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CL Live x AAPI: Asian Americans in an Anti-Black World

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Asian Americans in an Anti-Black World

Standing at the juncture of white supremacy and anti-Blackness, Asian Americans have been imagined as not-white but above all not-Black –as undesirable but the lesser of two evils–for almost two centuries. In her explosive new book, Asian Americans in an Anti-Black World, Claire Jean Kim, Ph.D., argues that Asian Americans have benefited from anti-Blackness at the same time that they have been burdened by white supremacy. 

Throughout history, they have been weaponized against (and have sometimes weaponized themselves against) the Black freedom struggle and used as an alibi for a racial capitalist U.S. state whose legitimacy is often in question. For whites, the principle is: Whiteness is best, but the most important thing is not-Blackness. Or, better Asians than Blacks. This is key to understanding how Asian Americans have been positioned and how they have negotiated their social and economic mobility in an anti-Black society.

This event, hosted on June 13, 2023, featured Dr. Claire Jean Kim in conversation with Dr. Charlene Sinclair, Colorlines’ Editor, to discuss how these theories might guide Black and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities into solidarity with one another. 

This event was co-organized by the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund and Colorlines, and co-sponsored by the National AAPI Power Fund, California Black Freedom Fund, Four Freedoms Fund, Groundswell Fund, Groundswell Action Fund, and the RISE Together Fund.