Jennifer Lee: Racial foundations of immigration policy

November 9, 2021 1:31:01
Kaltura Video

Jennifer Lee, an award winning author and frequent public commentator on the implications of contemporary immigration, and Celeste-Watkins-Hayes explore the historical roots and impact of race in shaping public policy. November, 2021.



Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes: Welcome to the Racial Foundations of Public Policy Speaker Series, hosted by the Center for Racial Justice at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. I am Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Director of the center, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs here at the Ford School, and a Professor of Sociology and Public Policy.

DW: At the Ford School, we seek a world in which people are able to achieve their full human potential regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and other categories that have been used to divide and systematically marginalize. We train leaders here who understand the critical role of public policy in improving our world. We recognize the power of public policy to bolster or undermine our life opportunities and experiences, and we see policy analysis as a critically important tool for us to measure, reflect, historically examine, and help us define the way forward. At the Center for Racial Justice, we seek to illuminate evidence-based solutions to address deep challenges around racial inequity, and to support the change-makers who advocate for sound, just, evidence-based, and fair public policies. We take an intersectional approach, seeking to expand knowledge and highlight strategies and tools that address the complex intersections between public policy and racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, xenophobia, and other societal problems.

DW: As we examine the fraught histories and consequences of some of our policies and the transformative power of others, we learn a valuable lesson: Effective and just public policy can only be achieved if we bring diverse perspectives to the table. This fall, the center has invited a cadre of brilliant scholars to participate in virtual conversations on the historical roots and contemporary currents of race and economic criminal justice education and immigration policy. We encourage you to review our website for recordings of our past events.

DW: So now, I am delighted and I am honored and I am so thrilled to introduce to you the final speaker of our Inaugural Center for Racial Justice Racial Foundations of Public Policy event, Dr. Jennifer Lee. Dr. Jennifer Lee is the Juliane Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University and past President of the Eastern Sociological Society. An award-winning author of four books, most recently of the Asian American Achievement paradox, Dr. Lee is this year's recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to the Field Award from the American Sociological Association's Asia and Asian-American section. Her wide-ranging research addresses morally urgent questions about the implications of contemporary US Immigration policy, particularly Asian immigration on the native-born population. She studied this from a variety of analytical lenses, including an immigrant entrepreneurship in ethnic conflict, intermarriage and multi-racial identification, educational opportunities and outcomes, and most recently, affirmative action and the rise of anti-Asian hate. She is a board member of the Obama Presidency Oral History, a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation, and a senior researcher at AAPI Data, which recently received a $10 million grant to study anti-Asian discrimination and hate.

DW: Committed to public engagement, Dr. Lee is a contributor for the Brookings Institution and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and a variety of other outlets. Earlier this year, she was invited by the Biden-Harris administration to present her research on xenophobia, discrimination, and anti-Asian hate to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Dr. Lee, it is an honor to be with you this afternoon. Thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Jennifer Lee: What an honor and a privilege to be here with you, Dr. Watkins-Hayes.

DW: Wonderful. What I really wanna start off thinking about is you are a sociologist who focuses on contemporary US immigration, and Asian immigration in particular, and I wonder if you can walk us through the importance of grappling with history and understanding race in the context of immigration policy. That's been a thread throughout all of your work. Tell us why that approach, both the historical lens but also the foregrounding of a racial analysis, has been so important in understanding and thinking about immigration and immigration policy.

DL: That is a brilliant question, and let me just start off by saying how wonderful it is to be a part of this program and how much I appreciate your including immigration as part of the Racial Foundation Series, and also taking seriously Asian immigration. So let me walk you through some of the racial foundations of immigration policy that produced certain kinds of outcomes that we see. And so, I think one of the things that I realized in doing this research is how little Americans, including Asian-Americans, know about the immigration experience, our history, and why certain stereotypes about Asian-Americans, the racial foundations of those stereotypes, are a product of immigration policy. And so let me explain what I mean by that.

DL: So, one of the things you mentioned was the rise of anti-Asian hate, and so I wanted to start with that, even though that's something happening in the present, so that I can link it to some, I would call racial foundations of immigration policy. So, as many people might recall, there was a mass murder in Atlanta where eight individuals were killed, six of whom were Asian women, in March of this year. And even though Asian-Americans had been very concerned about the rise of anti-Asian violence and hate since the onset of COVID almost two years ago, it really took the murder of six Asian women to catapult anti-Asian hate on to a national platform. So, at that moment, it was really interesting to me that it took that, and then all of a sudden, I was bombarded with a number of news inquiries with, "What's going on, how do we explain this? Why is there all of a sudden anti-Asian hate and violence," and I thought, "My goodness, this is the foundation of US history." Anti-Asian bigotry violence and misogyny are deeply rooted in American history, and it's been codified by US immigration law.

DL: So let me start, you asked a question about the history. A lot of people know 1882 as the date of the Chinese Exclusion Act, but prior to that, there was the 1875 Page Act, which is lesser known, but what that did was forbid Chinese women, Japanese women, or women from any oriental country, from immigrating to the United States on the presumption that they were prostitutes. And so this idea of exclusion came before the 1882 Exclusion Act, and it targeted women because women were presumed, Chinese women in particular, were presumed to be prostitutes. What that did was it really skewed an already skewed gender ratio for the Chinese population. It was already skewed at 13 men to one Chinese woman in 1870. By 1880, after the Page Act, it was skewed to 21 to one. And so that has tremendous ramifications for population growth, family formation. And since then, there have been a series of exclusion acts that have excluded Asian nations throughout our country's history.

DW: Mm-hmm. And there's so much in terms of... Wen we think about immigration policy, we often think about this kind of open door, America is the land of the free, the home of the brave, open to all, that's so prominent in our popular imagination, but I hear you talking about the notion of exclusion as a policy tool. And I wonder if you can talk a little bit more about that as a concept. How do we grapple with a legacy of exclusion as a policy concept? 

DL: Again, another brilliant question, and I think this very much gets at the heart of how we like to see ourselves as a nation, as one that's open, that's founded on inclusion and this idea that anyone can come here regardless of one's station in life, regardless of one's national origin, and make it. If there have been a series of immigration laws that have targeted Chinese as a national origin and Asians as a group, I could go through all of them, but all the way up to 1924, where you had an Immigration Act that barred, that really contain national origin groups to 2% of whoever was already here from the country of origin to the United States. So what they wanted to do was whatever the country in the United States, however it looked in 1890, that is the kind of country that the US Congress wanted to reproduce in the United States.

DL: As I mentioned, Asians were excluded for decades before, so there was a very much a closed-door policy. There have been a number of different restrictions that have made it very difficult for people who are of non-European descent to come to this country. That changed only recently, in 1965, which got rid of the national origins quotas and opened the door to immigrants. But even there, what's interesting is that they privileged family reunification, and then they privileged people with professional skills. And so the Congress didn't expect that the change in immigration law would diversify the country as it did. In part, it's an unintended consequence with Asian immigration. How that factors in is that because we were only half a percent of the US population by 1960, even though we've been here for decades, centuries, really, because of so much exclusion, we were only half a percent, so the way the US Asian population grew was selected on professional skills, which is why you see, the first wave in particular, of the post-1965 wave of immigration, highly educated, highly skilled, thus creating this idea that Asian-Americans are a model minority.

DW: And that really leads us to the Asian American Achievement Paradox, the book that has been award-winning, has really reframed how a lot of people think about academic achievement, the assumptions we make about academic achievement, and I wonder if you can take us through that argument, because not only does that connect to immigration policy, but it also speaks to education policy, and as you know, we had... Our friend, Dr. Rucker Johnson, was our last speaker, and we were thinking about the composition of schools and the assumptions that we make of who's worthy of educational investment and who's not, and what your work does is trouble a black/white binary and get us to think about a much more kind of holistic frame for thinking about these issues, so I know he's a big fan of your work, and I wonder if you can introduce us to some of the concepts in the Asian-American Achievement Paradox.

DL: Thank you for bringing that up. I'm so glad you did. I'm a huge fan of Rucker Johnson's, of course, and a huge fan of yours, of course, Celeste, but let me say that I think it's critical to understand that Asian-American academic achievement has been legally engineered, and that's a concept that I came up with only after the publication of the Asian-American Achievement Paradox, meaning that one of the biggest myths about academic achievement among Asian-Americans, and this is constantly reified in papers, it's reified by the tiger mother and a number of different myths, is that Asian-Americans value education more than other group. There's something about Confucian culture, there's something about Asian culture, that promotes educational achievement. What we did in the Asian-American Achievement Paradox was really problematize this. So what we started to do was look at who immigrates from Asia, and if you look at the five largest immigrant groups, the five largest Asian groups, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, are hyper-selected, and that is just a term we coined to describe the extreme positive immigrant selectivity of Asian immigrants.

DL: So let me give you an example which will help. So, people, if you think Chinese as a group are highly educated because that's who you see on your campuses, for instance, or that's who you're coming into contact with, one of the things we find is that in the US, about 55% of Chinese immigrants have a BA or higher compared to less than 4% of China's population. So the Chinese immigrants who are coming to the United States are 15 times more likely to be college-educated than their non-migrant counterparts in China. They're also more likely to be college-educated than the US mean, and so that's what we call double positive selectivity or hyper-selectivity. As sociologists, we know that the greatest predictor of a child's education is his or her parents' education, so, the fact that Asian immigrants are highly educated and then the second generation is also highly educated should not be such a surprise.

DL: One of the things that we also found is that there are stereotypes associated with coming from a group that's hyper-selected, the perception that you're smart, that you're deserving of second chances, that you're morally worthy of investment in education. And we coined this term "stereotype promise" to really get at this. So, one of the things we couldn't understand is why it is that Asian-Americans, for instance, were more likely to be put in advanced placement classes, into gifted classes, sometimes without even having tested into them, sometimes even after performing poorly in middle school. They were given the benefit of the doubt because of their ethnicity, because of their race, because they come from hyper-selected backgrounds, because of the stereotypes associated with the model minority. And so, one of the things we found is once placed in an environment in which people believe in you, people believe that you will perform, a lot of the students did rise to the occasion and they perform better because they wanted to... They changed the reference group, the teachers believed in them, the guidance counselor has provided more help with their college applications. So we coined this term as stereotype promise to focus on the social-psychological benefits that others deem upon or and populations who are hyper-selected.

DW: And it's so fascinating, because unpacking all of those mechanisms around stereotype promise is so interesting and compelling. And I have to ask you, why trouble a positive stereotype about a particular group? What you're describing is positive, it's protective in all kinds of ways. I would imagine that it's the envy of a lot of parents from other racialized groups who don't experience that kind of benefit of the doubt. Why trouble that paradox? Why, as a scholar, did you think that was important to do? 

DL: Well, one, I mean, I think as a scholar, we go where the research goes, and so, I felt like it was important to note and document. And I remember having a conversation with Claude Steele when I was first seeing this in my research, and I said, "I'm finding something really interesting, and what I think it is a stereotype promise, and it's different from stereotype threat in these ways," and he said something really powerful, which is, for him, this was the low-hanging fruit that people weren't talking about. Yet at the same time, if there is stereotype promise, it's against some other group. If there is one group who is exceptional, it's measured against another group, and it's typically a minoritized group. The other thing that I found problematic, of course, even with the Asian-American Achievement Paradox, is that most Asians do not fall into the exceptional category. The majority of Asians are not going to Ivy League schools, they're not even going to the top public universities, like the University of Michigan. So I'll give you another statistic. In California, we looked at where students are going to college, and they're not going to the top. About a quarter of them go to the UC system, a quarter of them go to the Cal State, but the majority, over 50%, are going to community colleges in California.

DL: And so, this idea of positive stereotypes, it completely elides the heterogeneity within the population. So there were a number of people who said they understood the stereotype, but they felt like ethnic failures of racial failures because they did not meet the kind of bar that other people expect of them. They oftentimes talked about being the whitest Chinese guy I'd ever meet. And that wasn't about race; it was about linking ethnicity to achievement, and when people don't perform as is expected, they start to opt out of their ethnicity. They feel like they don't belong. But the norm is not achievement, it's not excelling, but that is, again, the danger of a positive stereotype.

DW: So just to think about this genealogy, to think about those early policies of exclusion and racialized exclusion to mid-1960s, 1965 policy that opened the door, and to think about how that then shows up in a classroom setting in terms of... You called it legally engineered, how that shows up in an experience for a student, how that shows up in our perceptions of particular groups, and how that then shows up in what policy prescriptions we support on the basis of our assumptions and stereotypes and perceptions, is this fascinating thread throughout your work, and I wonder if you can flip what you said on its head, to think about those perceptions, how they inform policy in the area of, say, affirmative action, which was the next place that you went to.

DL: Yeah. It's interesting because in my classes, especially my undergraduate classes, I always have them think about, "Okay, we have this research, where do we go in terms of policy," and we just did that in and in my last class on Monday, because if we think about this research, what I just described and what you articulated, how we've legally engineered Asian-American academic achievement to look a certain way, there are a number of resources that children of hyper-selected immigrants are privy to: Class resources, ethnic resources that ethnic communities create supplemental education, tutoring systems, all sorts of things that are accessible and available, that are also available across class lines, so that the children of working-class Chinese are sometimes able to participate in supplemental tutoring or after-school academies that middle class Chinese create. When you don't understand the resources that come with being a part of a hyper-selected community, you fall back on this question of values, that certain people just don't value education, they don't work as hard. And so what I said to my class, "Okay, how we frame this debate, how we understand inequality and educational outcomes, has direct implications for the policy prescriptions that people are going to endorse and support."

DL: So if we focus on inequality and resources, that's one set of policies. If we focus on different values, then that's a whole different conversation. And so, the affirmative action debate is such a thorny one, because it was typically in this black/white framework, and all of a sudden, Asians are front and center of a debate. And I have to say that they are not the one... Asian-American [0:24:27.7] ____ are not the one who actually orchestrated and engineered the debate. So what many people might not know is that the Students for Fair Admissions, which is the organization that has sued Harvard and also UNC Chapel Hill, is actually founded by Edward Bloom, who is a white male, former stock broker turned what I call issue entrepreneur, who has been on the rampage to dismantle affirmative action for over 20 years. He's behind the Abigail Fisher case in UT Austin, and so, his mission is to remove race from consideration, race and ethnicity from consideration, in university admissions. His pretense is that he's trying to help Asian-Americans who he feels are unfairly biased, who experienced unfair bias, because of their race ethnicity.

DL: But what... I wanna say a couple of things. One, this is the wrong argument, and I feel like Asian-Americans have been weaponized in this debate to serve a different cause. The second is that the real issue that legal scholars like Jerry Tang at UCLA and others have said is that we're focusing on affirmative action as if ridding affirmative action would rid anti-Asian discrimination, would rid anti-Asian bias. Where he has suggested we turn our attention, and I agree with him, is negative action, that is, unfavorable treatment based on race, using the treatment of whites for comparison. So if we look at policies that promote negative action, including legacy policies, this is where we should turn our attention.

DW: And talk to us about legacy policies. It's something that isn't often talked about, it's hidden and just assumed, this notion that a college or university is going to think about admitting people whose parents, grandparents, et cetera, matriculated through the institution, it's a philanthropic strategy at a lot of institutions, they wanna keep wealthy families engaged. But you're pointing to it as an important area for us to think about in terms of replicating inequity, and particularly in this context of negative action. So say a little bit more about that, and why that needs to be part of our conversation as well, to not just focus on... What I hear you saying is not just focus on the policies that are directly targeting minoritized populations, but to also think about the policies that have unfairly benefited other people for these kinds of historical reasons. Can you tease that out for us? 

DL: No, I love that question. First, I wanna say a couple of things, and I have to keep my thoughts straight 'cause I can talk forever about all of this. But one of the things I wanted to say is that affirmative action has been on trial for decades. Legacy admissions and giving an advantage based on nothing else but the fact that you are born into a family that is already privileged to have gone to university is something completely different. So when we think about affirmative action, it is allowing universities to consider ethnicity and race as only one variable of a slew of variables in order to make an institution more diverse, because we understand that more diverse voices and perspectives benefit all of us, which is something you've also said in the beginning, Celeste, which I absolutely agree with. Negative action is anything that actually... It's policies that focus on... In the context of Asian-Americans, it can be in the form of outright discrimination, it can be quotas on Asian-Americans to leave more room for whites with the belief that there is no reason why we should think that a predominantly white institution is more diverse or offers more educational benefits of diversity than a predominantly Asian-American one. So the groups who have actually benefited most when affirmative action actually is no longer in play, it's not Asian-Americans; it has been whites. And so, this is something to also understand.

DL: I also wanted to make one other point about dispelling myths. And so, one of the things we find in our research in AAPI Data that our colleagues consistently find, that about 70% of Asian American registered voters support affirmative action in higher education and the workplace. And so the narrative that Asian-Americans are both victims and opponents of affirmative action is so at odds with the data. And so that's one of the things I really appreciate you talking about this series and thinking about the racial foundations and thinking about the myth that keep certain kinds of tropes alive.

DW: Mm-hmm. And particularly when we think about politics and political engagement in this context, talk to us about the ways in which Asian-Americans have found themselves in... Asian immigrants have found themselves in the middle of political conversation and have grappled with the question of how to be politically agentic and to be advocates, and at the same time, finding these tropes and these narratives being used in policy discourse and policy debates, and not always being at the table to help shape those narratives. What does that kind of political genealogy look like in terms of political voice? 

DL: Yeah, another great question. I wanted to say a couple of things about what makes Asian-Americans unique is that two-thirds of us are immigrants, and among Asian-American adults, four out of five are immigrants. And again, this is a product of the exclusionary practices and policies of our country. And so because we are a fairly small population, by legal engineering, we're 6%, and when you include Asian multi-racial population, we're 7% of the population, we are actually fairly small, but what has been really fascinating to see is the mobilization that has been taking place. One of the most fascinating trends about Asian-Americans is that people assume that Asian-Americans are conservative and Republican-leaning, but when you look at, for instance, Obama, over 70% of Asian-Americans voted for Obama. About the same, over 70%, have voted for Biden. And so, one of the fascinating things about Asian-American political mobilization is that despite our heterogeneity and despite the high socioeconomic status of some groups, we converge in a number of policy positions and we're much more liberal on a number of policies than people would assume.

DL: We believe in... One of the most surprising findings is how much we support gun control, for instance, how much we support environmental issues, how much we support a strong safety net. And part of it has to do with understanding our legacy, but part of it is also because our population is incredibly heterogeneous. We also have the highest proportion of limited English proficient speakers among Asian-Americans, that rate is higher than among Hispanic. So, the policies that we support directly support our communities. And there has been a huge push among the children of immigrants, the second generation, to get mobilized, to get politicized, and not that there's not division among them, but there is a strong push to understand that we need to get involved politically. But part of it is also candidates are least likely to reach out to Asian-Americans, so it's very much a two-sided issue. But what I'm inspired by is the younger generation, the US-born, who are vocal, who are political, who are winning Meryl races, we see Michelle Woo in Boston, and people are so excited about that, and a number of others.

DW: So, before we talk about some of the contemporary questions around immigration, I wanna go back to something that you said about the gendered nature of immigration policy. And that is a part of the history that I bet a lot of people did not know, that there were strategic attempts to include men and prefer particular reasons, and I wonder, do you see that showing up in contemporary immigration policy? Is that gender dynamic a thing of the past and something that we no longer reckon with, or does it show up in our contemporary debates around immigration or our contemporary debates about Asians and Asian-Americans? 

DL: Yeah, I would say it's something we've not reconciled with in the past and it's not showing up today, because a lot of the immigration, as I mentioned, is selected on professional skills. So if I think about the way many Asian-American women come, a lot of them have been nurses, the first wave. So if we think about Filipino migration, a lot of nurses. My own mother, a nurse trained in Korea, and this is how we came to the United States.

DL: But I wanted to get back to the question of the gendered exclusion and the Page Act in particular. One of the things I found as I was doing research, to actually my surprise, I always understood that misogyny was part of the immigration with the Page Act. What I didn't realize until I started digging into the archives is the role of science and medicine in creating and socially constructing all Asian women, and Chinese women in particular, as prostitutes who were moral medical threats to white men, in particular, white boys. And so what they argued, and these are the leading positions at the time, the Chinese prostitutes were spreading especially toxic form of syphilis that was not able to be cured, and white boys as young as 10 and eight and five would be serviced by Chinese prostitutes. And so, the Page Act was in part a response to this idea that Chinese women's bodies were diseased, contagious, and Chinese women were morally depraved. And at the time, the presumption was that if you are Chinese woman, you were a prostitute, unless you were of a particular merchant class. But all that was a very small population.

DL: So with the Page Act came gendered racialized exclusion. And while many people don't know this history, the stereotypes that emerge from it are very familiar, so that Asian women are easy, that Asian women are morally depraved, that Asian women are cheap. So these are the stereotypes that emerge from immigration policy, that even when you don't know the policy or anything about the policy, the stereotypes that emerge from it continue to live and continue to haunt the present.

DW: And what you're pointing to, which is so important, is we've talked a lot about the impact of society on public policy, the assumptions that get made, the prejudices and how they influence public policy. What you're highlighting so beautifully is the reverse relationship: The ways in which policies that are grounded in those assumptions then fuel and create other kinds of assumptions that seep into the culture so that even when the policy goes away, you still have, in the soil, if you will, a lot of those assumptions and stereotypes. And we've talked about how that has shown up most recently, and it takes us right back to where we started, in terms of the murders of the women in Atlanta and also the rise in anti-Asian hate. So I wonder if you can talk about your role in helping to better inform that conversation, how a policy legacy is absolutely shaping material lives. Even a policy legacy from a century ago is shaping material lives. So, can you talk about that, and what we've seen over the last couple of years? 

DL: Brilliant question, and I have to say that this is also personal. I mean, it's very hard to talk about anti-Asian violence and misogyny without thinking of this personally. So even though the six Asian women murdered, their lives seem really distant from mine, as a woman, as an Asian woman, as an immigrant, as a daughter of immigrant entrepreneurs, I feel that their lives are very closely connected to mine and that of many others. And so, when Trump and others started calling the coronavirus the China virus, for instance, the Wuhan virus, kung-flu, and started ethnicizing the virus, many of us got very nervous, and by us, I mean Asian-Americans and particularly Asian-American women. And so, I can't even express, other than in talking to other Asian-American women, how we all felt incredibly vulnerable and how we didn't even recognize completely the source. Although we understood the Page Act, we understood how ethnicity was linked to disease in order to exclude certain populations, I don't think I even fully understood how science and medicine interacted with law in order to create the construct of Asian and Asian women as a threat to both health and morality, and how this construct continues to affect how we think about disease, how we think about science, how we think about reticence to science and doubt in science. So for me, it's incredibly personal, and I think I lost the train of thought of the question itself.

DL: Well, just this question of, how do we then think about that in the context of even with COVID-19 and how we thought about policy, how we thought about the question of whether to close the borders and whether to close it to particular countries or not. And the sentiment of people who are living here in the United States who had to live, work, traverse communities when a policy narrative was forming around disease and illness and ethnicization of it, as you put it so helpfully. And people worried about what kinds of rules, what kinds of policies would be imposed. So I wonder if you could just speak to, as a sociologist and as a person who has the lived experience that you have, how do we grapple with this, and how do we reckon with what's happened, particularly over the last couple of months? Do we just not talk about it anymore and hope that it goes away, or do you think we need to have a more profound conversation? 

DL: I understand, okay. So let me say a couple of things, that a few days after the murders in Atlanta, the massacre in Atlanta, the team at AAPI Data partnered with SurveyMonkey and launched a national survey to see how many Americans of all ethnic backgrounds experienced a hate incident since COVID-19. So, among Asian-American adults one in eight had experienced some kind of anti-Asian hate incident since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. And then in 2021, one in 10 had experienced something in the first three months of 2021.

DL: What I found surprising was not that result. That was actually expected and in fact probably lower than I... I thought the incidents would be even higher. But what I realized is how little Americans and Asian-Americans know about this history, as you said, Celeste, that this history, we have to reckon with history, we have to reckon with science, we have to reckon with medicine, and the role of immigration policy in science and medicine in ethnicizing and gendering disease, so that we understand, when a trope comes up, the origins of the trope, so that we're better able to dismantle it. And so, I did try to do that also with the Asian American Achievement Paradox, and that's what I'm trying to do in this project.

DL: So, I think one of the first things that came to mind for me is that I didn't even know fully the history, and here's someone who studies this. So the first thing I did was design a course, titled Reckoning with Asian America, that I will teach next semester in the spring for graduate students, and I will redesign it for undergrads the following year. And so, I think part of this, as your entire series has been, has been illuminating how policies, laws, policy, science, medicine have constructed racial groups to be one way or the other. This presumption that Asians are super smart, that they're the model minority, that is a load of prompt, of course, but how do you dismantle that? How do you dismantle this idea that if you are Chinese, you're more likely to spread coronavirus? For many of us during COVID, we didn't even wanna sneeze outside because we didn't want to be in some ways shunned or verbally harassed. And so, how do you dislodge certain assumptions? It's through education, through outreach, through community outreach.

DL: And I would say the other thing that made it very difficult during this time is we had a president who was spewing not only anti-Asian rhetoric, but racist rhetoric all around. So we had COVID hit at a time when we were very divided, we couldn't even get on board about the utility of masks. And I recently saw some fantastic data from South Korea, and they quickly masked, so they were able to contain COVID in a way that we were not able to.

DW: Mm-hmm mm-hmm. We train students here to be policy analysts, and many will be at the table where policies are being made, where policy rhetoric and communication is being sculpted and created, and I wonder, you've given us such a great overview of the historical context of immigration policy, and particularly for Asian-Americans, I wonder, what do you think a fair, just, equitable immigration policy should look like? 

DL: Oh, my goodness, Celeste. [chuckle]

DW: I know that's a big question, but given everything that you know in terms of the historical dynamics and the sociological dynamics in play, and the reality that we're grappling in this country of this question of, what should immigration policy look like, and people are on very different sides of this issue. I wonder if you can just help us think of what could a vision be, or what could some guiding principles be that would help us get to a better state of play as it relates to our immigration policies than where we are right now? 

DL: I would say one of the first things that comes to mind is thinking about a path of citizenship for those who are already here, and not just for dreamers, and because we often think that they are deserving, again, creating this binary of, "These people are deserving. These are not deserving." We have to remember, first of all, that for the majority, when people say, "My parents came here, my grandparents came here legally," well, there was no stopping European immigration as there was Asian immigration, as there were all sorts of other immigration. And so, what that has done has created this narrative that some immigrant groups and the lineage of some immigrant groups came here the right way, and they did things the right way. One of the things that legalization does and the path of citizenship does, especially for the children of undocumented immigrants, is it creates more educational opportunities, and this gets directly related to what we were talking about earlier and also Rucker's talk. And so, one of the things we found is that the children whose parents... So Mexican children whose parents were undocumented, who stayed undocumented, they only achieved, on average, about 11 years of education... Through 11th grade, excuse me.

DL: If your parents were undocumented but they were able to obtain naturalization during the child's lifetime, that child completed up to... Not only graduated high school, but earned at least one year in college. And so this is a perfect natural experiment, in some ways, in which you show how legalization, how naturalization, not only affects the first generation, but also the second generation. So when we think about fair, equitable immigration policies and something that would have a direct impact on communities, on educational attainment, on the labor force, legalization is a very simple one, and it's one that would benefit all of us.

DW: And the other thing that your work highlights so beautifully is in our conversations around policy and the racial foundations of public policy, we can't stay in a kind of black/white binary. And I wonder if you can talk about why that is so important, why we need more and better data, why we need a historical analysis that includes a broader history of all of the different groups within the United States. What are the struggles around that that you find as a scholar being able to put forth those ideas? How do we both recognize the experiences of Black people, for example, but also make space for the experiences of indigenous Native American populations and LatinX populations and Asian-American populations and Asian populations without falling into, who's more oppressed, without seeing it as a zero-sum game? If we talk about your experiences, does it mean we can't talk about my experiences anymore? What are some value, some principles, some kind of strategies, that we can engage to think about how to have a more comprehensive picture of the state of affairs? 

DL: Yeah, that is an excellent question, and I have several different responses. The first is a simple demographic response. So the groups that are growing most rapidly are Asians and Latinos in the United States, and so, Asians are actually the fastest-growing population in the United States, and Asian immigrants will surpass Hispanic immigrants at this rate, by 2055. The Hispanic population has grown from about 4% of the population in 1970, and they're about 18% today. So, they are larger than African-Americans, and if we want to understand the complexity and the diversity of the United States, we have to move beyond binaries. And the United States was never a binary, anyway. But the other point I would make is that if we don't carefully understand the different kinds of advantages and disadvantages of certain groups, then Asian-Americans, for instance, can continue to be weaponized as the model minority, can continue to serve as the foil for which other groups don't do well. And this is what I call a narrative scarcity, that minoritized groups actually all experience narrative scarcity. We don't have enough narratives about our groups, the diversity of our groups. We don't have enough data about the diversity of our groups.

DL: And so a lot of the narratives that are written about us are written in ways that resonate with particular tropes that already exist. And so, one of the things that's so important is about disrupting narratives, for instance, I mentioned about Asian-Americans overwhelmingly supporting affirmative action without data. If you just looked at a particular trope, if we've just looked at headlines, you would assume that Asian-Americans are affirmative action's, most ardent opponents, that we are victims of the policy. It's really understanding the data brings light a better, more accurate narrative, and it also disrupts the tropes on which certain narratives are based.

DW: And that's so important, because I love this idea of narrative scarcity, because we have to acknowledge that as policy thinkers, we make decisions based on data, but we also are informed by narratives, and we're deeply informed by narratives. We're human beings who are thinking about this. So, this idea of narrative scarcity, I think, is so interesting and compelling, because you can't identify fair, just, and equitable policy if you're operating with a very narrow set of narratives about a particular group, and if the data also don't exist, you're either further in a hole of knowledge and information. So I think these are just such interesting and important points. So we have several questions from the folks listening and watching. So question one: I wonder, Dr. Lee's thoughts on the role of immigration policies such as DAP and the DREAM Act, you spoke to those, play in further perpetuating these stereotypes of Asian-Americans, specifically children of immigrants as exceptions and representative of respectable immigration processes. Further, what does this mean for not only Asian-American children, but for other immigrant groups who are measured against these qualifications of respectability and exceptionalism in various processes? So the idea of respectability in public policy as a kind of overarching dynamic.

DL: So this, again, I would have to... I'm gonna return to this idea of narrative scarcity, and I have to admit that I did not coin that term, that's a term by the brilliant novelist, Viet Nguyen, who wrote that all wars are fought for the first time on the battlefield and the second time in memory, and so our narratives of the Vietnam War, for instance, are often told from the perspective of the dominant group and the majority, and we very rarely hear narratives about Vietnamese and their experiences, and when we do, they're often written by the dominant group. So he argues that minoritized groups experience narrative scarcity, and he's pushing for minoritized groups to reach a point of narrative plenitude so that there are diverse narratives about our populations that are not only written for us, but they're written by us. And so this is a perfect point.

DL: So, one of the other data points that are always surprising about immigration is that one in seven Asian immigrants is undocumented. This is never a data point that come... I mean, we talk about the data point at AAPI Data, but it's always a surprise, in part because the face of undocumented immigration tends to be Hispanic, Latina, LatinX. And so, when we think about expanding narratives, it has to be expanding the narratives of the Asian immigrant population. There are refugees, there are a number of groups who are not hyper-selected who actually have higher poverty rates and higher rates of welfare receipt than the US mean. And so, that has to be a part of the narrative. And so when I think about narrative plenitude and narrative scarcity, it's also thinking about representing Asian-Americans in all forms, and that also includes Asian-Americans accepting the diversity in our communities, because there are Asian-Americans who are comfortable with stereotype promise, there are Asian-Americans who are comfortable with these tropes, and for whom the trope serve them well.

DL: For me, it's about presenting data that shows exactly who we are, and we are an incredibly diverse group. And once we show that, then it's not Asians hailed as the model minority against another group, that we are just as diverse, have poor socioeconomic outcomes, have a large percentage who is undocumented, who don't get services because we're not perceived as needing certain kinds of services, speaking about the policy issue.

DW: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Really, really important, this idea of that model minority trope leaves hidden so many people who are in need of assistance and services and policy solutions because they are not seen. That is such an important point when we think about narrative. Next question: How can individuals within and alongside the AAPI community work to build coalitions that re-imagine what equity, empathy, and moral worth look like? What are some proposals or policies that come to mind to further this movement that are targeted not only on unifying multi-racial groups, but also classes and political ideologies? This notion of coalition building seems really prominent in this question.

DL: Yeah, I love this. I love this conversation, I love the questions, I really love this idea of re-imagining how we can build. And I was on another panel earlier this semester about linked fates and linked futures, and I thought that was a really terrific way of thinking about this. One of the things that... Talking about tropes, and I feel like we're just dismantling a bunch of them here tonight, Celeste...

DW: We are doing some work! 


DL: Is we started talking about the anti-Asian hate, and one of the things that... One of the tropes that came out was that African-Americans were the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate. And this happened in part because there were certain viral videos that went around, where certain violent incidents were caught on tape, and the perpetrator appeared to be Black, and the victim was Asian. And so, that certain kind of videos went viral, and people immediately started thinking about this as Black-Asian conflict, and then forgetting about the whole context, the history, the political context, in which we got where we were. And one of the things I have to say is that when Asian-American community organizations started thinking about, "Okay, let's have marches of solidarity," the first community to come and support us, sorry, were African-Americans. I'm sorry, I'm getting emotional. But it was also, when I think about my colleagues who came out and reached out to me, it was African-American women who immediately understood and immediately helped actually guide me through this process, and I'm sorry I'm getting emotional...

DW: No, do not apologize. Please do not apologize, because I think, Jennifer, it is so important because we've gotta recognize that policies are about lives, and we've gotta recognize that how we talk about groups and communities has implications. The images that we put up has implications for people's lives, and if they're negative, if they're hurtful, they make us feel so alone and so unseen. So, what I see and feel so deeply in your emotion is the way in which the shared experience of marginalization, as painful as that is, the ability to find strength in community, and the ability to find strength and connection and the ability to find strength and support, and it's a recurring theme in my work on the HIV community in terms of, we're talking about marginalized populations who have every reason to be at odds with each other because they're often pitted against each other for very, very scarce resources, but nevertheless, being able to find solidarity and find community, it's a very powerful thing, but it's also a critically important and potent policy tool that we cannot underestimate. So I so appreciate how you're talking about that experience and what that meant for you, 'cause, I too, when I heard the rhetoric coming out at the beginning of the pandemic, I thought, "This is not going to end well, and this is not about rhetoric; people are gonna get killed with this kind of conversation."

DL: So you understood this, and I think... I remember having dinner with several friends and they looked at me like I was overreacting, that I was getting hysterical, they didn't believe anything was going to happen. And you start to doubt yourself, like, "Am I being hysterical?", and I understood that I wasn't, especially when I talk to other Asian-Americans. I also understood that I wasn't when I started talking to African-Americans, and particularly African-American women, who understood what I felt and then also understood, when Atlanta happened, how I was bombarded with so many media requests and I just... You didn't even have time to grieve, because you were asked to comment as if to explain to the world why we saw what we saw, even though for over a year and a half, so many of us were afraid. And so one of the questions I'm wrestling with, not that I'm wrestling with in my mind, but as I think about writing this as a book project, is why did it take that massacre for the world to pay attention, or the nation to pay attention, to what so many of us fear? Why is it that when we presented survey data that about 75% of Asian-Americans worried somewhat about anti-Asian hate at the onset of COVID, why was that not enough? 

DL: Why did I take this massacre this murder, to really launch anti-Asian hate and our fears about it on to a national platform? And I realize, in part, this is why we're having this conversation, Celeste, about about disrupting tropes, we assume that a group like Asian-Americans are doing fine, that they don't need help. It's a completely distorted narrative, but it's a particularly dangerous narrative when we are targeted, as we have been, we're targeted as foreigners in part because our population has been suppressed by immigration laws. We're targeted as perhaps spies, the China initiative, which has disproportionately affected Chinese scientists and created a lot of fear and a sense that they're being racially profiled. And a lot of this has to do with geopolitics and immigration policies, and not about the individuals. But this is where I think you and I agree, the narratives are incredibly powerful, and narratives with data, marrying the data and the narratives and producing action, which we call it AAPI Data, DNA, data, narrative, action, is really how you move forward.

DW: I love that. Data, narrative, and action. I think that's great. Speaking of narratives and tropes, could you speak to the intersectionality question of how the model minority myth reinforces anti-Black sentiment? 

DL: Yes. So, I think when you think of... A couple of things. My first book was actually on Black- Korean relations, and it's called Civility in the City. And in it, I wanted to... I did an ethnographic account of merchant-customer relations in neighborhoods like Harlem and West Philadelphia, and I did that in part because so many of the images that we've seen about Black-Asian relations and Black-Korean relations at the time were framed around the Los Angeles riots, were framed around boycotts, and it was always framed as a conflictual relationship. And when you go into these communities, one of the things I found immediately was how routine and quotidian and how civil the majority of relations are between merchants and customers in predominantly Black communities. When you think about it, it makes sense. You can't have conflict, you can't have riots, you can't have boycotts every day. Yet, one of the things I find fascinating about even sociological research or social science research, we tend to focus on the extremes. I think more research we can think about how is civility maintained every day, that, I think, is a really fascinating question.

DL: But getting to the question that you have, if you have... One of the things I did was also in the Asian American Achievement Paradox, think about, when did the culture of poverty argument take off? It really took off in the late 1960s with Daniel Patrick Moynihan and The Moynihan Report. At at that time, at the same time, about 1966, you had an article in the New York Times written by a sociologist named William Peterson, who wrote about the success of Japanese, that how is it possible that a group that had been incarcerated just 20 years earlier had all of a sudden become this successful group? And so, you had what I call a culture of poverty argument emerging at the same time as you had a culture of success argument emerge.

DW: Oh, and these these two groups...

DL: Yeah, have always been pit against one another, that one is deserving, one is morally deserving, one is undeserving.

DW: So, next question: I'm interested in learning more about this legally engineered and oppositional relationship between Asian-Americans and other marginalized groups, particularly African-Americans. The question says, "How did these key differences emerge from policy, and how does policy continue to affect the relationships between these groups and their political interests?"

DL: These are such...

[overlapping conversation]

DL: Really, really good questions...

DW: I think many of these are coming from... We have a class that meets right after this, I think many of the students are offering these questions, so, excellent job, students! 

DL: I know, no, I love it because what I love about these questions is that they're comparative and they're asking us to do the work of thinking about, these tropes don't exist in a vacuum; they exist because there is another group for whom they are a foil. So, as I said, when we think about the construct of the culture of poverty, in part it was supported by this idea of a culture of success, and this happened at the same time, in the late 1960s. And so, the model minority to end the legal engineering of Asian immigrants as highly educated, highly successful, driven, focused on education, family values, this was weaponized in part to de-legitimize the Civil Rights Movement, and this is something, when you think about the timing of events, Asian immigrants who are here after 1965, we are here because African-Americans have fought to broaden civil rights. So the Immigration Act of 1965 was one year after the Civil Rights Act. So I understand that in part, that there are these twin tropes of when certain things happened in the 1960s and how that narrative has been usurped to pit certain groups against one another, yet when you look at the laws that produced certain kinds of outcomes, especially for Asian immigrants, we have to understand that the legal engineering in part serves a certain kind of discourse.

DL: It helps to minimize race, so if Asian-Americans, who are not white, who are a minority group, can achieve in spite of their non-whiteness, then why can't other groups? And so, when you talk about why is it important to move beyond a black/white framework, well, if we don't reckon with Asian America, then these tropes about certain groups being undeserving will not be very clear, or will always be confusing, I should say.

DW: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Excellent point. So, in your work, you mentioned that by 2055, Asian-Americans will represent the largest immigrant group in the country. Can you speak more to current immigration laws and what this means for Asian immigrants to the United States? So for example, there's a per-country quota on the number of green cards and permanent residencies that can be given from a country each year, but does that have any impact on work visas or the total number of immigrants? And similarly, how has the population of Asian refugees arriving in the United States change, and I don't think we've talked too much about refugees this evening, and together, what does this mean for the ethnic distribution of Asian-Americans for 2055, and consequently, the narratives and perspectives of Asian-Americans and the perceptions and narratives and perspectives of Asian-Americans? That's a big question, a lot of amazing things there. What do you think? 

DL: Yeah, no, first of all, when we look at demographic trends, a lot of things can disrupt those trends, but based on what we see, we see that Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing group, but they're also grown from the smallest base, so, by 2055, it's projected that Asian immigrants will outnumber Hispanic immigrants but Asians will only be about 10% of the population. So, even though we are growing, because we're growing at such a small base, we'll be about 10% of the US population.

DL: I think the question that's very interesting that we hadn't talked about is that as the US Asian population grows and as family reunification becomes a greater part of how Asians come to the United States, we're also more diverse. Asian refugees, for instance, Vietnamese, are the largest Asian refugee group in the country, and they are incredibly diverse in terms of socioeconomic origins. And so you have the first wave of Vietnamese refugees who are highly educated than subsequent waves, far less so, but this is actually happening across Asian-American Asian immigrants that it's not just the hyper-selected who immigrate now; it's hyper-selected immigrants who are also bringing family members who may not be hyper-selected on their own terms. And so, what we're seeing is more of a diversity of Asian immigrants. But one of the things I also wanted to point out is, getting back to the narrative, it's important to think about who is controlling the narrative for Asian-Americans. And so one of the things we try to do at AAPI Data is present data that actually speaks to the diversity of this population. So if you look at educational attainment, for instance, there are certain refugee groups like Hmong, Laotians, Cambodians, who have extremely poor high school graduation rates, extremely poor college attendance rates and college graduation rates, and so, there is tremendous diversity in this population that is masked by certain kinds of narratives about Asian-Americans.

DL: Getting to the question about work visas, I think one of the things that... There is a huge backlog in work visas for Asian-Americans, and so one of the things that is high on the Asian-American political agenda is getting rid of the backlog of visas. One of the things I'd also say is that companies like to hire Asian H1B visa holders. They will hire them for their labor, but this is where I think the path of citizenship for all immigrants makes sense. If we're willing to hire them, we need to invest in them so that they stay in our... So that immigrants not only stay in our country, but feel like they should stay and can continue to contribute to our country. So we can't just think about immigrants as labor migrants; how do we make immigrants feel like citizens? 

DW: Can you talk about the AAPI Data? I'm so taken with the idea of with the dearth of data, you go out and build an infrastructure to be able to gather the data and information, and I'm just imagining all the ways in which policy schools and scholars and thinkers in a variety of different environments and contexts need to know about this operation and to leverage it as a really important source of data and information for our analyses. And I wonder if you can just talk about it, and how a place like the Ford School, and as we're teaching students and we're drawing upon data, and encouraging them to do policy analysis that's driven by the demographics of the country, how they could leverage a place like AAPI Data? 

DL: I'm so glad you asked that. I should say AAPI Data was founded by my colleague, Karthick Ramakrishnan, who is a political scientist and in School of Public Policy at UC Riverside, and as he tells it, he said he was talking to a reporter and the reporter wanted some basic demographic information about a group, an Asian group and Karthik said to the reporter, "Well, you can really find that very easily through the census," and the reporter said, "That's really easy for you, but I don't really know how to navigate the census website, I don't know how to get that data." And it was through that interaction that this idea was born, that as social scientists, we understand the power of data and how to get the data. But we need to then... It's easy for us; we're trained to do this. So the idea of AAPI data is, it was initially to make data accessible and visually appealing and also publicly accessible for journalists and other people who wanted to [1:19:53.2] ____ on the AAPI population, Asian-American, Pacific Islander or population.

DL: It has since really evolved, and so, Janelle Wong is now co-Director with Karthick Ramakrishnan, and I'm a Senior Researcher with Sara Sadhwani, and Ninez Ponce, who is Director of CHIS at UCLA, and it's evolved from not only just presenting data, but also collecting data. And this is just what happens when you have a group of people who are just absolutely committed to allowing the data to drive the narrative rather than narratives being driven because of narrative scarcity. So that was really our commitment, so if you go on our website, we actually have mounds of data, and one of the things that's great working with the younger people, we have a team of researchers who know how to make it visually appealing, so they know how to use maps. I feel like I'm kind of old-school, so I don't really know how to do all that, but their goal is to make it very visually appealing. And then you can actually play with the data in there.

DL: And getting to that point, because I think Atlanta was also this crazy watershed moment where people started to realize, "Oh, my goodness, we should be investing in learning about Asian-American population," so the State of California actually gave us a grant of $10 million to study Asian-American experiences, particularly with discrimination. And we're not interested in just looking at Asian-Americans; most of our data is looking at Asian-Americans in comparison to other groups. So I wanted to give you another fact which I didn't present earlier, but during COVID, it wasn't just Asian-Americans who experienced anti-Asian hate or hate incidents because of their race. So, one of the surprising findings from the data, and I say surprising, it didn't surprise me, but it surprised a lot of people, the group that has experienced the most racist attacks or in COVID has been African-Americans.

DL: And so, this, again, when we think about linked fates and linked narratives, or fates and our narrative, linked fates and linked futures, excuse me, are so much more linked than the narratives would have us believe. And so, that is something that I think about all the time, and why is it that the narrative is always that these groups are in opposition, when actually, our experiences are born from similar foundations.

DW: Mm-hmm, and similar dynamics, absolutely. So, we have been asking, as you know, Dr. Lee, Jennifer, all of our speakers the following question. So at the Ford School, we've been engaging in conversations as a faculty about what anti-racist teaching looks like and how we diversify what and how we teach to be more comprehensive, to be more inclusive, and to be more fitting with the diverse realities of life. And I wonder, what advice would you give us as we engage in this journey of thinking about anti-racist teaching? How can we better educate our students, and what should we be thinking about as we craft our syllabi, introduce core ideas, facilitate discussions in the classroom, particularly about immigration policy? 

DL: Well, first, they should continue to invest in you, Celeste.

DW: Thank you.


DL: But apart from that, I really do believe that when we think about race, when we think about immigration, Asian-Americans are often excluded from that discourse, either because we are smaller in size, because there's not enough research on this population. I think one of the things that I hope comes out very clearly from this dialogue is that when you don't pay attention to a particular group, that group can be weaponized not only as a disservice to that group, but as a disservice to a number of groups, in particular, other minoritized groups. So, I would really push, when people are constructing syllabi about race, racial foundations of education, racial foundations of criminal justice, racial foundations of immigration, that there needs to be a component focusing on how Asian-Americans fit into that narrative. And that also means thinking about hiring more Asian-Americans.

DL: One of the things I present, when I think about... We think about faculty, and we never have a problem with a majority of white faculty, and having one African-American, one Hispanic, one Asian, and think we've met the quota. Why is it that we think of that as, "Okay, diverse," and not think about over-representation of some groups? And so, thinking holistically about diversity, thinking about how diverse experience is, how hiring just one, that's just the start. And investing, not only the hiring, but also investing in research and research agendas and research grants, and for foundations to understand that without studying... When you ignore particular populations, because you say, "This is not a URM group," or "This is not a minoritized group," you are actually closing the door to really problematize certain kinds of tropes that will continue to emerge.

DL: There is nothing to be gained by not thinking about how inequality reproduces itself and the mechanisms at all ends of the spectrum. And so we have to think, I think, broadly, comparatively holistically, about that, and my push would be, and this is not self-serving, but really to think about how to seriously include AAPIs in the discourse.

DW: Dr. Jennifer Lee, thank you so much. Thank you for this discussion, thank you for your love of data, thank you for the power of your ideas. Thank you for bringing your whole self to this discussion. Thank you for bringing conversation about community and justice and support and care and history into this policy space. We just can't thank you enough, and thank you so much for... And hello! [chuckle] Thank you so much for being our final speaker of our inaugural launch of our Racial Foundations of Public Policy Series for fall 2021. Thank you so much. I can't think of another person I would love to... I mean, this just... This has been phenomenal. Thank you.

DL: No, thank you so much. This was absolutely lovely, and it was just... I feel... I mean, I feel like... It's too bad we can't see one another, because we'd go out and have a cocktail or...

DW: Yes, we would.


DW: Yes, we would.


DL: Okay.

DW: So thank you so much. Yes, and just that sense of... And I laugh because one of the things that we try to impart in our students is these are really difficult topics to write about, to study about, to sit with, they're difficult, difficult topics. And one of the things that I so appreciate and take power and solace in is the community of scholars who are doing it alongside with me, and to be able to celebrate each other and to delight in each other's company, and to gain strength from that to keep going. So, when you talked about all of the reporters calling after the murder of the women in Atlanta, the way in which you're called upon to step up and speak and to use your talents and your skills to be able to illuminate, but also what that means in terms of the toll that it may take on you on you, we as scholars and scholars, who represent and come from racially minoritized communities, know all too well that experience. And I so appreciate the fact that nevertheless, we are able to find community in that experience, and to find strength in it, and to be able to use that to do the work in so many different places and so many different settings, all for the goal of getting us to a more just and equitable society so that all of us, not just some of us, all of us can live to our full human potential. So, thank you for that, friend and colleague.

DW: Wonderful. This has been Racial Foundations of Public Policy. We thank you so much for joining us here at the Center for Racial Justice at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. We encourage you to visit us at the Center for Racial Justice website at the Ford School. Check out our previous events, our previous conversations, they're all also available on YouTube. And please continue to follow us as we will be launching other events in other conversations to come. Dr. Lee, thank you again. Alright, everyone, take care.