of how media coverage responded to Linsanity reveals how even though the role of Jeremy Lin has introduced a new model of pride for the Asian American community, we must not forget that Lin's rise informs and challenges Asian Americans to rethink their uneasy relationship to mass culture, assimilation and acceptance- traditional tenants of the Asian American experience. In keeping with my thesis, the investigation of Jeremy Lin's public image reveals not whether Asian Americans have been assimilated or not, but to what they, and to the lesser extent African Americans, have become assimilated to in accordance to the white American imagination.

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