September 16, 2022 by Michael Weymouth
It appears that the word woke has become a pejorative in our national dialogue. According to the dictionary woke means “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.” When I first heard the word used, I said to myself, “Great, I’m proud to be woke and I’m proud that my family and friends are all woke; we are a community of wokeness.”
Woke also includes LGBTQ and transgender issues, and in particular to accept that it’s okay if these subjects are part of educational curricula. The inclusion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) being a prime example.
But it turns out that being woke is a bad thing if you listen to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who claims “In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory. We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other. Finally, we must protect Florida workers against the hostile work environment that is created when large corporations force their employees to endure CRT-inspired ‘training’ and indoctrination.”
Critics also claim that CRT’s goal is to make white students feel guilty about our past, which is pure political hog wash meant to incite fear among ill-informed voters.
The conservative Heritage Foundation even attributes a host of recent events to CRT including the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ clubs in schools, diversity training in federal agencies and organizations, California’s recent ethnic studies model curriculum and the free-speech debate on college campuses. The organization claims, “When followed to its logical conclusion, CRT is destructive and rejects the fundamental ideas on which our constitutional republic is based.”
To the woke among us, CRT is exactly in line with what our constitutional republic is all about: the open discussion about our national strengths and weaknesses. Plus cutting CRT from a high school curriculum only gives students a whitewashed version of American history. As Tennessee English teacher Mike Stein claims, “History teachers can not adequately teach about the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement. English teachers will have to avoid teaching almost any text by an African American author because many of them mention racism to various extents.”
Los Angeles Times journalist Samuel Freedman writes, “The censorship is coming so fast that it’s nearly impossible to keep track. Between last July 21 and March 31, PEN America counted 1,586 banned books in schools serving about 2 million students. Overwhelmingly, the banned books featured nonwhite protagonists, dealt with racism, or addressed the LGBTQ experience.”
It’s all a sad commentary on where American education is being taken by those who fan the flames of division in our country.
We’ve seen this all before going as far back as pre-Civil War days when Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned across the country because it aroused heated debates about slavery. Sometimes it takes heated debates to fix things that are wrong with our country, so history teaches us.
Winston Churchill had it right when he paraphrased Santayana, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” A woke statement if ever there was one.
1 thought on “OPINION: Woke And Proud Of It”
Googled “Woke and proud of it” this morning, just so I could read your short article. Thank you for articulating, albeit very shortly and succinctly, my feelings on what’s going on in this country. I used to write about such topics but find it frustrating.