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Thought Police: Are we allowed to query 'woke'?

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Andy B:

--- Quote from: Colin YNWA on 24 September, 2020, 08:18:15 PM ---Specifically on woke I just find it weird its used as a negative.

--- End quote ---

I think there’s been an evolution here. When I first started noticing the term, it was applied to people who adopted extreme positions, to whom more or less everything involving minorities is ‘troubling’ or ‘problematic’. Only black writers should write black characters, only gay actors should play gay characters, wearing a kimono is ‘cultural appropriation’: that sort of thing. Such people were perceived by some as primarily interested in demonstrating to the world how much more enlightened and unprejudiced they were than you, over actually caring about true equality. So, “woke” was used as a negative, to describe an allegedly attention-seeking person who patronizes minorities.

Trouble is, it was then jumped on by the right as a great word to use to disparage any decent opinion, and that’s where we are today.

As a general rule, if somebody nowadays complains that something is “woke”, I feel I can safely ignore them.

Andy B:

--- Quote from: Andy B on 25 September, 2020, 04:23:20 AM ---Trouble is, it was then jumped on by the right as a great word to use to disparage any decent opinion, and that’s where we are today.

--- End quote ---

Thinking about it, this is similar to what happened to “politically correct”. Correct is a good thing to be! But now tr*mp can boast to his cult that he isn’t politically correct, and get a round of baying applause: it’s an easy way for him to say “it’s OK to be racist again!”, without actually saying it.

For this and for ‘woke’, I can’t help blaming the people who go too far in their enthusiasm to denounce pretty much everything as offensive: they give the Right a stick to beat us with, and, by looking ridiculous to normal people, devalue all criticism of actual racists, homophobes, transphobes and so on, giving them a free pass.

Jim_Campbell:

--- Quote from: Andy B on 25 September, 2020, 05:11:56 AM ---For this and for ‘woke’, I can’t help blaming the people who go too far in their enthusiasm to denounce pretty much everything as offensive

--- End quote ---

The problem with that is that it's a very moveable line. There are plenty of people who think complaining about misgendering a trans person is "being too sensitive".

I mean, you could draw the line as being: when the person being offended has the 'right' to be offended then it's OK for them to say something (ie: it's gay person objecting to a derogatory term for gay people or it's a transgender person objecting to being misgendered) but I've never met one trans person who thinks misgendering is OK — and I've done it. Unintentionally, but I still did it.* Do I, as a white man, have to sit quiet while racists spout off because only people of colour have the right to be offended by it? I'd argue not.

So, yeah. No easy answers. But, honestly, if it's a line between offending people and not offending people then I don't really have a problem with erring on the side of not offending people. The key distinction here (and I'm sort of fumbling towards a conclusion as I go along, so forgive the rambling post) is between what people are and what they do. Some trans people, gay people, people of colour, are shitheads — white men don't have an absolute monopoly on that. And it's fine to tell them they're shitheads if they're being shitheads… but they're not shitheads because they're gay/trans/POC, they're just shitheads irrespective of that.

I have no idea if any of that makes a lick of sense.

*It's OK for this to be a process. I struggled with the whole transgender thing for a long time, partly because it's something so unaligned with my own experiences that I found it difficult to relate, and partly because the first transgender person I had more than passing contact with was a childhood friend who I'd known as male for thirty-plus years… and it's really difficult to make that adjustment in your own head, but, eventually, I realised that just because it's difficult, doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do better. My problem, not theirs.

Barrington Boots:
Some really good points made here, this is something I've been thinking about a fair bit.

I'm pretty sure the term itself originated in the US, as I can remember it being used there a while before I heard it being thrown around in the UK, to refer to being aware of issues with racial justice. I'm not sure if it's now morphed in the same way over there as it's generally used in the UK as a general term of derogative sneeriness for left-wing / liberal / social awareness / PC by the Daily Mail and it's ilk.

A bit like the term 'SJW' I'm appalled that a deroagtory term exists for someone who'd express what I consider to be decent opions like a desire for equality. Who on earth thinks that being pro-social justice is a bad thing? That's basically setting yourself up as saying "I hate social justice and love inequality". It reminds me of a picture I saw of a person with a sign saying 'I'm Anti-Antifa'. There's a quicker way to make that statement...
At the root though I think it's just an indicator of someone being scared of a change of status quo. People like to subsconsciously rewrite the narrative to always protray themselves as the good guy - I know someone who never gives money to the homeless, for example, because he thinks they've all got secret houses and stashes of weath gained from duping unwitting members of the public. He can't have a narrative where he is witholding money from people who are literally dying in gutters, so instead now he's the good and clever one because he's avoiding their evil and cunning tricks. We're living in a time of great social upheaval and a lot of ideas for people like this guy are being challenged, and they don't want to be the ones in the wrong so it must be us lefties with our 'woke' agenda. I really don't understand why people would complain about such stuff like a dance routine highlighting racial injustice, or a public figure urging us all to be more compassionate, or poor children not starving to death, but if I've learned one thing in my life it's that I really don't understand people at all.

What hasn't helped, just IMO, is that this upswell of desire for social change has seen a lot of corporate gestures and box ticking that dilutes the issues at hand somewhat and makes it easier for serious problems to be lumped in with small ones as PC nonsense by people. For example: I read that Aliens now carries a warning because Jeanette Goldstein portrays a hispanic character when she herself isn't hispanic (and had to apply skin bronzer for the part). My first reaction was that that was over the top. But you have to check yourself and realise that as a white middle class male this wasn't done for me - that I wasn't the one with the potential to be offended here. It's not hurting me, and if it's helping redress the hurt that someone else has been enduring then I'm for it. Miss that step though and suddenly something like BLM suddenly looks like a 1984 style movement, with a leftie Big Brother banning and changing all the stuff you like and policing what you can say and think.

Barrington Boots:

--- Quote from: Jim_Campbell on 25 September, 2020, 09:49:08 AM ---*It's OK for this to be a process. I struggled with the whole transgender thing for a long time, partly because it's something so unaligned with my own experiences that I found it difficult to relate, and partly because the first transgender person I had more than passing contact with was a childhood friend who I'd known as male for thirty-plus years… and it's really difficult to make that adjustment in your own head, but, eventually, I realised that just because it's difficult, doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do better. My problem, not theirs.

--- End quote ---

Wise words Jim and I really think this is the key, if everyone took this attitude then I suspect we'd be enduring a lot less negativity right now.

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