There are articles that are more complicated to write than others and this one is one of them. However, it is a subject that I really want to talk to you about.
Sometimes I have thoughts on topics and these are topics that I find very interesting, exciting and about which I want to share my thoughts with you. Even if sometimes the subject is complicated, which gives me apprehension but it in no way affects my desire to share this with you.
This article talks about a rather sensitive subject on the internet, it is the subject of “Woke culture”
Woke culture, what is it?
The term “Woke” in English means “awakened” so awake to what? Awakened in fact to the social inequalities that constitute our world:
- Race Inequalities;
- gender inequalities;
- Sexual Orientation Inequalities;
And the term “Woke”, it makes sense because I don’t know if you have already experienced it, but when we realize a systemic inequality (the patriarchal system for example), when we make the effort to realize this, here I am talking above all about certain men because generally, women have a little less need to make the effort than them, when we realize this, we realize that it is omnipresent. It’s in all our relationships, it’s in everything we see, everything we consume, everything we look at, etc…
It’s a bit like the red pill in Matrix.
You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
In Matrix Morpheus offers Neo two pills :
- A blue one that represents the reality he has always known that will remain his reality
- A red that represents the truth.
But by taking the red pill there is no going back. Well, the Woke culture is a bit like that. Hence a phrase that comes up often: “Check your privileges”
Be aware of your privileges because there are other individuals who do not have them and therefore you are not subject to the same inequalities.
A white, straight, cisgender man (meaning his felt gender is the same as he was assigned at birth) and well by that logic, he’s advantaged by what he’s wrong with. experience systemic racism, systemic sexism, homophobia or transphobia.
So there are a lot of white, straight, cisgender men who feel a little bit attacked when we say that. This is something I see daily on social media. And say:
“Hey wait, just because I’m a white, straight, cisgender male doesn’t mean I’m living my best life and everything is fine. »
So of course! That’s not the point, but, a white, straight, cisgender man can have a shitty life, but it won’t be the fault of the system that dwells on his skin color, on his gender or his sexual orientation.
Recently politicians wanted to talk about it. They fear “Wokism”. That’s a pretty pejorative way of talking about “Woke Culture” and given what I just said one might well wonder what exactly they fear.
In fact what they fear is rather and mainly the “Cancel culture”. It’s likened to “Woke culture”. Sometimes when I read articles or journalists talk about it, often they overlap.
La « Cancel culture » vous en avez surement déjà entendu parler. C’est le fait de « Cancel », d’annuler ou plutôt ici de Boycotter une personne ou une œuvre parce qu’il ou elle a fait quelque chose que l’on juge inacceptable.
As explained in the Contrapoint video:
Someone is suspected of doing something wrong => It becomes: Someone did something wrong.
Presumption of guilt when there is no evidence.
Someone did something wrong => It becomes: This person is a bad person.
Abstraction and what Contrapoint calls “essentialism”
The action of the person becomes his very essence.
In a society where justice is based on the presumption of innocence, it hinders this “Cancel culture”, but we can also understand that people who have difficulty finding spaces for expression, face one of the only things that they can do:
Boycott or incite to boycott.
Besides, when it’s things or people who are “cancel”, often it doesn’t go to court or if it goes to court, justice has shown itself in a certain way to be disappointing and when I speak of justice, I am also speaking of popular justice.
At the time I started writing this article there was a Facebook post about an actor who is taken into custody following a rape complaint and seeing the comments under the post, it totally echoes what I just said about “Cancel culture”:
Personally given his popularity, he doesn’t have the profile of a rapist, I find it hard to believe
Strangely when you are known it often happens
Another girl who wants to be known
Ladies, ladies, you have to stop, you can also earn money by working. I know it’s time to accuse known men
Yes it sucks, and when it comes to the fact that it’s systemic, the comments that I chose you were posted by both men and women.
Well you know what? You might think that’s my problem with the “Woke Culture”, but no, it’s not even that! (Well not only)
No, what I want to talk about is:
The Place of Suffering in Woke Culture.
As we have seen, the “woke culture”, in its very ideology, there is the desire to correct inequalities and give strength to minorities. In this “culture”, having the status of “victim”, victim of inequalities, victim of injustices, victim of oppressions of the system, means that you will be protected. We will give you the floor, we will fight for you. This protection is the very principle of the “Woke culture”.
One of the manifestations of all this is the “Trigger warning”. In front of certain posts or tweets, there is “TW” followed by a word:
- TW blood
- TW aggression
- TW rape
The principle is to warn people with traumas related to these themes from the start of the job or to allow them to use “blockers”. (A small program that hides for themselves messages containing certain words including “Trigger warning”.)
There is a real link between being a victim and the fact of suffering because suffering legitimizes the status of victim and the more you are a victim, the more, somewhere, you are legitimate in your fight.
Typically, anything I say there, woke-up, I’m not the most legitimate person to talk about, because I may be a deaf woman, but I’m perceived as hetero cisgender and white.
If one day I want to talk about racism or transphobia then according to this same logic I am illegitimate to talk about it because I am not a victim of it.
In this logic the more I suffer and the more I have my place in this “culture” there and we can even go further, the more I suffer and the more I am right or I am given reason. That’s why in “Woke Culture”, if you don’t care about the suffering a subject brings, your opinion doesn’t matter. There are only the people concerned that we want to hear.
The advantage is that it leaves space for people who have not been heard from for too long and who can do so here in a secure way, that is to say spaces where they feel good and safe.
It is important to listen to the victims, because the system does not do it enough, but the thing is that sometimes a victim or a person who is part of a minority, they can be wrong, it happens. The main concern is that as we do not want to listen to others, we find ourselves in hyper-segmented mini-societies.
We are more at the stage where:
This person gives his opinion and we don’t care.
but at the stage where:
You talk, it offends me.
As I am offended, I am right so my suffering is instrumentalized by me or by a group and therefore the suffering becomes a weapon.
Why is it a problem?
This gives importance to suffering. We focus on it, we almost praise it and suddenly, instead of becoming the engine of change, sometimes it becomes the locomotive of unhappiness.
I am not saying no at the individual level because indeed it is up to everyone to manage their suffering as they see fit and I do not have to comment on that. I say NO on a societal scale, on a cultural scale.
If we absorb a culture that makes the more we suffer, the more we are right, we expose ourselves to abuses of victimization that harm the causes for which these same people are fighting. The problem of inequalities and oppression is that they become systemic and it is therefore the whole system that must look into it to find solutions.
I’m not sure you get there when the system is thrown out of the discussion and suffering is a key. Typically the fact that me on my own blog, I’m hesitant to talk about it because I wonder if I’m legit enough to do it, I think that’s something the fight has to move past.
After that it is highly possible that what we are experiencing right now is just a stadium. A necessary step. Because having the recognition of the status of victim by society is an important step and very surely necessary to initiate a change and define oneself differently.
I don’t really have any solutions to offer, it’s just an element that bothers me in the “Woke culture” because I feel like it’s a little bit toxic logic that can harm the general cause . Afterwards, it is not necessarily a state or a stage in which she locks herself up, but perhaps a stage in the system locks her up, precisely by not leaving enough room for the victims and therefore using suffering as a weapon is their way of reacting to it.