Last week, the National Black Law Students Association, the North American South Asian Law Students Association, and the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association banded together in a joint campaign against University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Amy Wax.
Their actions were spurred after Wax appeared on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Today” show, making disparaging comments about certain racial groups and immigrants, despite being the daughter of parents who immigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States.
On the show, Wax commented “that ‘Blacks’ and ‘non-Western’ groups have ‘a tremendous amount of resentment and shame against Western peoples for [their] outsized achievements and contributions’…‘Here’s the problem. They’re taught that they are better than everybody else because they are Brahmin elites and yet, on some level, their country is a s–thole’… ‘They’ve realized 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.’ She also criticized South Asian doctors at Penn Medicine, stating, ‘They are on the ramparts for the antiracism initiative for ‘dump on America.’”
The national groups are asking for Wax’s suspension from campus, prevention from speaking with students, and “jointly released a letter…condemning Wax’s comments.” A portion of the letter states, “That Wax has been permitted to teach, supervise, and ridicule minority law students for over twenty one years is alarming…Few understand how much more burdensome law school is for students who continuously receive the message that they are ‘less than’ or do not belong.”
Indian American Impact’s executive director and Penn Law lecturer Neil Makhija spoke out after Wax’s recent transgression, saying, “It’s irresponsible to use your position to lend credibility to these overtly racist sentiments that don’t recognize Indian Americans for who we are.”
These latest infractions have occurred amid a review process that was launched earlier in the year by the university due to a December incident wherein Wax made other reproachful remarks about Asian immigrants. Regrettably, that was not the first instance of wrongdoing by Wax—there is a long “history or making inflammatory comments [that] traces back beyond December. In 2019, Wax said America would be ‘better off with more whites and fewer non-whites.’ In 2018, she inaccurately claimed Black students ‘rarely’ graduate high in their class,” Axios Philadelphia reports.
Meredith Rovine, a University of Pennsylvania law school spokesperson said, “The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has previously made clear that Professor Wax’s views do not reflect our values or practices… In January 2022, Dean Ruger announced that he would move forward with a University Faculty Senate process to address Professor Wax’s escalating conduct, and that process is underway.”
Despite the public outcry and calls for sanctions, Wax does not appear to be deterred by her opponents, and is standing “by her claims…‘My case is on some level not about me. I’m just roadkill, I’m a casualty in the culture wars…What I see being said and done with respect to me is truly alarming. It is a total repudiation of the very concept of academic freedom.’”