“Anchor Babies” and Interest Convergence

You’ve probably heard by now about Jeb Bush’s “anchor babies” remark, and his subsequent doubling down by clarifying that it’s “frankly… more related to Asian people coming into our country…”

There are a myriad of angles to approach this. Before proceeding, I want to frame my discussion in terms of critical race theory’s interest convergence theory, which posits that whites will support minority rights only when it’s in their interests as well (see the work of Derrick Bell).

Bush’s clarification that he was more referring to Asians reflects the present moment in politics, where the power of the Latinx vote is widely acknowledged, particularly in the GOP, given the GOP’s lost share of Latinx voters in the 2012 general election. Instead of backtracking completely from his remarks, Bush shifted them away from Latinx immigrants to Asian immigrants—because at this present moment it is in his interest to seek Latinx support, and the power of “the Asian vote” has not been made known yet. This is yet another in a long history of examples of propping up one immigrant (or POC) group at the expense of another in the service of white supremacy.

Don’t be surprised when a candidate with less interest in Latinx support breaks out Model Minority tropes to chastise Latinxs (probably in codified language, too, unless it’s from the Donald).

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