Monday, February 20, 2012

'Some of my best friends are Asians ...'

Suddenly, it seems as if much of the nation is reflexively saying: "I don't care about Lin's race. Why some of my best friends are Asian." That's a sure sign that somebody's got a race problem.

As the whole world knows by now, red-faced ESPN fired an editor for using "chink in the armor" in a headline about hoops star Jeremy Lin. Anthony Federico, the perp, told the NY Daily News that he was devastated when he realized his mistake. "This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny," Federico said. Apparently he had "used the phrase 'at least 100 times' in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story."

And you know what? I actually believe the poor bastard. Which makes it even worse. It speaks volumes about the insidiousness of racism, a scourge that plagues us still even when it's unintentional. Bigotry had centuries to burrow deep into America's cultural marrow. It will take at least another generation -- or three -- to eradicate it. But as we slouch toward that elusive state of grace, our painfully self-conscious reaction to Lin should come as no surprise.

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