I’m glad to be “woke”

It’s not just House Republicans, but Republican politicians everywhere that are scared of being “woke”. Admittedly, it’s hard to say what “woke” actually means to Republicans, but allowing kids to be “woke” greatly upsets them. It upsets them to the point where they are passing legislation and ordinances to not allow “woke” teaching because, well, freedom or something. Yeah, obviously that makes no sense.

Initially, it meant that you were sensitive to the real causes of racism. It meant acknowledging that predominantly White people did a lot of really bad things, such as condole slavery, lynch African Americans and other minorities, and that these things are bad and shouldn’t happen.

Now the “woke” label gets applied to pretty much anything spouted by a Fox News contributor. Its most recent manifestation are laws that target the LGBTQIA community, particularly the “T” (transgender) people. Republicans are all for parental rights except, of course, when it’s inconvenient. In some states parents can’t get their transgender kids treatment, such as hormone blocking pills. Actual sex reassignment surgery of teens was pretty rare even before this became an issue. Today, the state apparently knows better than dear mom and dad, who actually live with transgender children and know them best from an adult perspective. Anyhow, some of these laws are on the books; in other states laws are in the process of being pushed through conservative legislatures.

I have two friends with transgender children. To say the least, it has thrown a monkey wrench into their lives. At least in one case the teen in question lives in a predominantly liberal state, so treatment was possible. But even so it meant an inordinate amount of time, attention, money and sorting of feelings to get through the issue so their teen could emerge in a happier space where they could thrive and be mentally well. In the other case, the friend lives in Utah. The only reason his two kids got help at all was because they came out before the whole anti-woke nonsense became much of an issue. Even so there were enough roadblocks to make getting all the treatment needed impossible. As a result, their kids needlessly suffered and their politicians acted sadistically.

Republicans being Republicans, of course firebrands like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis went the extra mile, effectively policing public school teachers to make sure they don’t teach actual truth, like the cause of the Civil War was slavery. It’s a matter of public record and not worthy of serious dispute. A decent history teacher can point this out to students by, you know, pointing to examples like Alabama’s ordinance of secession which says, in part:

And as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slaveholding States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a provisional as well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States

Or one could cite Mississippi’s declaration:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

These are just a couple examples of actual history for which history teachers could be fired in Florida, and in some other anti-woke states. The truth cannot be acknowledged and the state must use its power to keep students ignorant. The effect of all this is to teach falsehoods, extend pointless suffering and white supremacy, and ensure future generations of colored citizens are oppressed while their betters (generally rich white people) control power.

It couldn’t all be more transparent and so obviously evil. Now if there are history or science teachers out there that are teaching actual falsehoods, they should be disciplined. Students need truth and the context of the complexity of the times so they can figure out how to grapple with reality as adults. You would think though that a democratic government would be all about inculcating factual knowledge and critical thinking. You would think that government advocating understanding and kindness among its people would be a no-brainer.

But, of course, you’d be wrong, at least in these conservative states. What conservatives really care about it keeping in place 19th (or earlier) century values that make absolutely no sense and only spread future ignorance and hate.

I like to think I am “woke”. Thank God I am, and I feel a mixture of sadness and contempt for those whose narrow-mindedness, bigotry and paranoia keep them doing their utmost to raise more of the same.

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