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  • Writer's pictureCofComCat

The weird, wayward woke worldview

Last week, we chatted with our friend Angelo about finding a balance between living the Christian faith and pursuing professional (career) excellence. Here is the episode if you haven't checked it out yet! What we didn’t chat about with Angelo but easily could have is the persistent problem in professional settings today with the ideology of diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”), which I like to style “DIE” 😊


In a prior blog entry, I discussed this pervasive ideology. This post is the second in a series addressing DIE and the related ideologies of wokeism and progressivism from a Christian perspective.


DIE is rampant in academia, business, government and culture at large. Especially in the Anglosphere. America leads the DIE charge. And what is fascinating is how the DIE ideology has blended with, become dependent on and is now almost inseparable from the “woke” worldview. Again, America leads the wokeism charge. From there it has metastasized throughout the western world.   


But what is wokeism and what does it mean to be “woke”? 


The best definition I’ve seen comes from Robert P. George, a longtime law professor at both Princeton University and Pepperdine University (who earned two degrees from Harvard and three degrees from Oxford): 


“The attitude of a person who regards his or her opinions as so obviously correct and so profoundly enlightened that they may not legitimately be doubted or challenged, and that only hate or bigotry can explain others’ holding different beliefs.” 


That’s spot on. I also like this one from an anonymous source: 


“Woke: A state of awareness only achieved by those dumb enough to find injustice in everything except their own behavior.” 


🤣 


And as explained by Amy Hamm: 


“[W]okeness is a race to the bottom of human dignity, potential and uniqueness. Wokeness has infiltrated every aspect of our society — from education to employment to sports. Yet it is women who suffer the most severe consequences. We are the ones who have lost our private spaces and sports categories. Our girls are expected to undress in change rooms with grown, intact males. Complaints not permitted. We’ve been accomplices in silencing ourselves, demonizing ourselves, and cheering on those who wish to refer to us by our body parts or functions.... There is a deep cruelty in radical progressiveness. To woke persons, others can only be saintly or evil — nothing in-between.”   


Now pair these explanations of wokeism with the pervasive anti-Christian DIE ideology and you have a real force against committed Christians in work, school, government and cultural settings. Not that this is the first force against committed Christians in those places, and it surely won’t be the last. Nonetheless, the hypocritical nonsense and the philosophical poverty of the woke DIE movement has not stopped it from becoming a steamrolling force which is making it difficult for committed Christians to engage in work and education without their values coming under assault (indeed, I personally resigned from longtime employment in 2023 for reasons directly related to this).   


In this blog post, I’m going to highlight (facetiously) one obvious example (among many) of the hypocrisy and logical incoherence of wokeism and its dumb cousin DIE…  


Many businesses, governments and universities now have diversity and inclusion task forces, employ Chief Diversity Officers, operate diversity departments (as if “diversity” is akin to finance, operations or marketing) and compel employees (sometimes with the threat of dismissal) to complete diversity training programs. This is a profound level of commitment to the DIE ideology and its propagation, and it costs profound amounts of money. Woke DIE departments and the woke DIE advocates who work in them often make their DIE commitments obvious when at a select time of year they have the organization display highly colorful logo variants, become extremely active on social media and spam the inboxes of employees and customers. Woke DIE-champions include Major League Baseball, General Motors, Bain & Company, Colliers, Deloitte, ADP, Robert Half, Thomson Reuters, etc.

  

A few months ago, I asked a simple question: how serious are these woke DIE advocates about inclusivity?  


I asked this question because September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States, during which America celebrates the contributions of Latinos/Hispanics to its history, culture and achievements. It has been a national celebration for more than 50 years. Nearly 70 million Americans (~20% of the population) are Latino/Hispanic, and the following is all true:  

  • Their poverty rate is nearly double that of white Americans;  

  • They make just 73 cents for every dollar earned by white Americans (and Latinas earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by white men);  

  • Their household wealth is just 15% that of white Americans;  

  • They’re half as likely as white Americans to graduate from college;   

  • Their unemployment rate exceeds the national average;   

  • They’re massively over-represented in low-paying jobs;  

  • They are 3X more likely than white Americans not to have health insurance; and  

  • On and on and on…  

  

Surely woke corporate America and American academia are “awake” to these data points and the issues underlying them? And thus in the name of DIE they surely want to promote fair treatment, participation and inclusion of the many millions of Hispanic/Latino Americans who are disadvantaged and sometimes unjustly discriminated against? And, assuming they do, what better time than National Hispanic Heritage Month?  


So I decided to pay close attention to the dozens of American businesses I’m a shareholder or customer of, the dozens of American universities I follow (they do, after all, perform research and I am, after all, both a university instructor and a graduate student in a university) and the many dozens of American businesses and universities I encounter on various social media platforms.  


What happened?  


I saw no social media messaging. I saw zero month-long logo changes. I didn’t receive one email (despite receiving many emails months earlier for a different month-long celebration).  


Literally nothing. 


Remember: National Hispanic Heritage Month is a 50+ year old national celebration in the United States and there are 70,000,000 Latinos/Hispanics in the United States. 


Am I blind? Would Chief Diversity Officers and woke DIE departments allow such a terrific opportunity to live the DIE ideology pass them by? The very definition of DIE seems to require at least token action from Chief Diversity Officers and DIE departments. 


But nothing


Now I don’t personally care that businesses and universities don’t plaster their social media (or spam their stakeholders) with “pro-Latino” messaging during this month. But for the woke DIE worldview to be internally consistent, woke DIE advocates must tell me I should care (especially as a white male) since they insist I should care (especially as a heterosexual Christian) about a specific celebration every June. In the spirit of diversity and inclusivity the woke DIE worldview insists upon, if I ought to fight for inclusion, acceptance and benefits to be equalized across forms of diversity within the realm of sexuality (which is, by the way, objectively unobservable) then certainly I ought to fight for it within the realms of culture, ethnicity and language (which are, by the way, objectively observable), no? 


And, indeed, while I’m not Latino/Hispanic myself, here are some facts about my life:  

  • I married a Latina;  

  • I have Latino family members in America; 

  • I actively advise and invest in Latino-founded American startups;  

  • I am uncle or godfather to Latinos from multiple Latino countries;  

  • I speak Spanish (badly);

  • I worship in a Spanish Catholic parish which is effectively entirely Latino; and

  • I just completed a reclusive spiritual retreat with the Catholic missionary organization Lazos de Amor Mariano where I was the lone gringo alongside ~60 Latinos.  


So you could say I love, am committed to and am invested in the wellbeing of Latinos. Here I am with some members of my wife’s family in Colombia (I’m the gringo in the back)...  


Family in Villavicencio, Colombia

My Colombian nephews, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, etc. are routinely referred to as “Mexicans” both at work and at school, which I find funny (as do they). But I’ve been told by multiple woke DIE advocates that such “identity errors” are exclusionary and thus I (and my loved ones) ought not to find them funny. I’ve even been told by woke DIE professionals that we should check with the Latinos if they identify as Latino before we seek to be inclusive of them on the basis of their “Latino-ness.” Dr. Matthew Petrusek (a specialist in philosophy, Christian theology, Christian ethics and social issues) explains that the DIE ideology:  


“[A]llows for and even encourages subjective self-identification with “intersecting” identity groups each claiming the mantle of oppression (e.g., combining racial, gender-identity, sexual, national origin, and religious identities into a new singular form of “diversity” that claims it has been / is oppressed).” 


Well if we can subjectively self-identify then since I married a Colombian in Colombia, frequently wear a Colombia football kit, eat Colombian meals in a Colombian home surrounded by Colombians, travel throughout Colombia constantly, speak the national language of Colombia, etc., surely even I can self-identify as Colombian and thus Latino, right? If not, why not? But I digress... 


So, buying into the woke DIE worldview effectively requires me to advocate for the “inclusion” of my Latino loved ones while:

  • first asking them if they identify as my Latino loved ones;  

  • ignoring how the Chief Diversity Officers and DIE departments telling me to do so ignore the most obvious chance to promote Latino “inclusion” themselves; and

  • also ignoring how my Latino loved ones do not even want me to advocate for their “inclusion” (least of all my wife, and you can ask her).  


But the woke DIE advocates say my Latino loved ones should want me to.


So, if the woke DIE experts know better than my Latino loved ones themselves know, can I invite one of them to come and explain to my Latina wife (in the company of her large Latino family, so they all benefit from the education) why they should care when they encounter “exclusion” of a Latino-specific racial or cultural or linguistic nature but less than they should care about “exclusion” of people based on (unobservable) sexual considerations and shouldn’t care whatsoever when “exclusion” is applied to the (also unobservable) moral teachings of their religion? All smiles awaiting this woke DIE education...  


Family in Villavicencio, Colombia by a pool

And what lessons should I expect to take from this woke DIE education? That I should apologize to my Latina wife as a privileged white male for not fighting for her Latina-oriented “inclusion” even though she doesn’t want me to? That she must care about her own Latina-oriented “inclusion” the woke DIE warriors tell her is so important even when the woke DIE warriors themselves ignore the most obvious opportunity to promote her Latina-oriented inclusion? That her “inclusion” on the basis of her (apparently self-identified) Latina-ness is important but obviously less important than including others on the basis of sexuality (because if she doesn’t then she is rightly excluded on the basis of her religion)? 


Crystal clear 🤣


I have yet to meet a woke DIE advocate who can untangle this simple logical test (among many): does “inclusion” entail inclusion of those who don’t care about inclusion? And if not, isn’t “inclusion” being exclusionary of those who don’t care about inclusion? And if so, isn’t “inclusion” actually exclusion?  


Woke DIE advocates cannot address questions like this without violating the laws of non-contradiction and/or the excluded middle or conceding woke DIE-ism is nonsense. 


So let me wrap up my facetious and scattered rambling succinctly...


The woke DIE worldview is self-refuting. It is beyond illogical. It is fallacious and poisonous. Saying so will not win me any popularity contests in our progressive woke secular culture, but I care not. As the brilliant British convert to Catholicism G. K. Chesterton once stated:


“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”


What is the alternative to the wayward woke worldview and its dumb DIE cousin? Perhaps a Catholic one: Dignity, Equality and Solidarity. At minimum, no committed Christian can promote woke DIE-ism. Consider thoughtfully what Bishop Robert Barron writes:


“[T]he tendency, so typical in woke circles, [is] to divide the world into the simplistic categories of oppressor and oppressed. The roots of this are in Marx and Nietzsche in the nineteenth century..., but it has spilled onto the streets largely through the ministrations of the contemporary professoriate in so many of our universities. On this reading, there are simply good guy oppressed people and bad guy oppressors, and once we have sorted everyone into one or the other category, our moral reflection is essentially done. So, whites, Westerners, men, straight people, and Christians are under suspicion, while people of color, those from the global East or global South, women, gays, and non-Christians are lionized. The motives of the first group are routinely questioned, while those of the second group are routinely praised; the first contingent is given the benefit of no doubt, and the second is given the benefit of every doubt.”


Like I said: fallacious and poisonous.


This week on the podcast, we are joined by our friend Nicole who is currently Executive Director of Canadian Physicians for Life. We discuss with her a topic that also will not win us any popularity contests in our progressive woke secular culture: the life-affirming position on issues such as abortion and euthanasia. We hope you’ll tune in!


God bless,


Travis


Family in Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia

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