The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that race-based college admissions are unconstitutional. The ruling is in line with public opinion: Both Pew Research’s survey before the court’s decision and an Economist/YouGov poll after the verdict confirmed that most Americans (including black and Asian Americans) support banning affirmative action in college admissions. Many Americans celebrated the end of affirmative action as an important step toward eliminating racial discrimination and achieving equality for all in the United States. But the woke left has targeted Asian Americans who supported the ruling with racially charged rhetoric and outlandish false accusations.
NBC and CBC denigrated Asian American plaintiffs in the two Supreme Court cases on affirmative action as “pawns” or “tools” used by white supremacists because both cases were led by the conservative activist Ed Blum, who is white. NPR accused Asian Americans who supported ending affirmative action of being radicalized by “the promise of proximity to whiteness and power.” The Nation outdid all other leftist media outlets with the most outrageous claim that Asian American conservatives are “key allies” and “militant co-conspirators” of white supremacists.
Some leftists directed their bigotry at individual Asian Americans. For instance, Yiatin Chu, a parent of New York City public school students, was viciously attacked on Twitter after she shared a celebratory message with her daughter on Twitter. The Atlantic writer Jemele Hill tweeted at Chu, “Can’t wait until she reads that you gladly carried the water for white supremacy and stabbed the folks in the back whose people fought diligently for Asian American rights in America.”
By ridiculing Asian Americans as “pawns,” “tools,” and people who “carry water” for white supremacists, or as being radicalized by “the promise of proximity to whiteness and power,” the woke leftists treat Asian Americans as second-class citizens and inferior human beings who have no agency, cannot think independently, and do not act on our own free will. How is this woke racism any different from white supremacy, which believes that white people are superior to other racial groups and should lord over them?
The Left’s Historical Ignorance
The leftist’s anti-Asian rhetoric also betrays their historical ignorance. They should have read Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. UNC cases, in which he wrote, “Asian Americans can hardly be described as the beneficiaries of historical racial advantages. … Strong anti-Asian sentiments in the Western States led to the adoption of many discriminatory laws at the State and local levels, similar to those aimed at blacks in the South,” and “segregation in public facilities, including schools, was quite common until after the Second World War.”
By accusing Asian Americans of being “allies” of white supremacists, the woke leftists are ignorant of not only the long history of racial discrimination against Asian Americans but also Asian Americans’ important contributions to fighting for racial equality and civil rights for all Americans in this country.
Chinese immigrants fought in the U.S. Civil War and sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears to end slavery. After the U.S. Congress passed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which restricted Chinese immigration to the United States, Asian American Wong Kim Ark fought for his U.S. citizenship in a landmark case, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Wong’s favor in 1898. The verdict “upholds the principle of birthright citizenship and affirms the universality of American national identity — the idea that anyone born on U.S. soil can be American regardless of race,” Time magazine explained.
In Ozawa v. United States and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, two Asian American legal residents challenged the constitutionality of the Naturalization Act of 1906, which allowed only “free white persons” and “persons of African nativity or persons of African descent” to become naturalized U.S. citizens. Eventually, the 1952 Immigration Act removed the racial barrier to the naturalization process and paved the way for any eligible immigrant, regardless of race, to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
During World War II, two Japanese Americans challenged the constitutionality of the U.S. government’s incarceration of Japanese Americans without due process of law in Hirabayashi v. United States and Korematsu v. United States. As these and other historical examples have demonstrated, Asian Americans have never shied away from opposing racial discrimination and defending the constitutional rights of all Americans.
The woke left’s anti-Asian bigotry reflects their panic over the fact that their radical policies, from defunding police to eliminating meritocracy in education, have alienated many racial minorities. Asians, blacks, and Hispanics are all reportedly moving to the political right. Rather than addressing deficiencies in policies to win back minority constituencies, the leftists have resorted to denouncing any minority who dares to think differently as “white supremacist.” In a viral tweet that captured several leftist media headlines, podcaster Noam Blum noticed the irony: “White Supremacy is more diverse than Harvard.”
Asian Americans won’t be intimidated by woke racism. Our resolve to continue to advocate for equality before the law and oppose racial discrimination in any shape or form has only been strengthened. We will never forget what Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion in SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC: “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”