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ANALYSIS: Asian Americans Are Helping Lead The Charge Against Woke School Boards

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Asian Americans are playing a major role in the largely parent-led rebellion against “woke” school boards, race-based education policies and the teaching of concepts like critical race theory (CRT) in schools.

It is clear that “woke” politics, both in education and otherwise, primarily target white people. Christopher Rufo, a journalist who has documented the spread of CRT across the nation, has called the concept “explicitly anti-white” but argued that Asian Americans are also targeted by “woke” institutions and policies.

CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

People hold up signs during a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. - "Are you ready to take back our schools?" Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally opposing anti-racism teaching that critics like her say trains white children to see themselves as "oppressors." "Yes!", answered in unison the hundreds of demonstrators gathered this weekend near Washington to fight against "critical race theory," the latest battleground of America's ongoing culture wars. The term "critical race theory" defines a strand of thought that appeared in American law schools in the late 1970s and which looks at racism as a system, enabled by laws and institutions, rather than at the level of individual prejudices. But critics use it as a catch-all phrase that attacks teachers' efforts to confront dark episodes in American history, including slavery and segregation, as well as to tackle racist stereotypes. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

People hold up signs during a rally against “critical race theory” being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021 (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

A school board vice president in San Francisco faced calls for her resignation earlier this year after her old tweets resurfaced in which she claimed that successful Asian Americans use “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.'” Asian Americans have also been called “white-adjacent” due to their higher rates of material and educational attainment.

Asian Americans are now helping lead the charge against school boards and governments attempting to implement CRT instruction in schools and pursue race-based education policies. Their efforts come as more than 165 local and national groups have formed in recent months to combat CRT instruction and school boards across the nation are facing pressure from parents. (RELATED: Polling Holds A Clue To Critical Race Theory’s Future In Classrooms)

Xi Van Fleet, a mother who left China during the rule of Mao Zedong, made headlines after she attacked CRT during a Loudoun County School Board meeting in June. She compared the county’s proposed racial equity and bias response program to her experience during the Cultural Revolution, when students were taught to denounce their heritage and report on each other.

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” the following day, Xi said proponents of CRT on the school board “use the same ideology and same methodology” as Chinese communists. Just as dissidents during the Cultural Revolution were branded as “counterrevolutionary,” she said, opponents of CRT today are labeled “racist.”

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York joined a number of other groups in June to oppose AB 101, a bill that would require high school students to take an “ethnic studies” course to graduate. Wai Wah Chin, the group’s president, told the Daily Caller the course in fact taught CRT and harms Asian-American students by reducing them to their race.

Chin said Chinese-American parents in particular are opposed to CRT instruction because of its similarities to what they or their relatives experienced in communist China. She also said immigrants from places like China “are making the connection between the critical race struggle and the communist class struggle” that uprooted their own lives.

In California, a coalition of Asian Americans led by Chinese immigrants defeated Proposition 16, a ballot measure to reinstate affirmative action by reversing a 1996 law prohibiting discrimination or preferential treatment by public colleges and employers.

Wenyuan Wu, the executive director of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, helped fight Proposition 16 and later turned her attention to Cupertino Union School District, where third-grade students were reportedly being taught to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities as part of a math class.

Her group also filed a civil rights complaint against San Diego Unified School District after it was reported that the school district held a training for teachers claiming “whiteness” caused failing schools and white teachers must undergo “antiracist therapy” to remedy their supposed ignorance.

Liang-Fang Chao, another Chinese American involved in the campaign against Proposition 16, said she was also opposed to an “ethnic studies” curriculum being considered in California. The model curriculum was adopted by the state’s education board in March. (RELATED: California Educators Want To Teach Your Kids About Human Sacrifice)

Yi Tang, a California resident and mother of three, told the Caller she is worried about the impact of CRT instruction and pointed out that “woke” politics is destroying American principles such as equality before the law and merit-based achievement.

Lowell High School in San Francisco, where around half of all students are of Asian descent, is one of multiple elite schools across the country where admissions policies have been reformed from a merit-based process to a lottery system in order to combat alleged racism.

Backlash against the San Francisco Unified School District has resulted in a growing recall effort against three members of the city’s school board: President Gabriela López, Vice President Faauuga Moliga and Commissioner Alison M. Collins. Polling data shows a majority of residents support the recall effort, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The school board was already unpopular after it voted in January to strip 44 public schools of their names, including Abraham Lincoln High, over alleged complicity in racism. But it was their decision to end merit-based admissions at Lowell High School that drew the ire Asian-American parents, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Lee Cheng, director of the Asian American Legal Foundation, called out “the denial of equal rights to education opportunity for Asian-American children by those claiming progressive values.”

“The street thugs and the ‘educrats’ in San Francisco share many characteristics and prejudices,” he told the WSJ. “Both are racist. Some are just better dressed.”