George Floyd's tragic death not only sparked numerous nationwide protests decrying the continued violence against Black people, but also resurrected conversations around the complicity of Asian Americans in Black oppression. Just as officer Tou Thao, a Hmong American, stood idly by while a white officer stepped on Floyd's neck, many Asian Americans have taken positions that run contrary to policies that foster inclusion, or what may be termed "integrative egalitarianism" -- the idea that "governmental programs . . . designed to overcome arbitrary inequalities stemming from accidents of birth are a worthwhile investment in society's future."
Using the Floyd-Thao narrative as a backdrop, this Essay takes a look at the tensions that underlie economic and social relationships between Asian and Black communities in America and how, in the realm of higher education, longtime conservative activist Edward Blum's recent affirmative action lawsuits are examples of how Asians' mythical "model minority" status has been weaponized to maintain the status quo, pitting one minority group against another and quashing even modest attempts to provide opportunities for underrepresented groups.
This Essay suggests that the way forward can only be achieved by understanding that both Asian and Black Americans have an incentive to seek a more just and equitable society and that both should resist calls to demonize the other. Instead, serious attempts at long0time coalition building between these groups should be facilitated and maintained.
Victor C. Romero, Asian American Allyship, 11 Ind. J. L. & Soc. Equal. 162 (2023).