And Neither Are We Saved: Asian Americans' Elusive Quest for Racial Justice



Derrick Bell, Civil Rights activist, legal scholar, and a founder of critical race theory, dedicated much of his life and scholarship to the pursuit of racial justice. Twenty-six years ago, in his work And We Are Not Saved, he recognized that racial progress has been stalled and racial equality would not be a reality in his lifetime. Bell passed away in October 2011, and we are reminded that there is still much work to do. He presented a conundrum that race scholars have said all there is to say about racial problems in the United States; yet, he encouraged scholars to keep moving the work forward. At the time And We Are Not Saved was written, much of the racial scholarship was centered on the Black–White paradigm. In the 26 years since Bell wrote it, there has been a growth of Asian American research. This essay surveys some critical racial analysis of Asian Americans. There have been major contributions to the literature extending racial scholarship beyond the Black–White paradigm. Additionally, intersectional scholarship extends the discussion into other systems of oppression, highlighting how racism can be veiled in different systems. Critical race scholarship is imperative to keep Bell's dream of racial equality alive.