Monday, February 20, 2012
Mason Betha Was Right...
I really enjoyed this NY Times Article today about breakout stars and race. Despite the Mayweathers of the world, I think Lobo poses a very real question:
"Could anyone recall a black athlete who had come off the bench like Tim Tebow or out of the blue like Jeremy Lin, flared to immediate stardom and received the sort of impassioned outpouring of love that has enveloped Tebow and Lin?" - William C. Rhoden
While I enjoy the article, it plays naive. There isn't a preference for Asians over Blacks in sports. The answer frankly, isn't even that deep. It's right in front of us...
In the late-90s, I remember thinking it was kinda bullshit that Jeremy Shockey was on DKNY billboards when he wasn't even a top-5 tight end in the NFL. When Eminem came out, you knew he'd be the first rapper on the top-100 format radio stations. When Tebow started winning games, you knew bars above Houston St. would have Broncos games on blast and every one below was going to pretend it didn't happen. But what did Eminem, Tebow, and Jeremy Lin do that Victor Cruz didn't? Plain and simple, they broke stereotypes.
No one likes waking up and having their lives determined by race. Humans are obsessed with determining their own destinies. We're egotistical animals that like to know we have the ability to choose our own adventures. That's what excites us about Lin and Company, they not only defy odds, but also stereotypes. Eminem enabled a generation of "wiggers". Mobb Deep, Nas, CNN, 50-Cent and anyone else reppin' Queens unwittingly put a generation of "chiggers" from Bayside-Flushing on their backs. Lin is important because despite court vision, high basketball IQ, and Harvard, his feats are essentially physical. While Black people have been boxed up, stereotyped, and forced into physical tasks globally, Asians have been put in cubicles. We've been juxtaposed and placed at opposite corners of the sandbox.
There are no two races in America or the world more diametrically opposed than Asians-Blacks and the pressure points for this relationship are bodegas.
I understand black angst towards Asians and I understand why there's bulletproof glass at #1 Wok. My grandparents didn't have a single nice thing to say about Black people growing up, but as the only Asian kid in the elementary and middle schools I went to, I was for all intensive purposes: the black kid. Even at Dr. Phillips High School with 4000 students and the majority Black or Latino, I was still a "chigger" or "chinaman". Did I mind? No, just don't call me white. haha. Ohhh poor white people, mo money, mo mayonaise jokes. (Now we're even ESPN)
I have an entirely Black, Chinese, and Caribbean staff at Baohaus. Not by design, it just happened. We all get along, 80% is from Lefrak City, and 2 of 'em were rounded up in the raids 2 months ago. When it happened, we held them down, let them work through it, and did what we could to support. We don't judge. You live with people from different cultures long enough, you realize, we're all just trying to come up. Jewish people own all the banks because that's all Christians LET them do. They owned the laundromats because that's all you LET them do. When they moved up, we moved in to the laundromats, delis, and now law firms. There's solidarity because we all know how it feels. But, somewhere along the way, every culture has the Uncle Ruckuses or Chans that fall off the wagon.
I'll lay it out very clearly since other people are pussies. The Asian Club Asians who don't hang out with anyone besides Asians assume black people are lazy, rude, ignorant, and they impress baboon like characteristics upon them. It's bullshit. It's like the people who assume all Chinese people have moles, hair growths, scars from tetnis shots, two left feet, pocket protectors, and TI-82s. I am no longer surprised when white people who don't experience duality have these beliefs, but I find it entirely unacceptable for people of color to have them. Whether you're Black, Yellow, or Brown, you know how it fucking feels to be stereotyped and stigmatized. We know the stereotypical mother fuckers in the neighborhood who make the rest of us look bad, and we all know how the stereotypes aren't true. Why would you impress them on someone else? That's why Mayweather pisses so many people off. His sombrero wearing ass should know better.
I hope Rebecca Lobo doesn't feel like it's a conspiracy against Victor Cruz and other Black athletes who come from nowhere, do the damn thing, and then don't get the Jeremy Lin treatment. Personally, I knew Victor Cruz was Puerto Rican and when he scored I'd hit up all my frog loving friends. It was fun playing DANCE, DANCE, DANCE in the barber shop when his highlights came on. In NY, that's how it is. The lines between neighborhoods are blurred and when your friends get excited about someone reppin' their set, you get excited too. That's the way it should be. Solidarity. I wanna see my brothers eat.
Victor Cruz SHOULD have blown up. But as always, roads lead back to the Godfather. You expect Michael to work in the family business. That wouldn't be a surprise, but war hero? Of course! He broke a stereotype. Vito wanted him to be Senator Corleone, but it didn't happen. Is it fair that Cruz did relatively the same thing as Lin and Tebow but didn't get the same outpouring of support? No. But, honestly, Puerto Rican and Black people for the most part weren't even that excited themselves. I didn't see a lot of air brushed Victor Cruz shirts in the Heights when I went to Malecon. I doubt Rebecca was coppin' Cruz jerseys, but I started thinking... What if Victor Cruz's accomplishments cut against the stereotypical grain. What if he was a war hero? Or a Senator? And then I realized it... You know who was Jeremy before Lin? BARACK MOTHER FUCKING OBAMA. Your answer is right there, Rebecca...Let's do it again in 2012.
SOLIDARITY. It's not just people of color who should be supporting each other, it's basic golden rule shit. We are the world yall: Do unto others as you want to be treated. Mason Betha had it all figured out in "24 Hours to Live".
"I'd do good shit like take kids from the ghetto
Show them what they could have if they never settled
Take every white kid from high class level
Show them what Christmas like run up in the ghetto"
Support the people who feel your pain... We're all Asian when Jeremy balls. He's not just a symbol of being Asian, but someone who chose his own adventure. Whites, Blacks, Yellows, and Browns should all be able to appreciate that. Child's Play...
ADDENDUM: In the original post I didn't write this, but a very important factor is SPENDING POWER. Whites and Asians to a lesser extent have spending power. Having money is like having extra votes. You can propel a native son onto a national stage and beyond with your interest, approval, and money. Why do certain broadcasts pick certain stories for the 7 o'clock news? Ratings, advertisers, etc. Since when are people making advertising decisions to chase the Puerto Rican dollar? It's not fair but we have to realize THIS is why certain people are championed and others are not. Victor Cruz, you deserve better homie... America, STEP THE FUCK UP. Journalists/writers need to write what SHOULD be written, not just what they're incentivized to write. #NewsroomShit