Anyone who has read Inspection for a while knows I am not fan of the term “woke.” Often used as a grammatical abomination, as in “Get woke,” I find it presumptuous. Simply because people disagree with you doesn’t mean they’re ignorant.
However, I would rather the nation be awake, rather than lulled to sleep by some 50’s lullaby of a perfect nation, well “perfect” for people of one color, with one political view.
I am also a culture war cynic. I believe the “culture war” is actually an anti-culture war. A “cute” way to divert actual discussion about our culture. A not so subtle way to try to shut people up you disagree with.
It’s a view that history that makes certain people uncomfortable should not be taught, should not be mentioned. “I’m tired of ‘woke'” really means, “Shut up.” And apparently the state should enforce “shut up” if we are to believe some pols. Interesting how people who claim to be against government interference are all for it when it serves their preference. “I’m tired of ‘woke'” is meant to stop conversation. There’s no engagement, like “That’s not exactly how that happened.” It’s anti-engagement, like so much of today’s rhetoric.
Why so afraid to engage? Afraid you might LOSE?
Maybe because when people try engage in absurd talking points it becomes so damn obvious those talking points are not only wrong, but the wrong headed. Talking point: “Blacks had slaves too!” Response: “So? And your point is…?” Citing African “history” makes nothing right, defends nothing. It’s like saying, “Hey, that guy over there murdered someone too,” hoping to get another discussion of murder off the table. Intentional distraction. A classic case of “Look over THERE instead!”
If slavery is wrong it’s wrong: another example doesn’t make it right.
On the side of those who consider themselves “anti-woke” (cringe) I can see how they think some of this has gotten better. Black and white couples are spread across TV land and, less so, but society too. Pool and restaurant counter rules are better. While the left may not like them, the fact that Clarence and Ginny Thomas exist as a couple is a sign things have changed. For the better, if we just consider color. In the 50’s Clarence might have been found in a field with a bullet in his head.
The couple’s problems are many, but being a black and white mix is not one. As much as some may hold their nose, hate their politics, mad because Clarence won’t recuse himself, the fact they so easily exist as a mixed color is a good sign society has changed for the better.
That doesn’t mean all racism has gone away. And “racist” is different than “racism.” Racism tends to be institutional. “Racist ” is individual. Anyone can be a racist: you think your race is superior, others are inferior. Having institutional power has nothing to do with it. Put George Wallace before he was shot on an island: no power… and I mean no power as person… he’s still would have been a racist. “Racism” can be exist when there’s no intent and someone may not be a racist. A black person is reported to be lurking around a house, the police arrive and ASSUME the house is not his because the neighbor who called it in should have known. Conflict occurs. It’s part of the system and societal assumptions. Institutional racism, not necessarily a racist.
Luckily the black professor trying to enter his own house lived to meet in a beer summit with his antagonist at the White House.
Remember Aunt Jemima? A classic case of blaming the left for a name change. But the COMPANY decided to change the image. I thought it a mistake: all kinds of wonderful stories could have been spun about the new Aunt Jemima. Simply because a fictional person comes from such origins doesn’t mean she has to stay there. She could have been part of the underground railroad, helping to free slaves. She could have been an advocate for equality. Instead the company decided to do the easy thing and get rid of the image.
A pitiful, sad failure of imagination. If anything, rather than some “culture war” item, it’s more like a sign of the weakness of corporate imagination.
But, of course, self proclaimed culture warriors would have hated that because it actually teaches black history. Just like they loathe the 1619 Project, which is ACTUAL history. This is a case covered by so many memes: if doesn’t make you uncomfortable it’s probably not history. Hey, if we want to have a civil discussion in classrooms about what slaves blacks may have held, sure! All of history should be on the agenda. Points and counter points can, and should, be brought up. Accusations left on the side.
There’s an idea! Hey, culture warriors, why don’t you join the conversation?
Instead we have, “If it makes you uncomfortable..” we can’t teach or talk about it.
Makes one realize if we’re making them that uncomfortable we are on the right track.
“Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.