See, Pamela Paul, “This 1991 Book Was Stunningly Prescient About Affirmative Action, New York Times, May 25, 2023
Thomas Chatterton Williams, “You Can’t Define Woke; The word is not a viable descriptor for anyone who is critical of the many serious excesses of the left yet remains invested in reaching beyond their own echo chamber, The Atlantic, March 17, 2023 (7:00 a.m. ET).
Thomas Chatterton Williams seems to have been reading my mind.
I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks about how the Democrats have been ceding the ground and issue to the Republicans by not criticizing some of the positions taken by leftist extremists who want to control speech, or cancel professors who express views they disagree with.
Where is the full-throated defense of freedom of speech one might expect to hear from liberal Democrats?
Are they afraid to criticize excesses by their own followers the same way Republicans are afraid to criticize the excesses of Donald Trump?
Is it simply fear of the Internet mob?
What the Democrats are losing is the support they might receive from Republicans or Independents if they made clear that most Democrats don’t agree with these extreme views, which are often lumped together as being “woke”.
Thomas Chatterton Williams points out that the term “woke” is now useless as a tool of argument or persuasion. He calls on us to be more precise in our arguments, which may help us all focus on the real issues.
The Spirit of Voltaire
For keen insights into the issues of race, racial identity, and identity politics, see,
1) Conor Friedersdorf, “Unraveling Race: Thomas Chatterton Williams wants to discard traditional racial categories, The Atlantin, November 5, 2019.
2) Christianna Silva, “Thomas Chatterton Williams On Debate, Criticism And The Letter In ‘Harper’s Magazine’,” All Things Considered, NPR, July 11, 2020 (5:14 PM ET).
Spirit of Voltaire