Conservative activist Kenny Xu, 26,   runs for Congress to take on ‘woke’ federal government

Conservative activist Kenny Xu, 26, runs for Congress to take on ‘woke’ federal government

Conservative activist Kenny Xu, who successfully fought against affirmative action at universities around the country said Thursday he plans to run for Congress in North Carolina as a Republican.

He is entering the GOP primary for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district, which encompasses Wake Forest and the north of Raleigh. It is currently held by two-term Democrat Deborah Ross.

Xu, 26, the son of highly-educated Chinese immigrants, has fought anti-Asian discrimination at Harvard which led to the Supreme Court’s seismic ruling against affirmative action at colleges in June.

He has also fought what he sees as harmful diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies at US medical schools, including the University of North Carolina’s.

Xu says that too many “woke” policies are being endorsed and funded by the federal government — and now wants to take them on from an elected perch.

A photo of Kenny Xu.
26-year-old conservative activist Kenny Xu has just announced his run for Congress from North Carolina. He will campaign for the state’s Second Congressional district, which is held by
Kenny Xu for Congress

Rep. Deborah Ross.
Deborah Ross, the incumbent Democrat in the seat Xu is targeting, was first elected in 2020 and is expected to seek a third term.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

“It really comes down to who in Congress is going to represent fairness for all Americans and right now I am that voice,” Xu told The Post Thursday.

“What I see going on in medical schools and in colleges and in corporations is sponsored in large part by the federal government. So the next step for me is to take it on at the federal government level.”

The district is Democratically-held and not rated as competitive at the 2024 election by political forecasters The Cook Report.

But Xu sees the Biden-Harris agenda, as he calls it, to be heavily weighted in favor of encouraging DEI policies, especially when it comes to education, at the expense of fairness and merit.

A photo of Kenny Xu
Kenny Xu has fought anti-Asian discrimination at Harvard and DEI policies in medical schools.
Kate Medley

“Their Build Back Better program solicits federal funding for specific institutions which insist on hiring a certain number of minorities into their executive leadership, which is discriminatory,” Xu said. “That’s unfair. That’s exactly what DEI is all about.

“I’m also against their education agenda,” he added. “They launched a $122 billion subsidy of education funding.

“Most of it is going to schools and institutions who are incentivized to use DEI policies to counter the effects of the pandemic. All of these policies are heavily incentivized from federal government policy.”

Xu also criticized Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Sept. 2021 memo directing the FBI to investigate parents who protested DEI policies at school board meetings.

Xu’s first book focused on the 2014 lawsuit filed against Harvard College alleging anti-Asian discrimination.

A photo of Kenny Xu's book.
Xu’s second book focused on critical race theory in American schools.

“These are local issues,” Xu said. “You should not be getting the FBI involved.”

Xu advised the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Asian-Americans against Harvard College alleging race-based discrimination.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in their favor and prohibited race-based admissions in a seismic ruling earlier this year ending affirmative action in colleges.

Xu is the author of “An Inconvenient Minority: the Harvard Admissions Case and the Attack on Asian American Excellence,” and “School of Woke: How Critical Race Theory Infiltrated American Schools and Why We Must Have Reclaim Them.”

Xu and his group, Color Us United, have worked to end DEI policies in medical schools.

The Capitol.
Xu tells The Post that being an elected official will help him fight DEI in colleges.
Getty Images

In February, after Xu’s lobbying efforts, the board of governors at the University of North Carolina voted to ban DEI statements from hiring and tenure decisions.

Xu and his three-person organization began their campaign at UNC by lobbying the medical school trustees, many of whom, he said, didn’t understand what DEI really meant and how embedded it had become at the university and the medical school.

Before Xu came on the scene, the UNC medical school’s Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion and Tenure stated that all applicants seeking to work at the school had to furnish statements involving their “depth and breadth of efforts in each (DEI) area, including but not limited to impact of work, philosophy and style, team-based projects, and mentee interactions.”

During Xu’s initial campaign, the school’s board of governors voted to ban DEI statements from hiring and tenure decisions. In June 2023, the UNC Medical School rescinded their DEI framework.

Dana Kennedy

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