Last weekend, ESPN fired an editor who posted a racially offensive headline about NBA player Jeremy Lin; the network also suspended an anchor who used the same term. And taking the Lin coverage as a starting point, SNL produced a parody mocking a media double standard: stereotypes about Asian Americans are acceptable, but stereotypes about African Americans are offensive. The Lin media storm exposes the myth of a colorblind society. As much as we want to believe in meritocracy, equality and individuality, we rely on racial assumptions to make sense of the world and those around us. In many cases, the assumptions carry real consequences.
A certain ritual of public witness--thanking Jesus in the postgame interview, praising God for victory, pointing heavenward after a score--has become routine behavior for devout Christian athletes. Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is the most prominent current example. Another, perhaps different approach--or perhaps not so different--may be emerging with basketball player Jeremy Lin, who in recent weeks burst out of nowhere to become a fan favorite on the New York Knicks.