John L Warfield Center

'Linsanity' Event Panel Discusses Significance of Phenomenon

Wed, April 4, 2012
'Linsanity' Event Panel Discusses Significance of Phenomenon
(L-R) Dr. Frank Guridy, Dr. Madeline Hsu, Dr. Naomi Paik, Dr. Eric Tang, and Dr. Stephen Marshall (Photo credit: David Woodberry)

On March 28th, the Warfield Center, in collaboration with the Center for Asian American Studies, hosted a roundtable entitled “‘Linsanity’ and Afro-Asian America". The roundtable interrogated the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the Harvard-educated basketball player who took the NBA by storm in February and unleashed the phenomenon that became known as “Linsanity.” The panelists discussed Linsanity’s significance for contemporary understandings of race and masculinity in U.S. society, as well as African-American/Asian-American relations. Lin’s emergence produced an outpouring of fan support and an inordinate amount of commentary by basketball experts, due in part to the fact that Lin, as an Asian-American, was excelling in the predominantly Black space of professional basketball.

Panelists included Dr. Madeline Hsu (Associate Professor of History and Director of Asian American Studies), Dr. Stephen Marshall (Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and of American Studies), Dr. Naomi Paik (Assistant Professor of Asian-American Studies and of American Studies), and Dr. Eric Tang (Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies).

Although the “Linsanity” phenomenon was short-lived, the panelists unpacked its larger significance, offering reflections on Lin’s sudden ascendance. Professor Hsu situated Lin’s brief basketball career within the context of a longer history of Asian-American basketball players going back to the 1940s. Professor Marshall critically interrogated the “goodwill” which black commentators offered to Lin while suspending their normal critical assessment of basketball players. Professor Paik discussed the implications of the sexism that was expressed in the tweets on Lin’s success by Fox Sports commentator, Jason Whitlock. Finally, Professor Tang highlighted Lin’s roots in Bay Area basketball, a region that has produced outstanding African-American point guards. The panelists then received several insightful questions from the audience, which was largely comprised of students.

The Warfield Center would like to thank the panelists for sharing their views on ‘Linsanity’, as well as the community members, staff, and students who made up the audience and made this event an enlightening experience.

See more pictures from the event in our Facebook album here (photo credits: David Woodberry).

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