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How do we think about the "woke" debate? Show more Show less
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To proponents of "woke culture", the term denotes only a simple awareness of the fundamental inequalities and injustices suffered by minorities - religious, racial, social (LGBTQ). To its critics, woke culture smacks of liberal authoritarianism - a new cultural religion that tolerates no dissent on threat of 'cancellation'. Which is it?

Wokeness is being weaponised to undermine the right Show more Show less

Wokeness is now used by left-leaning activists to abuse those who do not agree with them.
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Wokeness represents cultural elitism

The term is used by a liberal elite to self-identify and to delegitimise those who disagree with them. The 'oppressed' that wokeness purports to defend do not describe themselves in the terms of intersectionality, white privilege or systemic racism.

The Argument

If woke culture truly advocated for the oppressed, why is it so saturated with the liberal cultural elite? Universities, Hollywood, and pressrooms have all been inundated with a wave of wokeness that belies its primary goals. The growing trend of social activism on university campuses—the height of academic success and professional opportunity—displays this contradiction in full. The context in which students and professors live does not reflect the realities of a large portion of the public. Most of the public does not understand the complexities of intersectionality, white privilege, and systemic racism. But more crucially, most of those who take up social justice causes are white, college-educated, and liberal. Celebrities put this on full display. As New York Times opinion writer Ross Douthat notes, the late-night talk show hosts have gone from comedians, to "liberal 'explanatory journalists' with laugh lines." Similar trends have spread throughout film, television, and music with celebrities often being very vocal about social justice issues.[1] Liberal news outlets have also been picked up by the woke wave. In June of 2020, the New York Times faced backlash when their opinion section published a piece by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas in which he considered using the military to bring calm to the Black Lives Matter protests across the US. In the aftermath, the opinion editor for the Times resigned, despite his section of the paper being tasked with publishing a broad range of opinions.[2] With these powerful domains of society being the heralds of wokeness, it is hardly the voices of the oppressed speaking up, but rather the most elite within our society.

Counter arguments

Conservatives may think that some "liberal elite" is dominating the discourse on social justice, but that is because activists on the left are the only ones addressing inequity. Academics who have spent their entire professional careers studying topics like race, economics, history, and policy have come to a conclusion that may seem liberal to those on the right, but that is because conservatives would rather uphold the status quo. The same goes for Hollywood; celebrities are just using their reach and public presence to speak about social justice. It would be irresponsible for them to stay silent on issues of inequity when they have the privilege to speak up and be heard. Through their mediums, they can share stories that help improve society. As for the news media, they are tasked with reporting facts. Just because the facts do not always fit into a conservative narrative does not mean that they are representatives of some elite class.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Universities and academia do not represent the opinions of the masses and the oppressed. [P2] Nearly all in the entertainment industry who espouse woke views are wealthy liberals. [P3] The press now has a liberal bias that represents a capitulation to woke activists.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Professors and academics represent the authority on topics of equity and policy. [Rejecting P2] Celebrities should use their platforms to speak up for social activism. [Rejecting P3] The press merely reports facts, and they just happen to be inconvenient for conservatives and critics of woke culture.

References

  1. https://www.thedailybeast.com/celebs-take-responsibility-for-racism-public-says-open-your-purse
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/opinion/tom-cotton-new-york-times.html

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This page was last edited on Friday, 4 Sep 2020 at 16:23 UTC

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