A lot has been made of Jeremy Lin’s various hairstyles.
They have been highly suspect on multiple occasions, but his recent ‘do has created a little bit of a controversy. Lin showed up to camp wth the Brooklyn Nets sporting dreadlocks. But for J Lin, this isn’t just another hairstyle, he wrote an entire Player’s Tribune article about sporting dreads and respecting other cultures.
“This process started out about hair, but it’s turned into something more for me. I’m really grateful to my teammates and friends for being willing to help me talk through such a difficult subject, one that I’m still learning about and working my way through. Over the course of the last few years and all these hairstyles, I’ve learned that there’s a difference between ‘not caring what other people think’ and actually trying to walk around for a while in another person’s shoes. The conversations I had weren’t always very comfortable, and at times I know I didn’t say the right things. But I’m glad I had them — because I know as an Asian-American how rare it is for people to ask me about my heritage beyond a surface level.”
I mean, fair enough. This seems like a little bit of an extra interpretation of a hairstyle, but props to Lin for recognizing the cultural ramifications of wearing dreadlocks.
But not everyone was happy about the dreads. Former NBA ballplayer Kenyon Martin posted a now-deleted Instagram video yesterday roasting Jeremy Lin’s appropriation. Martin said,
“Do I need to remind this damn boy that his last name Lin? Like, come on man. Let’s stop this, man, with these people, man. There is no way possible that he would have made it on one of our teams with that bulls–t goin’ on on his head. Come on man, somebody need to tell him, like: ‘All right bro, we get it. You wanna be black.’ Like, we get it. But the last name is Lin.”
Pretty hilarious from K-Mart, seems like some solid low-level roasting but Jeremy Lin has thought a lot about this and came back with a very Ivy League comeback to Martin’s post, politely pointing out the fact that Martin has Chinese tattoos.
Jeremy Lin with the kindest comeback of all-time. pic.twitter.com/oRx6BLrpHw
— PinPoint Sports (@SportsPinPoint) October 6, 2017
“Hey man, it’s all good. You definitely don’t have to like my hair and [are] definitely entitled to your opinion. Actually I [am] legit grateful [for] you sharin it [to be honest]. At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos [because] I think its a sign of respect. And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other’s cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops . . . had your poster up on my wall growin up.”
Those are some choir boy bars right there. But Lin actually makes a really interesting point about minorities in America embracing other cultures and thusly bringing more exposure and attention to them. Lin further told the New York Post,
“At the end of the day … we need to spend a little more time thinking about what it’d be like to be somebody else. He said what he said but I’m not really that offended. If that’s how he thinks, that’s how he thinks. But my job is to be gracious, loving and if I can just share with him a little of my side I think the next time maybe he’ll have a different viewpoint.”
Kenyon came through with another deleted Instagram video kind of pulling back from his comments saying he was playing around,
“I see I ruffled a few of y’all’s feathers, so: good. Take y’all comments to the bank and see what they give y’all for ’em. But that man grown. That man can rock whatever hairstyle he wanna rock. That don’t mean I have to like it or agree with it. Second of all, I’m grown. I can say whatever I wanna say about whatever I wanna say about. It ain’t about race, it ain’t about none of that. Like, grow up people. It was a joke. But I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, so it is what it is.”
I gotta be honest, when I first saw Lin’s dreads I was pretty taken aback.
It seemed like a textbook cringeworthy appropriation of another culture, but dude is so damn thoughtful about it and is actually bringing some really interesting insight to the issue of cultural appropriation that I can’t help but say SHOUTOUT J LIN AND HIS DUMB DREADS. Keep living your best life Jeremy.