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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb 23, 2012/ 30 Shevat, 5772

Jeremy Lin: Achievement trumps identity politics

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Jeremy Lin is the New York Knicks basketball sensation whose so far brief but amazing performance on the court has set the world on fire in a mere month.

Most NBA superstars are not 23-year-old Harvard-graduates. And they are rarely devout Christian, second-generation Taiwanese-Americans. The fact that Lin is an anomaly has guaranteed both sensationalism and controversy, at least some of it politically incorrect. Take professional boxer Floyd Mayweather's recent remark that "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise."

Despite his crassness, Mayweather may be on to something, but not in the simplistic fashion he thinks. In Lin's storybook saga, it is hard to sort out all the racial-stereotyping and affirmative-action undertones, but I think it goes something like this: Lin was probably not given earlier opportunities commensurate with his proven talents, given that both Harvard graduates and Asians (perceived in the NBA as a twofer disadvantage) are probably unfairly stereotyped by basketball players, coaches and general managers as less physical and more nerdy -- and therefore not as athletic as either black or white players.

Yet, once the Knicks gave Lin even a small chance to display his innate talent, the profiling vanished. His undeniable merits as a shooting, passing and driving point guard have earned him almost all of the recognition that he has garnered. Remember, the NBA is a for-profit league that prides itself on adjudicating players solely on talent -- questions of diversity or proportionate racial representation usually be damned. After all, the Knicks began winning with Lin playing more, and should they start losing with him in the lineup, his current celebrity status will gradually wilt away.

But that's not quite the end of the irony. Mayweather claims that Lin is still getting excessive attention based on his race, as if racism were at work in winning him inordinate praise for the same sort of skills that the African-American majority in the NBA displays each day.

Again, Mayweather is both right and wrong. True, it is Lin's unusual background that makes him a minority within his field and thus warrants unusual recognition beyond his resonance in the Asian community. But that fact is not due to Lin being Asian per se. Were Lin a native Amazonian or from the North Pole, his unusual profile might likewise be a force multiplier to what he could earn from his undeniable skill and his contribution to his team's sudden success. The career of Tiger Woods is similar in that both his talent and his unusual background ensured the sort of recognition that other gifted golfers could only dream of.

In that regard, I am sure in the last 50 years that there have been all sorts of Harvard Law Review editors who had far more articles published during their tenure than did Barack Obama. Yet few were well known outside of Harvard and had secured book deals before graduating -- given that it was apparently deemed far more unusual for an African-American with a Kenyan-sounding name to serve as editor. (And one might argue further that Lin's actual performance, at least so far, better warrants his extraordinary publicity than did Obama's so-so record as a Harvard Law Review editor.)

In other words, what is not the norm always garners undue attention, sometimes warranted by actual performance, sometimes not. This is a fact that transcends race.

There are a few final politically correct paradoxes on display here. We are conditioned to think that diversity and race-based proportionality are mandatory goals in American government, the public workplace and the highly prized professions. If so, why not in the most high-profile and most highly compensated jobs in our society, such as those in professional basketball and football, where African-Americans are represented at rates seven to eight times greater than their percentage of the general population?

Mayweather has no problem with the fact that African-Americans are vastly over-represented (if such an objectionable term means in comparison to relative percentages of the general population) in high-profile, merit-based sports -- especially boxing, basketball and football. Indeed, he seems to wrongly denigrate Lin as a sort of affirmative-action player whose identity trumps his talent in earning him a stature otherwise impossible without race-based considerations. But that is precisely the line of argument, fairly or not, that others have made against affirmative action in general. In other words, how can one be for racial diversity considerations in the police or fire department, but not in the NBA or NFL?

Yet, in a mixed-up America, we still like to think that achievement eventually trumps identity politics. Whether it's Tiger Woods, Barack Obama or Jeremy Lin, their accolades will depend mostly on how well they perform.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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