- alert to injustice in society, especially racism.“we need to stay angry, and stay woke“
So there you have it!
When certain people talk about their hostility to woke folk, then what they’re actually saying is that they don’t want people to be alert to injustice in society, especially when it comes to racism.
Now, I’m often conscious of the fact that I’m an older, white male who takes his privilege for granted, so it’s good to know that I shouldn’t be woke and that I can get some sleep at last because I’ve reached an age where I like to take naps in the afternoon… Actually, I think I was always at that stage but during my twenties, it was due to the fact that I’d missed sleep owing to having a somewhat more interesting time of things in the evening, but I digress.
As someone who’s spent a large part of my life in classrooms, I’m always intrigued when I hear politicians like Hollie Hughes talk about how teachers are indoctrinating kids and that there’s a Marxist agenda in schools. I guess it makes a change from the Trotskyist agenda that we had when I was growing up, but Hughes overlooks two important facts:
- It’s almost impossible to indoctrinate a teenager. They naturally resist most things adults tell them.
- Most of my time has been spent trying to indoctrinate kids. Not with any little red books, but rather into doing things like wearing a uniform, turning up on time, completing work and being civil to the people they don’t like. Even if I had time to alert them to inequality, I’d have about as much success as I have in trying to stop Jackson from telling Cedric that he’s a loser.
Don’t get me wrong here. I do tell Jackson (not his real name) not to pick on Cedric (unfortunately his real name) and while I can stop him from doing it in class, as far as indoctrinating him into being an all-round decent guy who leaves the less fortunate alone, well, let’s just say that if teachers could do that, then nobody would be voting for Hollie Hughes and everyone would be leaving Matt Canavan alone.
Some things kids will naturally believe their teachers about things that don’t matter like Maths and Science, but when it comes to matters political, they generally either follow what their parents have told them or else they have thought for themselves and neither group are just going to abandon their position just because I tell them that I disagree. I remember many years ago one of my nieces told me that the Bay City Rollers were so much better than The Beatles and argued her position passionately. These days, she has a slightly different perspective but that didn’t come about through my well-reasoned points about how the sixties were greatly influenced by the Fab Four who were bigger than Jesus… Well, it stands to reason. There were four of them so naturally, they’d be bigger.
Anyway, it’s like that in class. Even if I had a mind to enlighten students about the politically correct way of doing things, it doesn’t change the minds of those who’ve been brought up to be racist or sexist.
English classes look at how language is used to frame arguments and it’s not easy to get teenagers to divorce themselves from the issue at hand and just look at how the article is presenting it.
“Yes,” I tell them, “you may believe that the person in the article is worse than Hitler, but put that to one side and look at how the choice of words is leading people to that conclusion. It doesn’t matter at this point whether that conclusion is true or not, we’re just looking at the way the media uses words and does things like writing some of the letters in a different type to make them stand out. For example, ‘nEVILle’ isn’t the normal way his name is written…”
“But sir, he is evil so what’s the problem?”
“There’s no problem. We’re not judging him. His guilt or innocence is something we need to leave alone for the moment…”
“I think he should be left alone in a cell with someone who’ll give him what he deserves...”
“That’s ok, but we’re just looking at the language here.”
“I’d like to be in the cell when it happens so I can give him a couple of extra kicks.”
“Ok, can you see how the way the paper is presenting things is feeding into that perception.”
“Nah, my dad said that they knew how to deal with people like that when he was a kid. They used to put them in stocks and let people throw things at them.”
“Is your dad two hundred or something?”
“What d’ya mean?”
Of course, when Hollie Hughes told us that the kids were being taught Marxism by teachers, I did have to check that “Mad As Hell” wasn’t back on and that she wasn’t a promo for it. It would be nice if a journalist could ask her to define Marxism because, in my experience, all the teachers I know are more concerned with their mortgages and their bills than plotting the armed revolutionary overthrow of the system…
Actually, I don’t think Marx advocated armed rebellion either. I think he was a bit more bookish and merely argued that the dictatorship of the proletariat was inevitable. Perhaps I should look things up so that I know a bit about what I’m talking about before I pontificate… Although that doesn’t stop a lot of people in the media.
To define Marxism in simple terms, it’s a political and economic theory where a society has no classes. Every person within the society works for a common good, and class struggle is theoretically gone.
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