Jeremy Lin Shared Some Thoughts About Cultural Appropriation And His Dreadlocks

Jeremy Lin has had a wide range of hairstyles since he broke into the NBA. Even his hair from NBA picture day to what he’s wearing on the court in preseason has changed. Namely, thats’ because Lin has played for the Brooklyn Nets wearing dreadlocks.

Take a look at what he sported when he showed up to picture day in August. Also please enjoy this very funny tweet.

OK, here’s what his recent hairstyle looked like on the court for the Nets.

Lin caused a bit of a stir when he appeared in a game with the look, and he wrote a piece about his hair and the style for The Players’ Tribune on Wednesday. In it, Lin explored his relationship with his hair and the connection hairstyles have to culture.

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.

So of course, I never want to do that to another culture.

Lin has certainly dealt with racism in his own way, so he’s going to be sensitive to issues like this. And he certainly seems to be wearing dreads in good faith here. He said he’s talked with a number of different teammates about it and wanted to be respectful. But he’s also looking for feedback from others to make sure that what he’s wearing isnt offensive to anyone.

Because honestly, I may be wrong here. Maybe one day I’ll look back and laugh at myself, or even cringe. I don’t have the answers. But I hope the thing you take away from what I’m writing is not that everyone should feel free to get braids or dreads — or that one gesture can smooth over the real misunderstandings that exist in our society around race and cultural identity. Not at all.

It’s a really interesting piece about how cultures change and borrow from others. And it seems like Lin is on the right track. It might not be the best haircut he ever has, but he seems able to handle change in his own way.

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