I’ve been talking with a new group of people recently. Many of them consider themselves politically independent. Some of them voted for Trump. Some, reluctantly. Some of them voted for Biden. Some, reluctantly. None of them are crazy. They’re diverse and thoughtful. I like them.
Although my own politics have shifted, especially over the past year, I’ve only recently decided that I’m not a Democrat any more. I’m surely not a Republican, especially given the mess that is the Republican Party today. But I like the freedom of not being affiliated with a party.
Last summer I was shocked to see a number of people I follow on Twitter, YouTube, Substack and elsewhere were taking a firm stand against voting for Biden. None of these people were Republicans. Mostly they were (and are) more concerned about wokeism than any other issue. They fear that as colleges and corporations respond to the “racial reckoning” by forcing woke ideology down the throats of their students and employees, any prospect for unity will wither on the vine. I wrote a blog post begging people not to vote for Trump based on concerns about wokeness.
My new friends do not necessarily buy Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rhetoric. But they also don’t fully trust the 2020 election results. I recently read about the last House seat finally being decided by a judge in New York. I was surprised to read about the irregularities in that particular district. No, I don’t think the whole election was tainted, but just the flaws in that one district gave me pause. If Trump had somehow won the election, I’m certain I’d be distrusting the outcome, so I get how our confidence can be affected by how we voted.
Aside from not being fully confident of the election results, my new friends (those who voted for Trump) have a lot of different reasons for voting as they did. Foreign policy, trade policy, (think North Korea, China, Israel), no new wars, changing the Title IX rules on rights of the accused of campus sexual assault, and animal rights legislation. The clincher, for most of them was Trump’s Executive Orders banning diversity training based on critical race theory. These folks are anti-woke in a big way. And more power to them.
I never came close to voting for Trump, primarily because I wanted a president who understands how our government works and appreciates the State Department. (I also have seen enough conservative judges appointed to last the rest of my life.) But, as you know if you’ve read any of my previous posts, I’m anti-woke myself.
Just for the record, here’s what I consider to by typically woke ideology: You are not a person, an individual. Rather, you are a list of your identities. You will be treated as your identities are treated in our society, not as an individual. Your success or failure is in the hands of others, not in your own hands. Because I am white, though female, I possess enough power to oppress you, and I will use my power to do so. White men will oppress me. If you are white-adjacent (Asian, perhaps Hispanic), you will have enough power to oppress darker skinned people. If you are heterosexual, you have enough power to oppress homosexuals or gender non-conforming people. If you are a trans person of color, you are at the bottom of the heap. Many people will be oppressing you, and there is nothing you can do for yourself except hope that we stop. Capitalism sets the rules; police work for capitalist oppressors.
As the Biden administration gets its footing, Executive Orders are flying off the desk, and enough of them support woke policies that I worry for our future. Critical theories, with their emphasis on systemic badness and focus on oppressors and oppressed, can only guide us toward greater division. If our political scene resembles the Grand Canyon already, how do we find any common ground?
I voted for Biden; I’m glad Biden won. But I don’t love the rhetoric in his Executive Orders. Fortunately, enough people dread the impact of wokeness that there are groups forming here and there; people are organizing, creating resources for others, planning lawsuits. I think woke cannot survive the light of day, and the more it penetrates organizations, the more its divisiveness will be exposed. Here are some people I read, listen to, and watch. Check them out!
John McWhorter: Atlantic magazine, johnmcwhorter.substack.com
Glenn Loury: glennloury.substack.com, The Black Guys at bloggingheads.tv
Jesse Singal: jessesingal.substack.com
Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal: Blocked and Reported Podcast at
Coleman Hughes: colemanhughes.org, Quillette, Conversations with Coleman Podcast
What Killed Michael Brown, movie by Eli Steele and Shelby Steele
Meghan Daum at meghandaum.com
Titania McGrath @TitaniaMcGrath, Why I’ve reported Douglas Murray to the police at https://unherd.com/2019/09/why-ive-reported-douglas-murray-to-the-police/
Helen Pluckrose: (with James Lindsay) Cynical Theories, driving force behind CounterweightSupport.com
Critical Race Training in Education, a resource
Not sure about “woke,” but I surely have benefitted from systemic racism. Like the time I was speeding in a school zone (school was out) and was pulled over. After some talk, I thought the cop was through with me, and drove off. He had to pull me over a second time to give me a ticket. Imagine if I’d been not a middle-aged white lady, but a black man. It’s easy to take privilege for granted when you have it; not so much when you don’t.
Hi Connie, What’s your definition of systemic racism? Is our retirement home systemically racist because mostly white people live here? Could be, especially if we only market to white people. That’s quite possible, even if unintentional. We advertise on public television, which would attract people like us. Do we advertise in the South Seattle Emerald? Do we post fliers at the Grocery Outlet on the #2 bus route? How else do we market ourselves? Is our goal to make sure that we stay majority white? Do we assume that white people are more likely to have the resources to buy into our club? That could well be true, but is that assumption systemically racist, or just realistic?
I do not deny that I have benefitted from privilege. I got my first job because my dad knew a guy. And so it went from there. Yet I’ve wrestled with race for my whole life because my family was seriously racist and I knew it was wrong.
As for your cop, we he exposing his sexist, patriarchal position by giving a woman a ticket? Or just his white privilege position by not shooting you? Should all actions of white men be suspect? In earlier posts, I’ve linked to a lot of information about policing. The evidence supporting systemic racism is not what BLM claims.
We have to consider people as individuals while being careful to avoid systemic errors of the past. Please keep reading. Consult some of the names I’ve linked to, and thanks for participating in the discussion.