This is why the Jeremy Lin phenomenon has been so spectacular. While it does transcend race -- his story is the perfect storm of underdog elements being played out in the media capital of the world -- it does not exclude race. Lin is a breakthrough because the Asian American male has always lagged behind in cultural visibility and acceptance. There has been progress in other areas, particularly entertainment, but sports has been the final frontier. "If you look at it historically, the dominant group has always favored the female of a minority, seeing them as assets, commodities or possessions," says Ruth Chung, a USC professor who specializes in Asian American cultural identity. "Males are seen as competition, and for Asian American men, their greatest threat to white males was perceived to be their intelligence, so it was always easy to stereotype them as being geeky and socially inept."
Yeah the stereotype was that Asian American men were good at math but poor at driving to the hoop or getting the girl in a movie. The only bad-assed Asians I know are martial arts guys from China or Japan and not really many Americans. However, Lin breaks this stereotype by being really good at a sport where there really isn't any social promotion. You can either blow past defenders and score 28 points a game or you can't.
Now all Lin needs is a super hot girlfriend who is not Asian and we will have liftoff. I mean if he dates the typical demure Asian girl then he goes right back into the stereotype. However, if he dates some awesome looking Latina or even a black girl then all bets are off.