WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2023
Renounces past use of the N-word: Parker and Goodwin begin their report with a germ of a semi-valid point.
In print editions, their report appears on the front page of this morning's Washington Post. Within the sprawling online Washington Post, their report is quite hard to find.
The scribes begin with the germ of a valid complaint. They start with Ron DeSantis, then continue from there:
PARKER AND GOODWIN (2/22/23): Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a likely 2024 presidential candidate, used his January inaugural address to warn of “the woke mob” and its “woke ideology.”
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, recently released a statement blaming the military’s recruitment challenges on “the Left’s culture wars” and a “woke agenda.”
...Republicans have alighted on a strategy of decrying the dangers of “wokeism” and all things “woke”—catchall terms they have weaponized to include a host of liberal policies and positions they don’t like.
The concept has already enmeshed itself in the 2024 presidential race, with declared and potential Republican candidates deploying the phrase to attack what they view as wayward leftist ideology.
Republican politicians and voters alike have differing definitions of wokeism—and some struggle to define it at all.
The headline on the analysis piece helps define the reporters' claim:
Republicans use ‘wokeism’ to attack left—but struggle to define it
Is that true? Do major Republicans have a hard time defining such terms as "woke" and "wokeism?"
We'd have to say that the claim is less than completely convincing. In fairness, the reporters do manage to quote a bunch of Republicans denouncing "wokeness," "wokeism" and "woke agendas."
It's much less clear that major figures don't know how to define such terms—and rather quickly, the reporters stoop to the level of offering such tribal tapioca as this:
PARKER AND GOODWIN: “What we’re seeing is a kind of standard practice of conservatives and conservative reactions to Black political movements—to weaponize the words and concepts they’ve used to undermine efforts of social movements,” said Candis Watts Smith, an associate professor of political science at Duke University and co-author of “Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter.” “History shows that you can rally voters around issues of difference, issues that suggest that people are losing power, issues where their values are being challenged.”
Much like the “cancel” of “cancel culture,” “woke” is another word that originated in Black culture before being co-opted by White people. Some credit blues singer Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter for helping to popularize the term in his 1938 protest song, “The Scottsboro Boys,” in which he urges Black America to “stay woke” to social and political injustice as well as physical violence.
More recently, when conservatives began using “woke” in pejorative terms to undermine Black and liberal ideals, it was not an accidental choice, Smith said. “It’s important for us to remember that woke initially became a way to mean Black and to derisively refer to Blackness, and so to use this word that evokes Black folks or Blackness on other things kind of spills over,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a mistake.”
As it turns out, "woke" is just another word which has been "co-opted" by These White People Today! This is the kind of claim our tribunes are now prepared to recite as our tribe, and our struggling nation, slide toward the sea.
According to Professor Smith, "woke initially became a way to mean Black and to derisively refer to Blackness." Now, that derision has "spilled over," the professor says.
Truly, there's nothing our associate professors can say today that our journalists won't align with! Meanwhile, down in Florida, state senator Shevrin Jones—he's a good, decent person—has even taken to saying, to blue tribe acclaim, that "woke" is just "the new N-word."
They won't quote or repeat or affirm claims like that at the Washington Post! On "cable news," though, standards are different. Here is Jones, just last week, reporting this claim to Joy Reid:
JONES (2/15/23): I think we also got to be very clear that these words they're using—"woke," "indoctrination." And because they have dehumanized the word "woke," I have said that woke is the new N-word.
JONES: Because how they want us to look at it.
Senator Jones is a good, decent person. He's also fully sincere.
That said, the devolving Post is still too upscale to run with claims like that. The Post restricts itself to echoing the softer version of such emerging tribal scripts.
If a person says that someone is "woke," is that person simply using a new form of the N-word? Our tribe is now inventing such claims, in a way which starts to rival the conduct of red tribe leaders.
BREAKING! The use of language evolves over time, and the use and meaning of the term "woke" have changed since the days when Leadbelly used it.
No, Virginia (and also, goodnight, Irene)! Wokeism isn't that hard to define, and it isn't a new version of the N-word. We know that because Parker and Goodwin eventually mentioned this:
PARKER AND GOODWIN: Some political operatives are skeptical that anti-wokeism will ultimately prove a successful messaging strategy for Republicans. James Carville, a longtime Democratic strategist, generated buzz early in Biden’s first year when, in an interview with Vox, he criticized Democrats for their “faculty lounge” politics and declared, “Wokeness is a problem, and we all know it.”
Now, however, he said an interview that “I don’t use the w-word anymore” — because it originated with Black Americans “and then overeducated White people ruined the word.”
Carville is one of the most important Democratic strategists of the modern era. As recently as 2021, he was declaring that “Wokeness is a problem [for Democrats], and we all know it.”
No, he wasn't subbing in for the N-word. Also, everyone knew what types of behaviors and policies he was talking about.
Now, though, Carville has canceled the concept of "woke!" Even the Ragin' Cajun has decided to defer to new tribal talking points. He's now blaming this whole thing on These Overeducated White People Today.
Will anti-wokeism prove to be a successful strategy for Republican pols? We have no idea.
That said, everyone knows what people mean when they talk about "woke" behaviors. Whatever the term may have meant to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, today the term is a reference to certain types of overwrought and / or denunciatory conduct, generally in the realms of gender and race.
Whatever your ultimate judgments might be, complaints about "woke" behavior do not automatically come straight outta Crazyland. Also, when Professor McWhorter complains about woke behavior, he isn't slickly employing an alternate form of the N-word.
Everyone knew what Carville meant when he criticized his party's growing "wokeness." Some people agreed with his critique, other people didn't—but that all happened as recently as the year 2021!
By now, the die has been recast, and "woke" is even being peddled as the new N-word. Its current usage isn't what Leadbelly meant by the term, and the Washington Post is willing to go along with such silly critiques.
We call them racists, they call us woke. This is the way a nation behaves when it's preparing for war.
Their tribe increasingly runs on Crazy. Has our tribe decided to run on Basically Just Kinda Dumb?