Woke culture is actively destroying the dream that civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in his famous “I have a dream” speech, forcing people back into a society where they are not only defined primarily by skin color but assigned value based on it as well.
The values have changed in a culture that now advocates for “antiracism” — defined by active steps taken to effectively unmake the racist institutions by implementing a new discrimination that favors those who were previously the victims of discrimination in order to artificially elevate them and even the score.
President Joe Biden’s administration is already hard at work on those efforts — as he said during his Monday speech honoring Dr. King — particularly with regard to housing.
Biden began by saying that simply on the basis of who lived in the homes, houses in predominantly white neighborhoods had higher real estate values than houses in predominantly black neighborhoods — and his administration planned to correct that.
“We’re going to aggressively, aggressively combat racial discrimination in housing including working to restore the rule that says if a community gets a federal housing aid, it’s not enough just to say it won’t discriminate. It has to be meaningful, affirmative steps to overcome patterns of segregation,” Biden said. “And give everybody a fair shot that lives there.”
So how does woke culture — and Biden’s agenda — line up with the dream Dr. King outlined so many years ago?
“So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” Dr. King said from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.
But Critical Race Theory turns those “self-evident” truths on their heads, teaching even young children that being born with a certain skin color conveys a certain level of “privilege.” Born into the original sin of racism based on nothing deeper than their skin color, white children are expected to strive to acknowledge their “privilege” and atone for it in educational and social situations.
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood,” King continued.
But college campuses across the United States have embraced the move to adopt “safe spaces” for people of color — where white people are not allowed — that look suspiciously like little more than segregation under a new name.
“People of color need their own spaces. Black people need their own spaces,” Kelsey Blackwell wrote in a 2018 piece published on the official website of Cambridge, Massachusetts. “We need spaces where we can be our authentic selves without white people’s judgment and insecurity muzzling that expression. We need spaces where we can simply be—where we can get off the treadmill of making white people comfortable and finally realize just how tired we are.”
King’s speech continues: “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”
But anti-racism advocates like Dr. Ibram X. Kendi call for a different nation — one that uses past instances of discrimination to intentionally introduce a “new discrimination” in an effort to settle the score.
Kendi writes that it’s not the discrimination itself that is racist — but rather the intent behind the discrimination that can be problematic. But if the goal is to restore “equity,” he argues, then the discrimination is not only “antiracist” but a laudable pursuit.
“If discrimination is creating equity [minority wealth], then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist … The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
There are some who have pushed back against woke culture, however, like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Rice explained during a 2021 appearance on ABC’s midday talk show “The View” that she believed it was possible to teach young black students that they were valuable and valued – and capable of accomplishing anything they were willing to work for — without teaching them that they must drag other students down in order to do so.
Explaining that she herself had grown up in Birmingham, Alabama, when the south was still segregated — and she spent much of her childhood unable to go out to dinner or a movie with her parents — Rice said that what her parents had taught her had always stuck with her.
“My parents never thought I was going to grow up in a world without prejudice, but they also told me, ‘That’s somebody else’s problem, not yours. You’re going to overcome it, and you are going to be anything you want to be.’ And that’s the message that I think we ought to be sending to kids,” she said.
She went on to add that her main concern with academic exercises like Critical Race Theory was that it attempted to solve the problem of racism by simply finding a place to lay blame for it.
“One of the worries that I have about the way that we’re talking about race is that it either seems so big that somehow white people now have to feel guilty for everything that happened in the past. I don’t think that’s very productive,” she said. “Or black people have to feel disempowered by race. I would like black kids to be completely empowered, to know that they are beautiful in their blackness, but in order to do that, I don’t have to make white kids feel bad for being white.”
Rice argued that the conversation about race — aided by CRT and other social drivers — had been steered in the “wrong direction,” away from the equality that activists like King had dreamed of.
“Let Freedom ring,” King concluded his iconic speech. “And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”