Jeremy Lin’s New Dreads is a Win for Culture Appreciation

Its been a very treacherous road navigating cultural appropriation in the media as of late. The onslaught of hate, racism, bigotry and segregation is no stranger to the U.S of A. Change is on the horizon but its dimming glow is barely attainable.

That’s why it’s very refreshing to see an influential public figure like Jeremy Lin speak positively about culture appreciation.

Jeremey Lin, Guard for the Brooklyn Nets, is known for his great court vision, team plays, and fast breaks to the net, but he’s also known for the many different hairstyles he has during the season.

“I started growing it out a few years ago in Charlotte, it was just something I was doing with six of my family members and friends. It was meant to be fun, and to be an expression of freedom.”

Over the course of his many different hairstyles, Jeremy never gave much attention to other’s opinion on his look, but it was one response that “made me pause”,

“With my other hairstyles, the worst thing people said about them was like, “Dude, that looks dumb.” But I didn’t care too much. I was doing it for me. But with dreads, I came to understand that it was different.

jeremy lin dreadlocks brooklyn nets nba

Friends would say things like, “Bro, what about appropriation?”

Jeremy goes on to explain how that has resonated with him being an Asian-American,

“I’ll be honest: At first I didn’t see the connection between my own hair and cultural appropriation. Growing up, I’d only ever picked from one or two hairstyles that were popular among my friends and family at the time. But as an Asian-American, I do know something about cultural appropriation. I know what it feels like when people get my culture wrong. I know how much it bothers me when Hollywood relegates Asian people to token sidekicks, or worse, when it takes Asian stories and tells them without Asian people. I know how it feels when people don’t take the time to understand the people and history behind my culture. I’ve felt how hurtful it is when people reduce us to stereotypes of Bruce Lee or “shrimp fried rice.” It’s easy to brush some of these things off as “jokes,” but eventually they add up. And the full effect of them can make you feel like you’re worth less than others, and that your voice matters less than others.”

It was a recent conversation with one of the Net’s Staff, Savannah Hart, that really opened up his eyes.

“I told her about my thought process — how I was really unsure about getting dreads because I was worried I’d be appropriating black culture. She said that if it wasn’t my intention to be dismissive of another culture, then maybe it could be an opportunity to learn about that culture.”

He goes on to say,

“It’s easy to take things that we enjoy from other cultures — that’s one of the coolest things about a melting-pot society like ours. But I think we have to be careful that taking doesn’t become all we do. With all the division, political turmoil and senseless violence in our society right now, we need to talk to each other more than ever.”

Thanks J.Lin for being  spark of optimism.

Check out his full article on The Player’s Tribune.
Photos Courtesy of The Player’s Tribune.

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About The Author

Stan Karr Yeung Designer, Creator, Musician. Lover of boxes.

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