Ask any Democrats what “woke” means, and they likely will say they don’t know. Ask any Republican the same question, and they will say, “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.“
Merriam-Webster added the word “woke” to its dictionary in 2017, defining it as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice.”)
The Oxford dictionary adopted it the same year, defining it as “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.”
Those definitions seem benign enough unless one is a bigot, in which case the words seem threatening and too close to home.
This brings us to the related concept, “Critical Race Theory.” Per Brittanica:
Critical race theory (CRT) was officially organized in 1989, at the first annual Workshop on Critical Race Theory, though its intellectual origins go back much farther, to the 1960s and ’70s.
Its immediate precursor was the critical legal studies (CLS) movement, which dedicated itself to examining how the law and legal institutions serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the poor and marginalized.
(CRT is) based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour.
And this division, whether social or biological, leads to legally social problems.
- African Americans and Hispanic Americans (Latinxs), for example, are on average more likely than similarly qualified white persons to be denied loans or jobs;
- they tend to pay more than whites for a broad range of products and services
- they are more likely than whites to be unjustly suspected of criminal behaviour by police or private (white) citizens
- and they are more likely than whites to be victims of police brutality, including the unjustified use of lethal force.
- If convicted of a crime, people of colour, particularly African Americans, are generally imprisoned more often and for longer periods than whites who are found guilty of the same offenses.
These are facts in America. They cannot and should not be denied. Exposing these facts, particularly to young people, is the first and necessary step toward reducing, if not ending, the evils of racism.
Critical race theorists hold that racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.
America has a long history of racism, beginning with our negative attitudes toward native Americans (aka “Indians”) and later toward blacks, browns, and yellows. Those attitudes have been encoded into law.
Native Americans were legally denied land and forced into reservations, which then repeatedly were reduced in size.
People of color legally have been denied voting rights, legally segregated into “separate-but-equal” schools, legally redlined for mortgages and other loans, and legally mistreated by the police and judges for the most minor offenses.
Japanese Americans “legally” were sent to concentration camps.
These are absolute facts of American history, and to deny them is to deny reality.
Nations that deny their past, especially the shameful aspects, will most likely repeat the evil.
When those with evil intent come into power, their first act is to attempt the erasure of the past, so the populace will not remember the results of evil. (After World War II, Germany, the author of the greatest evil the world ever had known, made their children understand what happened, lest it happens again.
America has resisted admitting its own sins. America’s bigots have become afraid that their children will learn about racism in America.
That is why Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis created:
The “Stop WOKE Act,” prohibits workplace training or school instruction that teaches:
- that individuals are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously”;
- that people are privileged or oppressed based on race, gender, or national origin;
- or that a person “bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress” over actions committed in the past by members of the same race, gender, or national origin.
The law says such trainings or lessons amount to discrimination.
No school is known to teach that children bear “personal responsibility for, and must feel guilty about our history. But the Republican party uses that as an excuse to hide the past to repeat yesterday’s racism.
This is what FoxNews, the apologist for the GOP’s racism, says:
But the meaning of woke evolved again with the rise of “cancel culture” — as the two terms saw increased use, they became intertwined in the public consciousness.
Often, someone gets canceled after they say something insensitive – something not woke.
The irony thickens. The GOP uses the pejorative phrase “cancel culture” to describe liberals while canceling teachers and schools who teach the facts about American racism. Presumably, the GOP objects to this:
- Adidas ends partnership with Ye over antisemitic remarks
- North Carolina Sheriff Resigns After Shocking, Racist Comments About Black Employees
- Alabama Supreme Court affirms judge’s ouster for racist and sexist comments
Open any newspaper on any day, and you will see many articles like the above. The GOP, approving racism, calls all attempts to stop bigotry “cancel culture.” Here’s what they don’t call “cancel culture”:
Per Fox News:
In addition to meaning aware and progressive, many people now interpret woke to be a way to describe people who would rather silence their critics than listen to them.
The reason “many people” interpret woke as being “cancel culture” is the GOP, and particularly Donald Trump, describe it that way. Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth in the eyes of the innocent and the needy. Becoming knowledgeable about racism in America is quite different from the GOP’s Hitlerian book burning, but the GOP tries to link the two.
Donald Trump has led the GOP down the dark whirlpool of bigotry, from which it shows no sign of climbing.
He is a shameless bigot whose sole appeal to his angry base is his hatred of everything, not Trump.
Trump voices the anger his followers feel and the scapegoats they need.
- He attacked Muslim Gold Star parents.
- He claimed a judge was biased because “he’s a Mexican.”
- The Justice Department sued his company ― twice ― for not renting to black people.
- Discrimination against black people has been a pattern in his businesses
- He refused to condemn the white supremacists who are campaigning for him
- He questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States
- He treats racial groups as monoliths
- He trashed Native Americans, too
- He encouraged the mob justice that resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of the Central Park Five.
- He condoned the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester
- He called supporters who beat up a homeless Latino man “passionate.”
- He stereotyped Jews and shared an anti-Semitic meme created by white supremacists.
- He treats African-American supporters as tokens to dispel the idea he is racist.
Trump is an extravagant hatemonger.
Most recently, he has even begun calling his long-time loyal friend, Allen Weisselberg, a liar. (And this is a man who went to jail to protect Trump.)
SUMMARY “Woke” acknowledges the American bigotry enshrined in the law.
Our young people must understand the depth and seriousness of American bigotry and the laws that support it, so they can learn and vote to curtail it.
American hatemongers do not want our young people to understand and seek a solution to the growing problem. The term “cancel culture” has been invented to justify more bigotry-supporting laws.
The GOP has devolved into the Party of Hatred toward all but white male, citizen, Christians. It demonizes any discussion of maltreatment of people not in the “approved” group.
It is the minority party in America, led by a psychopath. But by appealing to the basest elements of the national psyche, it has been able to twist the law to support its nefarious agenda.
In the late 1930s and the early 1940s, Germany and Italy taught the world the horrors of that dictatorial plan. Apparently, America now must relearn those lessons.
Meanwhile, as we are being schooled, we suffer the consequences.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The Sole Purpose of Government Is to Improve and Protect the Lives of the People.