Posted on July 22, 2019

No, Amy Wax Is Not a White Supremacist for Wanting Immigrants Who Support American Norms

David Marcus, The Federalist, July 22, 2019

University of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax sparked controversy this past week during a panel on immigration at the National Conservatism conference in Washington DC. The uproar seems to have begun when Vox reporter Zack Beauchamp wrote that, “Wax’s view [on immigration] is an outright argument for white supremacy.” This led to a clapback on Twitter from the conference’s founder, Yoram Hazony.

In response, Beauchamp doubled down on his claim and stood by his story. He provided what he claims is a transcript of Wax’s remarks in a botched attempt to prove himself right. {snip}

One thing to note before diving into this is that, as of this publishing there is no recording or official transcript available, and the fact is Beauchamp has a history of making things up, like a non-existent bridge between Egypt and Gaza. But for the sake of arguing his point, let us assume the transcript is accurate.

What the transcript makes clear is that Wax is not basing her argument for admitting more foreign citizens from Western and first world countries on race at all, but on culture. Her belief is that immigrants who share some cultural norms and values with native-born Americans are better for the country than those who do not.

{snip} She acknowledges that her policy prescription will, at least in the short term, lead to more white immigrants and fewer non-white immigrants, but effectively shows that this is a correlation, not a cause. That is to say that the change in the racial makeup of immigrants is a byproduct of her policy, not at all its intent.


{snip} But whatever one thinks of Wax’s argument, it is clearly not white supremacist. In fact, looking for immigrants with cultural proximity to the United States and first world status includes millions of potential non-white immigrants from countries such as India and Japan, as well as much of South America.

Vox’s slur against Wax is both lazy and dangerous. It’s lazy because Beauchamp simply assumes that any policy that harms some minority communities is white supremacy, which is absolutely absurd. {snip}

The slur is dangerous for a few reasons. First of all, there are now serious calls from many quarters for Wax to be fired, which would be bad not only for her and her students, but for academia in general, where such a firing would no doubt have a chilling effect on discourse.

It is also dangerous because it waters down the concept of white supremacy to an extent that renders it almost meaningless. This makes it much harder for society as a whole to focus on actual, egregious white supremacist ideas that focus on the concept that white people are inherently better than others because of their whiteness.

Under Beauchamp’s ridiculous definition of white supremacy, any policy that disadvantages any people of color is white supremacist solely based on the outcomes. {snip}

Vox should, but likely won’t, apologize for defaming Wax and correct the article. {snip}

But instead, Beauchamp decided to just point at Wax and yell “Racist!” And Vox decided that was perfectly fine. Increasingly, this seems to be the only tactic that those on the left have, and it is stunting a whole host of important discussions that they refuse to engage in good faith. “You’re a racist” can’t be the answer to everything, and if it becomes that, the term will have lost even more meaning than it already has.