US law professor condemned for ‘white supremacist’ comments by own dean

The dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s law school has condemned one of his school’s own professors for making racist remarks about Asians, saying that their recent comments were “xenophobic and white supremacist”.

Professor Amy Wax, who specializes in social welfare law and labor and family economics law, appeared as a guest on economist Glenn Loury’s podcast when she called the influx of “Asian elites” into the United States problematic and made other racist statements, including a call for less immigration from Asian countries.

In a scathing response, Dean Theodore Ruger acknowledged that while Wax’s comments were protected by freedom of speech and she held tenure at the college, they were “diametrically opposed to the policies and ethos of this institution”.

“They serve as a persistent and tangible reminder that racism, sexism and xenophobia are not theoretical abstractions but are real and insidious beliefs in this country and in our building,” Ruger said of Wax’s comments.

In the podcast Wax asserted that most Asian Americans are Democrats and questioned whether or not “the spirit of liberty beat in their breast”.

“As long as most Asians support Democrats and help to advance their positions, I think the United States is better off with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration,” Wax said.

She went on to criticize diversity and inclusion initiatives and said immigrants should be “abjectly grateful” rather than critical of the United States. Of diversity as a general concept, Wax said she was not convinced there were no downsides.

Wax has come under fire before for previous arguments she made at the National Conservatism Conference in 2019 for “cultural distance” or “taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer non-whites”.

In 2017, Penn law school alumni petitioned Ruger to take action against Wax for inaccurate statements that Black students didn’t graduate at the top quarter of their class and rarely graduated in the top half.

Despite the condemnation, Wax maintains her employment at the university. Ruger said Wax will only be teaching elective classes in future and will no longer teach required courses.

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