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Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stated in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian in 2017 that Anglo-Protestant cultural values are superior.
“I don't shrink from the word, 'superior,’” she said, adding, “Everyone wants to come to the countries that exemplify” these values. “Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans.”
Perhaps in doing this, Wax was setting the tone for the problematic beliefs she would express subsequently. Her recent attacks on Asians, particularly Indians, are not isolated incidents; Wax has been making headlines for years, getting national attention with her controversial comments and ideas.
In 2005, she authored an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal titled “Some Truths About Black Disadvantage”, which the Black Law Students Association had denounced at the time. Wax also said in a video in 2017 that she had never seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of a Pennsylvania Law class.
A little background on Wax: she joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 2001 and holds degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. Wax has delivered numerous talks on themes relating to family, economy, and public law. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Wax chose a career in law and worked with the Solicitor General's office from 1988 to 1994.
Wax’s Explosive Comments on Tucker Carlson’s Show
This April, Amy Wax appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show and sparked a debate on racism in the US. This time, her remarks were directed against Asians and Indians. She slandered South Asian students who were interested in social justice issues, claiming that Blacks, Asians, and immigrants resent Western achievements.
What Wax perhaps fails to understand is that often, professors like her think that it’s only “whites” who must speak about civilisation and social issues. Their prejudice implies that even if one is a citizen of the US, they should have no right to speak about the country’s social problems if they are not white.
What Wax is arguing is that one’s right to express themselves or speak out against injustice should be limited by colour and race. And it’s here that her belief in the intellectual ‘supremacy’ of whites is laid bare, even if she may not explicitly say so.
Why the Erstwhile Colonisers Feel Uneasy
Several white nations were colonisers for centuries, and it’s only now that a number of historically subjugated countries and their peoples have begun to re-establish themselves. The reemergence of a decolonised mind with a sense of identity and freedom of expression has led to the emergence of intellectuals and renowned scholars across societies.
But this is unacceptable to intellectuals like Amy Wax. It astounds them that societies that the colonisers treated as subjects for years can have a cohesive thought system through which they challenge both current and historical injustices; it irks them that the erstwhile ‘colonies’ can embark on a path of development and progress independently.
Numerous individuals from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, who have immigrated to other cultures in search of better opportunities, have experienced similar racial injustice.
The beliefs of Wax aren’t just a commentary on racism, but about the very question of how the world works, who is entitled to have an opinion, and on whose opinion the world should base its judgments.
A Twisted Attack on India and Indian Women
When Amy rails against Indians or South Asians, she is also railing against the culture they represent; it’s a rejection of any mental faculty or philosophy they may possess.
In the context of India, Amy’s rants are worrisome and present a complex case as she criticises women, particularly “Brahmin women”.
On Carlson’s show, Wax said: “Here’s the problem. They [Brahmin women from India], are taught that they are better than everybody else because they are Brahmin elites and yet, on some level, their country is a sh**hole … They’ve realised that we’ve outgunned and outclassed them in every way … They feel anger. They feel envy. They feel shame … It creates ingratitude of the most monstrous kind.”
Wax’s criticism of casteism in India cannot be discounted, but it’s problematic because it’s rooted in a sense of racial superiority – it’s not based on the desire to fight for equality across societies.
To my mind, Amy Wax’s vision of a US society is one in which every non-white person is subjugated mentally – it’s a new, deep-rooted kind of colonisation in which millions of people are denied the right to even express their views or fight social injustice if they are not white. It betrays a deep sense of superiority where the immigrants should be ‘grateful’ to America, despite its racial and social injustices.
It is time that every university or educational system acknowledged and took action against such prejudices. It’s the only way that immigrants can live a life of true freedom and the world can become a more just society.
(The author is a speaker, writer, calligrapher, and the founder of Ananda Hi Ananda (AHA), a non-commercial organisation run by volunteers. This is a member's opinion article and the views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)