This piece from The Intercept is long, but take your time reading it. It’s nourishment. As Ramesh Ponnuru quipped, “I’m not going to read [the story] all at once. Some things have to be savored.” Indeed. We cover the ‘woke excess’ beat on a regular basis, both in this space and on the radio, because it matters. A relatively small, loud group of activists wields disproportionate control over our culture and free expression right now — and every scalp claimed, every unjust or undeserved ‘cancellation’ achieved, makes us all a little bit less free. This was our concern when Mary Katharine Ham and I wrote End of Discussion in 2015, and things have only devolved further in the ensuing years.
One of the interesting real-world lessons of wokeism is that some of the people most at risk of being pulled under by its insatiable practitioners are committed leftists themselves. They operate and marinate in this milieu. They legitimize its capricious whims through participation, indulgence and appeasement. In quite a few cases, those who are voluntarily or even enthusiastically steeped in this toxic stew are the ones who ultimately succumb to it. And what recourse do they have? They’ve effectively consented to the lunacy by being leftists and going along with the madness. Which is the jumping off point for the aforementioned story, in which ‘progressive’ activists complain about the stultifying and paralyzing influence of their own side’s rules vis-a-vis the work they’re attempting to accomplish. The opening anecdote comes from an abortion rights organization in the wake of George Floyd’s murder:
[The manager] talked about the role systemic racism plays in society and the ways that Guttmacher’s work could counter it. Staff suggestions, though, turned inward, Prism reported, “including loosening deadlines and implementing more proactive and explicit policies for leave without penalty.” Staffers suggested additional racial equity trainings, noting that a previous facilitator had said that the last round had not included sufficient time “to cover everything.” With no Black staff in the D.C. unit, it was suggested that “Guttmacher do something tangible for Black employees in other divisions.” … In the eyes of group leaders dealing with similar moments, staff were ignoring the mission and focusing only on themselves, using a moment of public awakening to smuggle through standard grievances cloaked in the language of social justice. Often, as was the case at Guttmacher, they played into the very dynamics they were fighting against, directing their complaints at leaders of color. Guttmacher was run at the time, and still is today, by an Afro Latina woman, Dr. Herminia Palacio. “The most zealous ones at my organization when it comes to race are white,” said one Black executive director at a different organization, asking for anonymity so as not to provoke a response from that staff.
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