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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Yes, there is a third way of “Awakening”




We liberals usually don’t get angry easily. But the endless debate about the so-called “awakening” of right-wingers has done it for me. In this quarrel between the right wing and various identity movements, almost no liberals were heard. We need to yell on both sides: “You are all wrong. Listen to us!”

The arousal debate is stupid, partly because no one agrees with the meaning of the arousal. The progressive American writer James McCauley defined it as “increased awareness of racial differences and social justice.” The conservative British political scientist Matthew Goodwin called it “the sanctification of ethnic, sexual and gender minorities.”Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Alexander Ocasio-Cortez tweeted“‘Wake up’ is a term now used by experts as a derogatory euphemism for civil rights and justice.”

The second problem is that, like many global debates, the debate takes place in the United States. Like all contemporary American debates, it has split into two aspects. On the broader American battlefield, the liberals have chosen our camp. We know where we stand between social justice and today’s Republican Party. In that battle, bilateralism had no place.

But when we are sober, liberals do have our own position-call it the “third way.” We sometimes agree with social justice fighters, and sometimes we agree with true conservatives. (Only the Trump-style white identity movement is wrong in all respects.)

As a liberal, I support the so-called “awakening”, they attack discriminatory structures. White men who manage today’s institutions need to realize that they may just get there because they are white. In a recent Zoom chat, two successful white male friends lashed out at me about the issue of awakening. Some people complained that women and blacks in his profession now expect easy promotion, and he has been working hard since the boarding school. In his mind, he is a victim. I think he needs to be aware of how power works. Others deserve the opportunity now.

Social activists are right to ensure that women and minorities are heard. They are right. Older white men often cry and “wake up” to protect their status. It is also correct to want to overthrow the racist statue. That is not “erasing history”. This is about changing the people we respect.

When the awakeners are accused of spreading “cancellation culture,” they are right to refute that right-wingers do the same.A school district in Kansas 29 books deleted from the library, The authors include Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison. A school board in Virginia ordered the library to delete—that is, cancel—“pornographic” content, while two board members advocated the burning of books (The order was later revoked After extensive criticism).

These are not isolated incidents, nor are they “anecdotes” that mislead the debate on Awakening. From January to September, 24 U.S. legislatures introduced bills to limit the subjects that educational institutions can teach, including racism, gender, and U.S. history. Non-profit organization PEN America says.

But when conservatives complained that certain social justice fighters suppressed speech, I stood with them. No one should get “emotional security” from arguments they don’t like. All you get is to prevent direct hate speech and threats of violence.

Conservatives are correct that white people should be heard like everyone else. The white working class may be discriminated against because of geography, accent, clothing, and religion. This is right. They have the right to dismiss complaints about “cultural misappropriation”. A white singer is free to be inspired by African music, or a man can write about a woman. Conservatives are right, no profession should end with unproven accusations. Even statues should be removed by elected bodies, not by protesters.

A basic liberal position is that we understand people as individual thinkers, not just members of identity groups. No one will be forced to follow the route passed down by the “leader” of the so-called “community” determined by their genes because of their origin. When white progressives explain what the “African-African community” believes in, I want to ask, “Are you in the white community? If not, why not let blacks also separate from their race?”

So we liberals should subvert the debate and offend everyone else. Of course, in Britain, we may be the silent majority. We should be the noisy majority.

Our goal should be to marginalize the entire debate. Awakening should not be the culture war of our time. It has not shaped the lives of most people. In Europe, outside of some British campuses, it is even hard to find. We should worry more about discriminatory economic and social structures rather than bad words.It’s ridiculous that the United States regulates anti-racist speech in some campuses and media while tolerating Apartheid in daily life.

Erik Bleich of Middlebury College in Vermont says that people need to be able to keep two simple ideas in their heads: Free speech is essential. It is also important to understand that certain people have historical disadvantages because of their identities. It’s really not that complicated.

Follow Simon on Twitter @KuperSimon And email him simon.kuper@ft.com

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