Flat White

What’s woke this weekend?

24 April 2021

4:16 PM

24 April 2021

4:16 PM

The woke love rules. They have lots of them. And they’re zealous in policing them. Oops… sorry, I obviously can’t use that word in the current climate. Superintending? Maybe not. Enforcing? Clearly not allowed. How about ‘encouraging those with privilege to de-centre themselves, do the work and commit to allyship with the woke’ i.e. telling you to sit, down, shut up and do as you’re told. Much better.  

They have rules across a range of categories, but by far their largest category is ‘rules for thee but not for me’, which have been on high rotation during the Covid pandemic. Remember California governor Gavin Newsome breaking his own Covid rules, not once, but twice? Or New York governor Andrew Cuomo organising queue-jumping testing for family, staff and friends? Or Dr Deborah Birx, then coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus response, travelling to visit family over Thanksgiving, while telling Americans to stay home?  

This week’s missive from the world of woke features some blackened pots and kettles, along with new woke rules for a social networking platform. 

Marxism matters 

When she’s not wearing her Black Lives Matter superhero cape, the organisation’s co-founder and avowed Marxist, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, is a capitalist collector of pricey real estate.  That’s some alter ego. 

The New York Post reported a number of her purchases including her most recent in a comfortable LA neighbourhood whose population is reportedly more than 98% white. So while black lives matter, she seemingly doesn’t want to actually live near them. 

Predictably the BLM organisation called the reporting “racist violence” that “continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists”. You know, the people she’s chosen to surround herself with.  

In an interview on Black News Tonight, host Marc Lamont Hill asked Cullors about the “potential contradiction between your expressed politics and your lived practice”. Her emotional response was a thing of true woke beauty: 

And, for so many black folks who are able to invest in themselves and their community, they choose to invest in their family, and that’s what I have chosen to do. I have a child, I have a brother that has severe mental illness who I take care of, I support my mother, and I support many other family members of mine. So, I see my money as not my own. I see it as my family’s money as well. 

That’s alright, then. 

The postscript to this story is also breathtaking. Facebook, that staunch defender of democracy and free speech, prevented anyone posting a link to the original story because it went against their community standards. 

And we all know what they are, don’t we? 

Do as I say, not as I do 

The contest for the upcoming election for New York City Mayor is the hottest race in town and may well have just become a little hotter for some candidates under the magnifying glass of election coverage.  

NYC has a number of specialized high schools that cater for academically and artistically gifted students. Selection is based on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). Other schools have stringent screening programs. 

Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, co-chair of the Mayor’s School Diversity Advisory Group, finally coughed up details about her school choices for her own children, after weeks of requests for the information. It turns out that Wiley’s two daughters attended a combination of public schools with strict screening procedures, Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted and Talented, and selective private schools.  

The reason that information might have stuck in her throat is that Wiley’s group recommended the abolition of screening programs and school choice because of ‘exclusionary’ admissions criteria that unfairly impact black and Hispanic (or Latinx, to use the woke lingo) students. Prepare yourself, they include:  

[S]tate test scores, course grades, interviews, behavior, attendance and punctuality, auditions and demonstrated interest.   

I thought criteria, as standards by which you judge or measure something, were by their nature exclusionary. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?  

The children of other anti-SHSAT mayoral candidates have also benefited from the system they decry: Scott Stringer’s children attend a public gifted and talented program in Manhattan, while the children of Dianne Morales, the most left-wing candidate in the race, attended selective schools. Fittingly, her stated view is that ‘any screenings are the antithesis of increasing access and improving equality for all’. 

Maybe they could all share the mayoralty. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel excluded. 

The racist Nextdoor 

We’ve all been there. That moment when you’re reviewing the Twitter post or Facebook message you’re about to send and you are suddenly seized by gut-wrenching doubt and guilt. Is this message racist? Might it be offensive to people of colour? How can I be sure? 

OK. End of dream sequence. When did anyone, ever, pause to review what they were about to post on Twitter?  

If you suffer from white guilt existential crises like these then perhaps you should think about giving Twitter and Facebook the flick and sign up for Nextdoor instead. Nextdoor is the social networking service that’s not trying to change the world, just the neighbourhood.  

In their quest to make Nextdoor ‘a platform where everyone belongs’ they announced this week that they were introducing a new feature; an anti-racism notification. It will identify certain verboten phrases (the only ones they mention are ‘all lives matter’ or ‘blue lives matter’ so there goes everyone belonging straight up) and prompt caring users to reconsider before posting.  

Cynics might think this move, which follows on from their 2019 Kindness Reminder feature, has been prompted by previous stories about the platform ‘racial profiling, and spreading COVID misinformation and conspiracy theories.  

But I’m not a cynic. I think it’s all about making the world a nicer place. Kowtowing to the woke mob from fear of losing users and missing out on advertising dollars has nothing to do with it.      

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