The Legal Beat
T14 Law Professor Goes To White Nationalism Conference And Says White Nationalist Things And Somehow Still Has A Job
Posted on Thursday July 18, 2019
Every few months, Amy Wax finds her way into the spotlight. For years, the Penn Law professor has doggedly pursued her 15 minutes of fame by delivering a contrived song and dance that she can convert into a 5-minute hit on Tucker Carlson — the black tar heroin for insecure narcissists who measure their intellectual currency in cable news airtime instead of peer-reviewed scholarship — to complain about the politically correct campus culture that’s “out to get her” simply because “she harbors different ideas” that are “a jumble of racist stereotypes.” And like any junkie who’s enabled at every turn, Wax finds a way to raise the stakes every time, spouting more and more outrageous nonsense in her desperate bid for attention.
Every single time Wax pops up to tie Penn Law’s reputation to her quackery, the school has shrugged its shoulders, preferring to treat Wax like the institution’s crazy, tenured aunt. There’s always another excuse to be made for Wax’s continued employment. A school donor threw a temper tantrum and stepped down from the board of trustees when the school finally took the prudent step of pulling Wax off of 1L duties, forcing the school to sheepishly step back from any more substantial response to Wax’s tripe.
But perhaps we can all agree that wherever the line is, “speaking at a white nationalism conference” should be across it.
Yes, Amy Wax is at it again, appearing at a white nationalism conference — labeled a “national conservatism” conference, in a parallel to “national socialism” so clumsily transparent that it would be laughed out of the Black Mirror writing room — and arguing, as detailed in an excellent Vox write up, that what America needs are more white people:
In a panel on immigration, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax claimed that immigrants are too loud and responsible for an increase in “litter.” She explicitly advocated an immigration policy that would favor immigrants from Western countries over non-Western ones; “the position,” as she put it, “that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites.” (She claims this is not racist because her problem with nonwhite immigrants is cultural rather than biological.)
You can almost hear the dulcet tones of Jeff Foxworthy: “If you say America needs more white people because everyone else are garbage people… you might be a white supremacist.” And in a vain effort to cut off the comical dipshits who always hunt and peck their way into defending her after these articles, white hoods aren’t required to be a white supremacist. All that’s required is the belief that white people hold superiority over everyone else for whatever reason. There may not be a more textbook example of white supremacy than Wax’s quoted remarks arguing that European “culture” is superior to all others. In a sense, she’s technically correct to draw the distinction that she’s not being “racist” when her claims aren’t rooted in biology — but it’s “white supremacist” in either case.
Wax’s antics have made her an Above the Law All-Star in all the horrible ways that status implies. She’s written rambling, evidence-free screeds about how America was better when white men kept everyone else in their place. She’s bald-faced lied about the academic achievements of black students at Penn. She tried to newsjack the Kavanaugh hearings by popping off about how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford should have “held her tongue.”
Wax’s critics often fall into her trap by trying to denounce her barely coherent sputterings as though she’s got “wrong thoughts,” only feeding her narrative that there’s some shadowy “thought police” out there. It’s “PC culture run amok,” she’ll argue while mic’d up on Fox News, and that’s the coin of the realm over there.
In reality, Wax doesn’t display “wrong thoughts” so much as a complete absence of thought. She’s not a “rogue academic,” she’s a laughing stock who spends her days dragging Penn’s reputation through the mud for her own self-aggrandizement. She’s a charlatan. She should be fired not for what she believes but for her failure to adhere to even the most superficial of academic standards while making easily debunked claims in public.
Tenure and the academic freedom it affords is critical to building a functional academy. But Wax isn’t an academic. She isn’t producing statistics-heavy research papers or heavily footnoted think pieces advancing upon existing scholarship — she’s peddling anecdotes and innuendo and trading on the goodwill of Penn Law’s reputation.
Penn would do itself a service in cutting ties with her immediately. They’ll end up getting blasted on Fox News for it. But just wait 15 minutes and Wax’s moment will, as it always does, pass.
 Not that law professors are “peer-reviewed” per se, but even if a bunch of 3Ls are the ones extending the invitation to publish in a law review, the decision to afford a particular work academic weight when it comes to the job market or tenure comes from faculty peers reviewing the work. At the end of the day, academics are still writing for their peers even in law’s unorthodox system.
Earlier: Law Professors Say White ’50s Culture Is Superior, Other Racist Stuff
Penn Law School Prof Amy Wax Stumbles Into A Truth… Before Delving Back Into Vile Conspiracy Theories
Amy Wax Relieved Of Her 1L Teaching Duties After Bald-Faced Lying About Black Students
Professor Declares Black Students ‘Rarely’ Graduate In The Top Half Of Law School Class
Dog Whistling ‘Bourgeois Values’ Op-Ed Gets Thorough Takedown From Other Law Professors
Law Students Seek To Ban Professor From Teaching 1Ls
Law School Professor Says Dr. Ford ‘Should Have Held Her Tongue’ In Latest Embarrassment To Her School
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.