Wokeness and Its Not-at-all-racist Doctrines of Disempowerment

I recently got asked to comment privately about Thomas Sowell’s work and why his views about racism and personal responsibility are so anathema to Critical Race Theory. The short answer is, obviously, that not only does he disagree and not only is he at least significantly right about what he’s saying, he’s also putting responsibility on what Theory considers, in a not-at-all-racist way, to be a permanent victim class. That’s simply not allowed. Critical Race Theory ultimately seeks to “empower” blacks and (kind of) other “minoritized races” by forcing onto them and leveraging a perpetual victimhood status. Admittedly, this clearly has some short-term practical efficacy, though that comes at significant, if not Pyrrhic, costs.

This isn’t empowerment, though. It’s disempowerment, even if we discount the other costs of such a not-at-all-racist doctrine. It’s really important to understand that the Woke movement is significantly about deferring responsibility from groups it defines as “victims of systemic oppression,” which it, in turn, defines as ordinary and all-but-permanent states of affairs that are woven into the very fabric of society. That’s one of the main points of the whole Woke project: to make “it’s not our fault; nothing is” a motto for the “oppressed.” So when someone like Sowell tells people that there’s some issue with that inherently disabling perspective, or with the visibly and very discriminantly abusive “politically black culture” (“Blackness”) that has risen up around it, advocates of Theory and the grifters who can use the narrative of perpetual victimhood to their own advantage get really mad at him.

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