Many Millenials, and even an outspoken share of Generation Z, have adopted woke, far-left ideals. Not only do they want to rid America of free-market capitalism, but they also seek to eradicate the equality of opportunity and instead impose equity. Wokeness and Critical Theory are popular concepts among the progressive faction that have infected American culture and public institutions such as schools, churches, and the government.
The Surge of Wokeness
The term “woke” itself originated with the phrase “stay woke,” which signifies one’s awareness of social issues such as police brutality against minorities. It was popularized in 2014 following the death of Michael Brown.
Since then, there have been instances of calling for the abolition of the police. But the movement was given the most media coverage and public attention it had ever received following George Floyd’s death and the riots that ensued shortly after. Buildings were burned, police were beaten, tormented, and even killed. Over two billion dollars in property damage was caused by the violent demonstrators in less than two weeks. People were being held hostage in no-go zones that were established in Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis. The domestic terrorism hasn’t stopped. Over a year later, people are still being assaulted by the mob and seeing their neighborhoods burned.
Why were these people so ready to riot and loot? Because Wokeism and critical theories have infiltrated institutions such as schools and the workplace. Student curriculum and employee diversity trainings have been used to disseminate lies about race, gender, and science. CCP propaganda has also been spread in the U.S. by China through Confucius Institutes.
Even the military and the CIA have capitulated to forced diversity of appearance. Both organizations have come under scrutiny recently for releasing commercials that reflect leftist values. One of the CIA’s “Humans of CIA” commercials had a woman who described herself as a “cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.” Shortly after, a US army ad received criticism from many on the right including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) as he stated that it will cause “a woke, emasculated military.” While being mocked over his comment, Cruz is right that leftist indoctrination is being proliferated through these sorts of advertisements.
As displayed by these ads, those who practice Wokeism like to boast diversity. But the woke ideology doesn’t prioritize diversity of thought, it promotes a homogeneity of opinion that punishes wrongthink.
The Overton Window has shifted far left in the country. Millennials, Democratic politicians, the media, and big corporations have all adopted wokeness to some degree. The Democratic Party has shifted more to the progressive left as “The Squad,” a term used for a small sect of Congress that advocates for Democratic Socialism and the Green New Deal, is slowly gaining members. Most establishment Democrats, while not always supportive of their policies, still have a tendency of siding with them on many issues. Democrats such as Kamala Harris and Maxine Waters even outright encouraged and solicited funds for rioters.
But it’s not just the party—the left has shifted further left. Pew Research released a study titled “The shift in the American public’s political values” that illustrates the polarization of the American public from 1994 to 2017. While there were years where the American public was fairly centrist, there has been a trend toward the left over time. The Hidden Tribes report delves into America’s political landscape and reveals how little the left and the right agree on when it comes to key issues. The 2018 piece states that approximately 8% of the U.S. population are progressive activists. According to a CNN finding in 2019, half of the American public believes the party has moved too far to the left. CNN has a left-leaning bias and is a disseminator of propaganda, so it should be noted that the results are likely skewed in favor of the left (meaning that it could be more than half of America).
Even though the Republican voters are against the shift, some Republican officials are embracing this new doctrine—the governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed a bill that would stop children who claimed to be transgender from being given life-altering hormones. He claimed that it was a government overreach to pass the bill, but what he truly did was give into woke ideology.
The progressive school of thought does more than promote the “basic rights” of all. It attempts to segregate different races, eliminate family and culture, and abolish science and reason.
The March 15 article of the Ahmed Mlih blog, “Cancel Culture and Critical Race Theory: The Bigger Picture,” focused on the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools and the workplace. CRT has been most prevalent in recent discussions, being promoted by progressives and most heavily criticized by conservatives.
Critical Theory goes further than race, however. The neo-Marxist philosophies encompass many facets of societal structure, human interaction, and culture. The objective concepts of race, gender, and literature are replaced by subjective definitions and beliefs. They intend to challenge established norms and practices, but they tend to ignore objective reality in doing so.
The Frankfurt School, most predominant in the 1920s and 30s, laid the foundation for modern critical theories through its criticism of the socio-economic systems in the Weimar Republic. Max Horkheimer, a German philosopher and sociologist who was a member of the school, heavily contributed to the theories, even defining the requirements for an adequate critical theory. According to the thinker, “a critical theory is adequate only if it meets three criteria: it must be explanatory, practical, and normative, all at the same time. That is, it must explain what is wrong with current social reality, identify the actors to change it, and provide both clear norms for criticism and achievable practical goals for social transformation” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
Modern theories satisfy the first two pillars, but the third doesn’t seem to be met by any critical theory. The inconsistency from those who enforce these ideologies makes it impossible to set practical goals and a defined conclusion to their efforts.
Critical Race Theory
Critical Race Theory judges people on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. It attaches labels to races, such as “oppressor” for White people and “victim” for Black people. The National African American History Museum even defined White culture as valuing things like individuality, the nuclear family, the scientific method, and work ethic.
It sounds eerily similar to the rhetoric of white supremacists. The modern-day woke Left, just like the alt-right, values appearance over character. Anyone who falls out of line is subject to slurs, name-calling, and defamation. One recent example of this taking place was Senator Tim Scott being called “Uncle Tim” after his criticism of Joe Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress. CRT proponents discourage white families from adopting black babies. They encourage throwing segregated graduations, demanding separate dorms, and hosting segregated trainings in libraries. Progressive politicians have even deemed it necessary to give out payments based on skin color.
The goal of CRT is to make up for past discrimination through current discrimination. It declines equality in favor of equity, which only leads to pushing the people as a whole down rather than allowing historically marginalized groups to move up in the system.
The 1619 Project has been integral to the teaching of Critical Race Theory. The project, created by The New York Times in 2019, asserts that America did not begin in 1776 with the ratifying of the Constitution. Instead, it posits that the country began in 1619 when enslaved West Africans were first brought to America. It attempts to rewrite history to frame the United States as a racist country built on slavery rather than a country that values individual liberties and has made great human rights progress over time.
Proponents of the woke ideology have pushed things so far that teachers are now comparing not teaching anti-racism (a key component of CRT) to sexually abusing children.
Critical Gender Theory
Critical Gender Theory has led to many negative societal consequences as of late. Parents are now giving children large doses of hormones, leagues are allowing biological males to play in women’s sports, and people are now discussing whether gender has any purpose whatsoever. No longer is biological sex an essential factor of who a person is according to critical theorists. According to sociologists, feminists, and activists that believe the theory, sex and gender are two separate entities. To them, gender is an identity by which a person expresses themself physically.
Not only are people outside of the politically correct circle having trouble keeping up, so are many within the woke community. The word “womxn” was created to be inclusive of transgender women but has also faced criticism for differentiating transgender women from biological women. There has also been recent controversy surrounding Caitlin Jenner, who is transgender. Jenner has criticized President Donald Trump for his administration’s policies regarding transgenders, but is now being smeared by the left for saying that allowing males to compete in women’s sports is “unfair.”
When it comes to modern gender theory, several influencers should be discussed: John Money, Simone De Beauvoir, and Judith Butler.
John Money was a psychologist and sexologist from New Zealand who conducted the John/Joan case, an experiment that took place when a baby boy with a botched circumcision was instead raised as a girl by his parents. The main subject, David Reimer (born Bruce Reimer) visited Money for annual checkups along with his twin brother, Brian. Money’s experiment led to mental scarring for the children. In the end, Brian Reimer overdosed on antidepressants and David (who reverted to manhood as an adult) died from suicide by firearm.
While Money’s experiment should never be replicated, it provided evidence that gender isn’t simply based on societal factors. There are also 12 (far more ethical) studies that reveal that a majority of kids who say they’re trans don’t often grow up to be transgender when they get older.
Additionally, there are instances of people beginning to transition but later choosing to revert to their original gender. 60 Minutes recently released a segment about detransitioners, people who suffer from gender dysphoria but eventually walk back on any given medical treatments. Not all aspects of it are reversible and those who have gone through the process express regret.
It should also be noted that high levels of estrogen are carcinogenic. While it’s the choice of adults to make the decisions that they see fit, it’s should be agreed upon that it’s not just for minors to transition.
When it comes to gender theorists, however, they don’t agree that biological factors play a role in gender. Simone De Beauvoir was a French feminist philosopher, activist, and social theorist that posited in her writings (most notably “The Second Sex”) that no aspect of “womanhood” comes from biology. Rather, De Beauvoir believed society polices gender norms and that men fundamentally oppress women by othering them.
Judith Butler, an American philosopher and social theorist, also believes that gender is a social construct that does not derive from nature. According to her, gendered behavior is a facade imposed by a heteronormative society. Butler argues that gender does not exist naturally and that it is subject to change.
There are biological factors in the way each gender acts, though. Hormones, brain structure, evolution, and genes make men and women innately different in both their physical and mental attributes. There are outliers, but men and women are simply not interchangeable.
Women naturally want kids and want to nurture kids, it’s in their biology. Women who break the mold are more likely to be less happy as those who elect to freeze their eggs feel regret. Research done by Elsevier asserts that the numbers are non-negligible—women who succeed in their careers but wait to have kids aren’t as happy. There are exceptions, but pushing women as a whole to replace homemaking with a professional career doesn’t align with their gender. Women also want men more successful than them. Even if they are successful, they still desire a higher-earning man. It’s because gender norms aren’t simply subject to change. Even when society tells women to change, it yields results that show that men and women are just naturally different.
Saying that men and women are interchangeable leads people who are confused about their identity or are suffering from depression to make life-altering decisions before seeking other resources and options. It can also lead people who were previously comfortable with the norms in place to become disappointed after years of being told not to trust their instincts.
This is an ideology that definitely shouldn’t be forced upon kids in school either. Teaching Critical Gender Theory enforces a partisan pseudoscience that conflicts with biology. Just this month, a New York prep school faced backlash for teaching kids porn in the form of a training course called “pornography literacy.” It’s quite strange that the side that claims banning anti-racism in schools is comparable to sexual abuse is also introducing children to pornography.
The Rejection of Literature, Math, and Science
Critical Literature Theory has led to the calling for the banning of books due to them containing racial slurs, even if the message of the book is culturally significant. To Kill A Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and several other books have been deemed racist according to the woke mob. A public institution such as a school or library shouldn’t be taking partisan stances, though. Banning literature prevents knowledge. Even legitimately racist books should be left alone for educational purposes.
Not only is it literature, though. Seattle schools, among other schools, have deemed math racist. A math professor in Illinois claimed that algebra and geometry perpetuate White privilege. According to African American History Museum, the scientific method and objectivity are also a part of White culture.
Just like the other theories, the overall problem is detachment from reality. There are certain aspects of culture that impact the way people act, but there’s an objective truth to human behavior. When it comes to gender, not everyone may meet a certain set of personality traits that commonly align with their sex. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still a man or woman.
The woke movement has devolved from focusing on actual rights to an authoritarian mob that claims it’s hate speech to misgender someone. This has even reached a legal level. Against the rights guaranteed within the First Amendment, California passed a law that allows fines and even jail time for healthcare workers that misgender patients.
Will Wokeness Last?
While increasing in popularity, the woke movement may not be able to sustain itself. With much of the far-left adopting cancel culture, they are pushing out moderates and people who lean left. They will go as far as canceling their own if they see the need to. Even with the indoctrination of children, it’s difficult to expand their reach with their ever-changing definitions and standards.
Democratic candidates may have pandered to the woke to get elected, but analysts claim they are afraid of woke culture. Establishment politicians have no true interest in giving the woke anything that doesn’t benefit them as well.
Those worried about critical theories and Wokeism should not rely on the establishment or the cannibalism of the woke, though. It must be fought in schools by parents in teachers. It must be called out in the workplace. It must be spoken out against on social media. On a local level, citizens must try to push legislation that bars indoctrinating citizens with the ideology in public institutions. It’s the only way to guarantee the separation of woke and state.