Woke Racism

 Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America, by John McWhorter

I've been kind of following John McWhorter -- a linguist and professor at Columbia -- for a long time; he shows up in articles or podcasts about academic freedom/free speech fairly regularly.  He started a Substack, but was almost immediately taken on by the New York Times to write a column about language, so now he does that instead.  I also posted on one of his books a few years ago.

Well, McWhorter has been pretty vocal about his skepticism of some parts of the new anti-racism movement, especially as expressed by Ibram X. Kendi, Robin diAngelo, and Ta-Nehesi Coates.  In the summer of 2020, he felt that he needed to write his thoughts down -- indeed, that it was his duty as a Black man to do so.

McWhorter's thesis is that the more extreme tenets of anti-racism constitute something akin to a religion.  You're supposed to sign on to certain beliefs, including original sin, and not mention that many of them contradict one another.  And he thinks that this belief system is one that contains quite a bit of race essentialism and ideas that are just plain racist, and that injure Black people.

It's a very interesting read, and gives plenty to think about.  I like to see a lot of different viewpoints, so I try to read a variety, and I always find John McWhorter to be a good read.  

I actually read this back in May, and didn't get around to post about it until now, so this is not a summer book.


  1. It looks interesting, yes. I can see how extremist convictions in any movement can end up backfiring some of the very believes they defend.


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