Kenyon Martin vs Jeremy Lin: What Did We Learn From This Dreadlock Controversy

What Happened?

Kenyon Martin released an Instagram video about 8 months ago expressing his feelings about Jeremy Lin’s dreadlocks:

“Do I need to remind this damn boy that his last name Lin? Like, come on man. Let’s stop this, man, with these people, man. There is no way possible that he would have made it on one of our teams with that bulls**t goin’ on in his head. Come on man, somebody need to tell him, like: ‘All right bro, we get it. You wanna be black.’ Like, we get it. But the last name is Lin.” – Kenyon Martin

Jeremy Lin Responded On Twitter

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 7.10.32 PM

“Hey man, it’s all good. You definitely don’t have to like my hair and definitely entitled to your opinion. Actually I legit grateful you sharin it tbh. At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos I think its a sign of respect. And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other’s cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops . . . had your poster up on my wall growin up.” – Jeremy Lin


Also In This Interview…


“The Brooklyn Nets point guard wasn’t interested in staring a beef with the former New Jersey Nets forward over allegations of cultural appropriation.” NBA Highlights YouTube

What Did We Learn From This Situation?

  1. That it’s never a good idea to accuse someone of cultural appropriation while you are in fact maintaining practices, rituals, processes from another culture then your own. Jeremy Lin said, “At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos I think its a sign of respect.” Kenyon Martin may not have even realized the hypocrisy in his statements. Let me say this, I appreciate Kenyon for defending black culture in the best way that he knew how to at that particular moment. I only wish there was a better foundation for success in Kenyon’s argument.
  2. A black man has always been punished severely for defending himself or his culture in white america, you could almost say it is part of the American tradition as much as baseball and the star spangled banner. Jeremy Lin could have had on a dashiki and a black power medallion and I bet Kenyon Martin would have still been accused of racism and prejudice. Do you think America would have treated Jeremy Lin the same if he accused Kenyon of cultural appropriation for having Chinese tattoos? In my heart, I truly don’t believe the reaction would be the same. Jeremy Lin’s name would not have been obliterated by the media and the people, maybe by a few, but not on a unanimous level by any means.

Author: Jason W.

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