Why it’s time to take ‘wokeness’ seriously

Jul 30, 2020 by

by Mary Harrington, UnHerd:

“Wokeness is a religion”. How many times have we heard that recently? White officials washing the feet of Black Lives Matter protest leaders, kneeling groups reciting pledges to renounce their privilege, ritual chants, not to mention public punishment of heretics and a growing body of fiercely-defended and not particularly logical doctrine.

The comparison is always meant as a criticism. The people who wield it see the story of the West as one of Reason advancing inexorably against ignorance, superstition, repressive morality and hidebound tradition. In other words, against religion.

The secular rationalists who champion this view have been winning for some time. Church attendance is cratering; Christmas and Easter are mostly about shopping; Catholic-run healthcare providers in the US are dragged through the courts over the provision of contraception or transgender surgery. So ‘Wokeness is a religion’ is a secular rationalist’s ultimate dunk: from a perspective that’s been dominant for centuries, it amounts to saying woke beliefs belongs in the dustbin of history.

Wrong. Or at least, only half right. Wokeness is a religion, or at least a re-emergence of religious impulse. But this is not a bug, it’s a feature.

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