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How do we think about the "woke" debate? Show more Show less

Proponents of so-called "woke culture" describe the term as having an awareness of inequalities, social issues and injustices. Yet, others are less convinced - suggesting that it has a more sinister undertone. These critics draw crude parallels between its values and those of authoritarianism, which have allegedly turned it into what President Trump calls "childlike fascism". Should we be woke to the pitfalls of this ideological movement?

"Wokeness has gone too far on the left" Show more Show less

The term is now used by left-leaning activists to abuse those who do not agree with them.
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Woke is a class issue

Statistics show that those who describe themselves as "woke" come from wealthier backgrounds. The same is true of those who favor censorship of "un-woke" views. The term is intrinsically linked to social class. Those who support woke culture are, in fact, part of the privilege they claim to fight.
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Context

The Argument

Wokeness is not for society's marginalized, but for the privileged elite. As studies show, white, educated liberals are the most likely to have strong opinions about issues of social justice. [1] While being woke may seem like a perspective that disadvantaged minorities would adopt to combat oppression, it is in fact the opposite. When polled, many minorities do not display the same concern for social justice issues as college-educated individuals, who are also overwhelmingly white.[2] Additionally, many of these woke individuals never actually engage with the marginalized groups they claim to defend. They are merely engaging in "performative wokeness," from their ivory towers, never interacting with minorities or oppressed groups. While their cause may seem noble, in reality, they are benefitting from the same privilege they claim to fight. The real issue is a division between class. Our efforts should focus on giving minorities and other disadvantaged individuals the opportunities to lift themselves out of their circumstances, rather than a focus on the abstract effects of race.

Counter arguments

Considering woke culture originated in black communities in the United States, its difficult to blame wealthy elites for its use.[3]Ultimately, its core goal is to recognize and dismantle the covert structures within society that oppress minorities and create inequity. For that to happen, white allyship is necessary.[4] The fact that so many on the left are now open to woke culture is evidence of progress, and perhaps a sign of more progress to come. While class disparity certainly affects minorities, it is primarily due to historical racial injustice. If it was purely a class issue, that would do nothing to acknowledge that black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) are disproportionately affected by these disparities.[5] This is not purely a class issue, and it demands that action is taken to correct the inequities present in these communities.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Wokeness is primarily used by wealthy white liberals. [P2] The inequality focused on by woke culture is primarily due to class difference, not race. [P3] It is hypocritical for wealthy people to be opining on these issues.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Woke culture originated in black communities, and regardless of who partakes in the cause, it addressed systemic issues. [Rejecting P2] Considering these "class" issues overwhelmingly affect minorities, we cannot deny that race plays a vital role in these inequities. [Rejecting P3] The dismantling of racist and oppressive systems requires white allyship, not just those who are oppressed.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/20/some-democrats-are-bothered-nominee-is-an-older-white-man-and-they-solidly-back-biden-in-november/
  2. https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/11/17/whats-the-matter-with-white-liberals/
  3. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/woke-meaning-origin
  4. https://www.dismantlecollective.org/resources/
  5. https://www.justicepolicy.org/research/category/36

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 16 Jun 2020 at 13:48 UTC