Cancel Culture Isn’t the Real Threat to Academic Freedom

Yangyang Chen
The Atlantic

Excerpt: The woman in the video is about the same age as my mother. She is speaking at a school-board meeting in Virginia as a concerned parent.

“I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools,” she reads from prepared notes. “You are now teaching, training our children to be social-justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history.” Her voice is soft but stern. She recounts her youth in Mao Zedong’s China and the political fanaticism she witnessed firsthand, before calling critical race theory “the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” At the end of her remarks, the audience bursts into cheers. “Virginia Mom Who Survived Maoist China Eviscerates School Board’s Critical Race Theory Push,” blares the headline on Fox News.

As a Chinese academic working in the U.S., I watched the video and was disconcerted by its familiarity. The speaker’s views are not uncommon among many first-generation Chinese immigrants, who are grateful to their new country and eager to assimilate.