The Letter to the Editor that The World has not published
Socialism and Politically Correct and Woke…OH MY!
by jazc, wf, am, pn, and mf
Just like lions, and tigers, and bears in the Wizard of Oz, the terms socialism, politically correct and woke are used to conjure up images of things to be feared. This practice does not serve political discussion well.
“Socialism” can be defined and implemented in different ways involving various degrees of collective or government ownership. Some dangerously extreme, such as North Korea. Some not so threatening to many of us, such as cooperatives, unemployment insurance, Social Security, or Medicare.
The term, “politically correct,” on one hand is seen as an effort to be sensitive to those different, with different experiences than oneself, an effort reflecting good manners and even our nation’s Christian heritage.
Some, however, use the term to ridicule the idea that the words one uses can affect real change in behavior. That is a good point, but let us not get incapacitated by what might be thought of as impossible. Let’s aim to find ways to affect real change in uncharitable behavior by individuals, communities, and nations.
“Politically correct” is also used to condemn what some see as the left’s domination of higher education and the media. Let’s confront this fear with an expectation and a demand for professional standards in academia and journalism.
“Woke,” on one hand, also seems to be a good thing: the ability to see what we may have not seen before in history. For example, red-lining in the real estate business that kept minorities from building equity and generational wealth. Under-funded schools in minority neighborhoods that hampered educational and professional achievements. Labor unions which prevented minority workers from joining and enjoying higher wages and other benefits.
“Woke,” however, is being reinvented to denote something negative. Critics of “woke” feel themselves as victims, being cancelled, banished, blacklisted, and hated. Much to the contrary, let’s see the original intent of “woke” to loosen long-entrenched thoughts and practices of discrimination. This allows us the ability to employ the talents of all of us to make the United States and the world flourish.
Don’t let politicians take a simplistic, us v. them approach. Assure we all are allowed the resources and opportunities to develop the knowledge and needed skills to address the challenges of our world.