Biden signed an order to combat “racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” on Tuesday. The order—which requires federal agencies to fight anti-Asian racism and promote “sensitivity” toward the Asian community in their pandemic response—was met with skepticism by some activists. Kenny Xu, an activist and author of an upcoming book, An Inconvenient Minority, called the order mere lip service aimed at progressives.
“I can see this whole issue of COVID racism being used as a way to satiate Asian-American victimhood mentality,” Xu said. “At the same time, the order is not addressing some real policy-based issues that Asian Americans face on a practical and actionable level.”
Xu and other activists worry that despite its pro-Asian-American rhetoric, the Biden administration will undo some of the Trump White House’s initiatives to combat anti-Asian racism. Chief among their concerns is the issue of affirmative action, which critics say rejects qualified Asian candidates to make room for other minority groups at elite institutions. Biden is a lifelong supporter of affirmative action, while Vice President Kamala Harris backed a California referendum to overturn a ban on affirmative action in the University of California system last year.