By Cindy Hsu
When the name “Jason Williams” is entered into the Internet search engines, it will present a plethora of websites listing the numerous achievements this reputable retired NBA player had acquired throughout his career. Having been picked in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft and decorated with titles such as the” Top 25 Players of All Time” in 2007, Williams is generally a well-known player. However, many of his adoring fans are often uninformed of his past racist outbursts. On February 28, 2001, an Asian American Golden State Warriors’ fan named Michael Ching shouted at Jason (who was playing for the Sacramento Kings) to “get used to sitting on the bench.” However, the third-year NBA player lashed back with immensely inappropriate and racist comments, including, “I’ll shoot all you Asian mother——-. Do you remember the Vietnam War? I’ll shoot all ya’ll like that.” That is after asking Ching if he was a “fag” and calling him a “slant eyed mother——.” Eventually, Williams was fined $15,000, which is hardly a dent in these professional basketball players’ $10 million-plus salary. Many newspapers and other forms of media opted to not cover the unfortunate incident and chose to look the other way. Little was done to eradicate the racially insensitive comments by Williams due to the fear that the audiences’ social awareness could mar the NBA’s reputation. When Ching expressed his concern about Williams’ verbal attack to Robert Rowell, the Warriors’ vice president of business operations, it was immediately reported to the league. Ching said, “He needs to be held accountable. If he’s not going to apologize, people need to know that, too. That’s more important than any fine or suspension by the NBA.” However, within less than two weeks, the league’s spokesperson Brian McIntyre deemed the incident a closed matter, refusing further questions about the incident.
However, in light of the recent disturbance in the NBA with Donald Sterling’s also racially insensitive comments regarding African Americans, the Internet offers an array of lavish criticism on Sterling’s character. Even his mental competency is presented as questionable for trial. It is evident through the media, and multiple social networks such as Twitter’s #donaldsterling, that this recent act of racism is clearly not acceptable in society today. The NBA’s decision to fine Sterling 2.5 million dollars, as well as banning him from the NBA for life, is an adequately suited penalty relative to just the $15,000 Jason Williams had to pay. In retrospect, the entire nation is seeking justice, and ultimately denouncing the racist comments Donald Sterling had inflicted against African Americans. The question which remains is why the same wasn’t done with Jason Williams, for blatantly committing an act of racism against Asian Americans.
Asian Americans have often been classified as the “model minority,” essentially categorizing its members as of higher success than the average American population. To be of high success financially, economically, socially, etc., it requires dedication and commitment, which ultimately forged the stigma of the Asians’ admirable work ethic. The hard-working Asian Americans, however, are then standardized as studious or diligent, and eventually the stereotypic image of a nerdy and passive Asian is formed. Historically labeled as a pushover by societal stereotypes, Asian Americans are often discounted for, consequently making it okay for society to downplay racist events against Asian Americans, such as the Michael Ching incident, when it is a blatant injustice against humanity. (end)