NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed linguist John McWhorter argues that an illiberal neoracism, disguised as antiracism, is hurting Black communities and weakening the American social fabric.
Americans of good will on both the left and the right are secretly asking themselves the same question: how has the conversation on race in America gone so crazy? We’re told to read books and listen to music by people of color but that wearing certain clothes is “appropriation.” We hear that being white automatically gives you privilege and that being Black makes you a victim. We want to speak up but fear we’ll be seen as unwoke, or worse, labeled a racist. According to John McWhorter, the problem is that a well-meaning but pernicious form of antiracism has become, not a progressive ideology, but a religion—and one that’s illogical, unreachable, and unintentionally neoracist.
In Woke Racism, McWhorter reveals the workings of this new religion, from the original sin of “white privilege” and the weaponization of cancel culture to ban heretics, to the evangelical fervor of the “woke mob.” He shows how this religion that claims to “dismantle racist structures” is actually harming his fellow Black Americans by infantilizing Black people, setting Black students up for failure, and passing policies that disproportionately damage Black communities. The new religion might be called “antiracism,” but it features a racial essentialism that’s barely distinguishable from racist arguments of the past.
Fortunately for Black America, and for all of us, it’s not too late to push back against woke racism. McWhorter shares scripts and encouragement with those trying to deprogram friends and family. And most importantly, he offers a roadmap to justice that actually will help, not hurt, Black America.
Contemporary anti-racism is a "religion in all but name" that indoctrinates Black people into believing they are "eternally victimized," according to this blunt and provocative takedown. Columbia University linguistics professor McWhorter (Nine Nasty Words), who is Black, contends that the anti-racism of the civil rights era and the 1970s and '80s has evolved into a militant "Third Wave" that condemns white people whether they're leaving Black neighborhoods ("white flight") or moving into them ("gentrification"), among other contradictions, and demands the "suspension of standards of achievement and conduct" for Blacks. Drawing an extended analogy to fundamentalist religion, McWhorter alleges that anti-racist advocates ("the Elect") believe in the "original sin" of white privilege, cherish "sermons" by Ta-Nehisi Coates and other members of the "clergy," and ban "heretics" for being insufficiently anti-racist. He traces the roots of this thinking to critical race theory and contends that it ignores the considerable progress America has made against racism, prioritizes "performance art" over actual change, and "forbids us non-whites from being individual selves." McWhorter scores many rhetorical points, but he exaggerates the political and cultural power of anti-racism and misrepresents counterarguments, alleging, for instance, that anti-racists insist "bigotry is the only possible reason" Black boys are disproportionately suspended and expelled from public schools. Still, this polished diatribe is sure to spark discussion.
You may be guilty of being a woke racist/elect or at least sharing some sentiments but after reading this book and being open to a new dialogue you will not.
Poorly argued rant
By coining his own term for the group he disparages and calling them a religion, he is in complete control of the narrative, even if his view of the pervasiveness of this is distorted by an addiction to social media.
Usefully informative as it is outstanding.