A phrase that depicted solidarity with the victims of racial injustice has been rebranded by those who see it as a threatIn the rightwing culture war
A phrase that depicted solidarity with the victims of racial injustice has been rebranded by those who see it as a threat
In the rightwing culture war that has subsumed our politics, a handful of key words depict “the enemy”, all of them increasingly interchangeable: political correctness, identity politics, #MeToo, cancel culture, and above all, wokeness. (You can tell when this category of terms is being used to this effect when they slot neatly in the headline “Now ****** really has gone too far!”) Collectively, the words have come to pose a threat to readers, ready to be outraged by an unwelcome change to our politics and society, hiding under the guise of equality and justice.
The terms have been subject to a successful rebranding exercise that started on the right, but then leapfrogged into the mainstream. As notions that began as efforts to redress imbalances in society, challenge embedded power structures, and organise effectively against them, the terminology of equality has since been savaged. “Woke”, a call to stay alert to injustices in society, is now almost exclusively a slur, a sneer at someone’s over-worthy and counterproductive politics.