TAAF CEO Releases Statement in Response to University of Pennsylvania Law Professor’s Anti-AAPI Commentary
The Asian American Foundation
WASHINGTON, DC, January 10, 2022 — The Asian American Foundation ("TAAF") today released a statement in response to anti-AAPI and xenophobic comments made by University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Amy Wax during a December 2021 interview.
Norman Chen, Chief Executive Officer of TAAF, released the following statement in response to Wax’s comments:
“The recent comments made by University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Amy Wax are yet another glaring example of the insidious yet omnipresent prejudice AAPI communities face in our country.
Free speech should no doubt be protected in all settings in America, and vigorous debate that stems from opposing viewpoints is the lifeblood of the academic experience. But academic institutions should not be havens for hate. Dean Ruger was right when he said this week that Professor Wax’s comments were ‘anti-intellectual,’ ‘racist,’ and ‘denigrating.’ However, the University has failed to impose any meaningful consequences and risks being complicit in the normalization of hate. This is not the first time Professor Wax has made hateful comments toward a particular group, and it likely won’t be the last. It’s also not the first time the repercussions have been lacking if not absent entirely.
On behalf of the 23 million Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the United States, TAAF is calling on the university to take swift and meaningful action commensurate with its own stated goal to ‘stand strongly and proudly’ with the Asian American community and foster a campus community that is rich in our diversity, respect, and tolerance for all groups.
As an organization founded on the mission to combat hate and advocate for AAPI communities, TAAF has a duty to call out hate in plain sight. We will not tolerate indifference and inaction that make the AAPI community feel invisible. We look forward to the university taking tangible actions to address the pattern of hate from a member of its faculty, and stand by to be a resource in any way we can.”
Anti-AAPI hate has been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Philadelphia alone seeing a 200% increase in hate crimes during that time. TAAF has been vocal about the fact that stereotypes and misconceptions about AAPIs continue to stoke this sharp increase in hate. According to the STAATUS Index Report 2021, a majority of the U.S. adult population (52 percent) agrees or is neutral to the statement that Asian Americans are “more loyal to their country of origin than to the U.S.” Professor Wax’s comments coupled with the university’s inaction thus far serve to perpetuate harmful misconceptions toward a community that contributes so much to this country.
About The Asian American Foundation
The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) is a convener, incubator, and funder committed to accelerating opportunity and prosperity for AAPI communities. TAAF supports advocates and organizations committed to AAPI causes so that together we can more effectively take action against hate and violence, and build the infrastructure needed to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation across American society. We were founded to solve for the longstanding lack of investment and resources provided to AAPI communities and we strive to be a catalyzing force for creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. For additional information about TAAF, please visit www.taaf.org.