CRT Is Not Racist Against Asians, Or Anyone Else.
Even by the expanded right wing definition of CRT it is not racist against White people, let alone Asians, to give some thought to what race is, and how it has been used in our society.
A new angle of attack on the teaching of so-called critical race theory is that it is racist against Asians because some writings on it say that they are “White Adjacent.” Since CRT is supposedly racist against White people it is then therefore also racist against them. These assumptions are false even considering the expanded definition of CRT used by the Center For renewing America. It is not Critical (of a specific) Race Theory, it is Critical (of) Race (and racist assumptions) Theory. It is critical of many of these “facts” we take for granted and use to justify separation, discrimination, inequity, and injustice. Genetic studies show that among Black, White, and Latino Americans our groups are a mix of African, European, and American Indian ancestry. In America there are no pure races at all. The real question is where to Asians fit into the mix. Writers like Marc Ang and Kenny Xu are not wrong to think that CRT has not considered them, but they are misguided in thinking it is racist towards them or anyone else.
Is So Called CRT Racist Towards Whites?
Let us consider each of the words the Center For Renewing America says is a buzz word for CRT or a synonym for CRT. Let us look at those which mention White or Whiteness and if they are objectively racist. Not being White I may not be able to know if they are. Then again Black people are told that things we feel are racist are not racist every day.
This term describes the reaction that some White people have to any discussion of racism or for being confronted for behaving in a racist manner. Which leads me to...
Being in the majority social group in any situation gets one an advantage over those who are not. In the US being White got one at least thatlittle … benefit of the doubt. Just as being Black in a place where everyone else is Black can do the same. Just as being a French person in France or a Chinese person in China does.
While there are videos of Black people behaving badly and violently what they do not do is act up with an expectation that the power structure of society will back them by default as in situations like this. THEN HAVE IT BE TRUE.
White social capital
This one MIGHT be a bit racist as it refers to social connections which are not really a White people thing. People tend to help out people they know over those they do not. Due to historical reasons White people can have better connections. So, this one MAY be racist because it racializes something that everyone does.
Calling out the fact that there were and are a set of people who think being White makes them superior in some way is not racist. Just as there are some people who think being Black makes them superior. Calling racial supremacist, of any race, what they are is not racist.
This one can seem racist since it seems to refer to simply being a skin color. The way this word is used in “CRT” teachings is in reference to a socially constructed identity which includes all the above. Identifying as a member of a superior group, using those connections, feeling the privilege to act out while expecting people not of that group to take it, then being outraged when called out. In the CRT sense of the word if you really are a color-blind person who does not buy into the above then you are not practicing Whiteness.
As proof of this not all European descended people were considered White in American history. Go back to just after the founding and French men and Germans were not considered White. Until very recently, the early 2000’s Italians and Armenians were not considered White. Consider this article which discusses how it is that Kim Kardashian an Armenian who was not considered white in the 1990’s is now White yet someone of just as much European ancestry Jessica Alba is Brown. Blackness, Brownness, every other color ness is socially constructed and changes with time and situation.
The above to me at least show that CRT, even as defined by those who would suppress it is not inherently racist. It is about taking an honest look at how race was constructed to prop up a power structure made to justify treating a group of people as property. In a nation founded on the principles of human rights that is a deep contradiction. That contradiction and the struggle with that contradiction in our founding, as well as others regarding human rights, is what has defined the United States of America. We are American because we struggle with each other, and against each other to realize those principles better and more perfectly.
The only way to see that is to take an honest non idealized view of what US history was. Expanding full rights to non-land owning, non-protestant White men was a struggle. Abolition need not be retold. Followed by women's suffrage, and citizen ship for American Indians. Those last two did not happen until the 20th century. Then Black people had to win equal rights again just 55 years ago (and in the case of certain aspects of job and housing discrimination 40 years ago.) Every Black person you see over the age of 55 was born into a country where they were considered legally inferior.
Like Ibrahim X Kendi I think a specifically anti racist constitutional amendment is called for. I don’t think a new bureaucracy needs to be created. However a strong statement that no race is superior to another race, and that racial inequity is evidence of racist inequality and should be investigated by competent authorities would go a long way. It would require America as a whole letting go of the cancerous idea that one group is born better than another either by race, or culture, or any other metric.
It would take so many states agreeing to this that it would be a real sign that we all recognize problems persist and that repairs are needed. Lest edifice that is our society come crashing down as soon as the door gets a good kick from a real racist.
So Where Do Asians Fit?
The op eds by Asian writers are anchored on the term “White Adjacent.” Which does not appear on the Center For Renewing America’s list. The idea being that Asians are accepted because they are close to White in color.
Have these people not just lived through the last year or two of Trump and others saying, “Chinese Virus.” Not CCP virus blaming a political party that lied, not Wuhan virus naming it based on where it came from like every other virus, “Chinese Virus.”
Having known Asian people all my life I knew they are not “White Adjacent.” First half of them is as dark of skin as I am. People from the Philippines and Southeast Asia are certainly not White Adjacent. If anything, they suffer from a sort of colorism and have different socioeconomic outcomes here in the US.
The so-called White Adjacency that some Critical Race Theorists write of is a way to describe the situational and contextual way that White Supremacist people will use Asians as a shield against being accused of racism by darker colored people (including Asians from further south).
CRT is not racist against White people. It just advocates critical examination of the assumptions born of the ugly past that racial groups exist, have big differences, and that different races are superior or inferior. Hence it cannot be racist against Asians. They are not superior as a group to any other race on Earth. If anything, Asian Americans are more successful on average because the recent immigrants among them have the most self-motivation and drive. Asians whose families have been in America for a long time, including the many millions of White and Black people who have Asian ancestry, up to and including people like Tiger Woods or Naomi Osaka, from the days of the transcontinental railroad to now, are just like any other American. CRT is no more racist against White people than it is racist against Tiger Woods therefore it cannot be racist against Asian people.
However, it may be fair to say that Asians are again an afterthought in the discussion of race in America and they deserve more consideration of the very real discrimination they face. Including from Black people. (Contrary to a right-wing talking point despite viral videos the actual statistics on who commit most anti-Asian hate crimes do not indicate Black people commit more of those.)
If you like my insights please check out my long standing blog on science 2.0 where I will break Science news. Selected views and opinion pieces from here will be reposted there after at least 24 hours have passed. So subscribe here it is free… at least for now.