Origins of the woke

Interesting article Thoughts on the origins of wokeness

Another perspective is that woke-ism isn’t new. It’s just that we have a new name for it. In the past it would have been called ‘anti racism’, ‘civil rights’ or something like that. In an earlier article I give a bunch of examples of past incidents which would be considered woke today, decades before it became part of modern parlance.

Here are two articles from the 1970s that are highly critical of IQ testing, which if not for the dates conceivably could have been published today:

Behind the Call for Test Reform and Abolition of the IQ, 1976

IQ tests as instruments of oppression, 1973

A case could be made that it used to be even worse back then, because the woke had more policy successes. Nowadays the best they can do is wave BLM or Ukraine flags or chant abortion slogans for a weekend, or change their social media avatars. The woke are more successful at social media censorship and academia compared to policy, but even then it’s hard to make generalizations.

Since late June Jordan Peterson has been blocked from using twitter for refusing to delete a tweet in which he ‘misgendered’ Elliot Page, yet Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and others who are critical of wokeness have been mostly unscathed. Why Twitter singled out Dr. Peterson? Who knows. I see tweets that are much worse than what Dr. Peterson wrote yet no action taken. Obviously, Dr. Peterson is a bigger name, but it shows also that the left faces a balancing act of censoring too much or not enough.

Will the problem get worse? Probably. Podcasters and Elon Musk do not have legislative power, and the latter backed out of buying Twitter, which would have dealt a major blow to the left. Politicians have power but cannot do much to stop social media censorship or campus indoctrination. No matter how tough Republicans talk about defunding colleges or how viral Bari Weiss articles are, nothing seems to change.

1 comment

  1. Noah Smith has certainly never lived around large numbers of blacks. Ergo, he has no idea what he’s talking about. Sounds more like a desperate attempt to cope with an intractable problem. Very feminine too. Lot’s of hand-wringing.

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