My school district recently passed an ordinance setting out when it is-and isn’t appropriate to summon a police officer to a school. Part of this was establishing that we do not want school resource officers posted in our schools. Because too often it’s a Black or Brown kid who ends up facing a person with a uniform and a gun. But the struggle is how to persuade those who resisted this ordinance. Those who see it as anti-cop. It’s not “anti-cop.” It’s pro-freedom and pro-equal-treatment-under-the-law, and pro-fairness and pro-humanity.

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I think about this a lot, because my own "waking" was a process that required patience and compassion from lots of people who were already woke. It's hardly fair to expect patience and compassion from folks who have been historically marginalized by people like me, as you point out, but it's hard to see how change happens without it.

I wrote a little about my own journey and process here: https://armchairpundit.substack.com/p/losing-my-religion-pride-edition

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One of the problems with wokeness is that it does not allow for a gray area. Those who don’t prescribe to some or all aspects of the debated philosophies or politics feel unheard and belittled. Including them in an honest dialog and allowing them time to truly understand the under-privileged should help. Painting them all with a broad brush is insulting and demeaning.

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“the fundamental change also consists of an awakening, but from another type of sleep, or better [yet], from a nightmare—the sleep of inhumanity. It is the awakening to the reality of an oppressed and subjugated world, a world whose liberation is the basic task of every human being, so that in this way human beings may finally come to be human.” -Fr Jon Sobrino SJ (The Principle of Mercy)

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Somewhere I read or heard that "woke" goes back to the early 1900's. It was the word the black community used to tell others to watch their backs, be on guard.

I wonder if this is true? If so, why on earth would anyone disparage such an important word in our nations history?

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Much of the fear and hatred stem from economic anxieties and the sense of one’s worthiness of assistance and others unworthiness b/c (fill in the blank). Stephanie Kelton has opened my geopolitical eyes through understanding sovereign fiat currency to a world of shared fairness. I continue to recommend her book, The Deficit Myth, to everyone as it unveils how our economy actually works and the foundational role the US Federal government holds to fuel/fund/stimulate/etc the economy...definitely not markets, Wall Street or all of us paying our taxes (although these do play in the system just not foundational). Get the book or the audible and become an advocate or present a counter opinion. Great speech Anand!

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Thanks for this bit of wisdom. We need to be patient and respectful of those who aren't

singing from our hymnal. As a World War I popular song had it, "Let's All be Americans Now."

(One couplet: "England or France may have your sympathy/ but you'll agree" . . . .)

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YES! Say it louder for the people at the back ✊

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As always, Anand, you state the problem so clearly. Thank you.

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It’s called compassion … which comes from empathy … which is the ability to feel and know what it is like to walk a while in the “other’s” shoes. In truth there are no ‘others’ for we are fractals of the Oneness that is LOVE/LIGHT and we create the new world of our dreams together or not at all. Yet I/we do this ALONE-together starting with and within ourselves. It’s a quantum BOTH/AND kind of thing. BEing the change one moment at a time, one choice at a time. As best I can. With patience and persistence, in infinite freedom, power, and joy. With blessings and with love to each and all🌺

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I just remembered. The song actually has this phrase as well: "England or France may have your sympathy--or Germany--but you'll agree . . . "and it goes on , "that now is the time/to fall in line. /

You would if you could/so be true to your vow./ Let's all be Americans now!"

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What clarifying prospective for reaching out to the "still weakening " it's not right vs. Wrong it's the realization we are a single species that either survive together or die together.

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Love your prose, and content, but poetry hovers and that is rare, and persuasive. I am still stuck with woke or asleep, as I am with populist or elitist. I am not sure that the intolerant and angry would qualify as woke but I confess, I never seem to encounter these types. Lucky I guess. Broad condemnation definitely seems a characteristic of culture, buried deep in Gallatians 1 8 and never shook off but like Left wingers with guns, I stop thinking them Left.

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One of those “resonances” that has occurred to me is that the white working class, plagued by drug addiction and family breakdown after only two generations of loss of economic opportunity and societal respect, might have an “aha” moment of empathy for the Black underclass.

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Hard to swallow a 2017 opinion piece as worth spending time with. So much that matters going on and arguing about the details of woke is mighty superficial.

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Hi Anand,

I came across your post via a cross-post on another Substack, and reading it has compelled me to pay for a one-month subscription so I can share a few thoughts.

First of all, I appreciate what I read as your call for tolerance when it comes to engaging those we disagree with. On that broad point, I agree wholeheartedly.

What I disagree with, however, is the implication that it is self-evident that "wokeness" is a net good, and that it is clearly the right/effective ideology to adopt moving forward for those interested in addressing social injustices.

Likewise, I find it difficult to accept your more explicit point that "wokeness is good" and those who consider themselves "woke"—for lack of a better word—"need a plan for the still-waking." Again, it implies that there are effectively only those on the obviously "good" side and those who haven't gotten there yet. This ignores years of extensive criticisms of wokeness that have come from people who have demonstrated a clear awareness of the issues while also opposing numerous specific "woke" approaches to solving them.

I thought Jonah Goldberg made this point in a fair and balanced way in a recent essay, linked below.

- Hitting Rewind on ‘Woke’: https://thedispatch.com/newsletter/gfile/hitting-rewind-on-woke/

Unsurprisingly, since 2017, the more extreme among the "anti-woke" have increasingly been pushing back hard against the more excessive and misguided—arguably, of course—woke ideas. That is unfortunate and disheartening. But it was also exactly what was predicted at least as early as 2017, when many critics of wokeness—and here I'm not talking about conservatives; I'm talking about left-wing critics—were already pointing out the ways in which what they saw as excessive and misguided ideas were destined to invite backlash and harm more than help the movement's stated goals

As I see it, that brings us to today, where many people don't agree with or want to be associated with either extreme, and where the definition of "wokeness" has little resemblance to the way it actually plays out in reality. Proponents, meanwhile, hold up that definition as irrefutable proof that "wokeness is good," while hard-line detractors point to its real-world excesses as proof that it must be stopped. There are, however, many, many (many) far more nuanced and complex views in-between that both of these loud and illiberal extremes ignore. I genuinely hope that the current confusion about what woke and wokeness even mean in 2023, which penetrated the mainstream this past week in ways that I hadn't seen before, will lead us to have better conversations about those nuances and complexities. Because the woke/good vs. anti-woke/bad narrative has run its course.

With all of that said, I'm going to leave a few more links here in the hope that you and your readers will be willing to read and explore some views that move beyond the "wokeness is good/bad" binary. And I say that, as with everything I wrote before this, with all due respect. Sincerely.

The two pieces below, from just the past few days, are on what woke even means. Personally, I'd gladly use another, better word. If you have any suggestions on that front, please let me know.

- You Can’t Define Woke: https://archive.is/nalv5

- Of Course You Know What "Woke" Means: https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/of-course-you-know-what-woke-means

And here are a few more links from roughly the past month or two. They each, in their own way, offer a critical view of wokeness that is not, in my opinion, rooted in an unawareness of—or disregard for—social injustices.

- Searching for Character in Identity: https://lawliberty.org/searching-for-character-in-identity/

- The Moral Case Against Equity Language: https://archive.ph/8TnxC

- The Futility of Trigger Warnings: https://banished.substack.com/p/the-futility-of-trigger-warnings

- A Black Professor Trapped in Anti-Racist Hell: https://compactmag.com/article/a-black-professor-trapped-in-anti-racist-hell

- Not Every Atrocity Is About White Supremacy: https://archive.ph/izSUn

- Race and Wokeness in America with Robert Wright & Coleman Hughes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY85CvV39eg

- Diagnosing Ideological Medicine: https://lawliberty.org/forum/diagnosing-ideological-medicine/

- Affirmation Generation: https://lisaselindavis.substack.com/p/you-can-watch-affirmation-generation

- Wokeness Is Here To Stay: https://compactmag.com/article/wokeness-is-here-to-stay

Lastly, here are a few things that I wrote about wokeness recently. The first piece, which was meant as an assessment of where we stand with wokeness today in relation to 2017, when I first started to push back against some aspects of it, was admittedly a bit of a premature publish on my part. I address that in the second piece, in which I try to break down what wokeness means to me, and therefore, what it is that I'm criticizing. As I note in it, I plan to write more on the topic in the future. So if my perspective seems at all worth entertaining, then I humbly invite you to subscribe and follow along.

- Wokeness in 2023: https://symbolsandrituals.substack.com/p/wokeness-in-2023

- An Addendum to 'Wokeness in 2023': https://symbolsandrituals.substack.com/p/an-addendum-to-wokeness-in-2023

Thanks for your time. Apologies for taking so much of it.

Peace and love,


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