Nets guard Jeremy Lin opened up about his hair style in The Players' Tribune after Kenyon Martin criticized him for having dreadlocks.
Upon seeing Lin's hair style -- which he said was "meant to be fun, and to be an expression of freedom" -- Martin posted a video calling him out for appropriating culture.
"Do I need to remind this damn boy that his last name Lin?" Martin said in the video. "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--- goin' on on 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."
Lin responded on Instagram by saying he was "grateful" that Martin felt that way and then noted the fact that Martin has Chinese symbols tattooed on his body. Lin later wrote on The Players' Tribune that he wanted to call for acceptance, peace and empathy.
"I'll be honest: At first I didn't see the connection between my own hair and cultural appropriation," Lin wrote. "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.
"I hope that this is a start, not an end, to more dialogue about our differences," he added. "We need more empathy, more compassion and less judgment. That takes actual work and communication. So let's start now."