"Kansas Board of Regents nominees quizzed about ‘woke’ politics"; "Higher Ed's New Woke Loyalty Oaths"; "Fans Think ‘Lord of the Rings’ Prequel Is ‘Too Woke,’"; "A League of Their Own Not Woke Enough"; "DeSantis Faces Lawsuit Over Anti-Woke Law"... Take a glance at the news nowadays and it seems the word ‘Woke’ is everywhere.
But while it’s possible to figure out from the context that it’s something liberals like, conservatives don’t, and appears to be connected to political correctness, how many of us know what ‘Woke’ actually means or where it came from?
And does it really matter?
If you’re a parent, the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes.”
What is ‘Woke’ anyway?
In simple terms, ‘Woke’ is used as a blanket term to cover a whole range of Neo-Marxist academic theories that emerged in the mid-20th century.
The term was originally applied by advocates of Critical Race Theory. They believed that America as a nation is institutionally racist, and that from its very beginning it was created by white men to advantage white men. But they also believed that most people were blinded by the trappings of America’s wealthy capitalist society and were therefore unable to see the racism that was right before their eyes.
These advocates claimed that, unlike the masses, they had not been blinded. Instead, they had ‘woken up’ to the injustices within the American system. And hence, they were ‘Woke’.
In time, activists added to the list of people who they believe are oppressed by American capitalist culture: women, homosexuals, transsexuals, and more. Feminists, gay rights activists and so on also claimed to have woken up to these additional injustices, and so added themselves to the ranks of the ‘Woke’.
Why does it matter?
In June 2021, a concerned mom named Xi Van Fleet took to the podium at a meeting of the Loudon County, Virginia, school board.
“I've been very alarmed by what's going on in our school,” Van Fleet told the assembled board members. “You are now teaching — training — our children to be social justice warriors, and to lose our country and our history. Growing up in Mao's China, all this seems very familiar.”
She went on to explain that all of the features we associate with the Woke movement: separation of people into groups by race, gender, sexuality and other characteristics; cancel culture, whereby people who voice anti-woke opinions are forced into silence; rejection of traditional values and norms; and most alarmingly, the indoctrination of children into this new way of thinking — all of these were present in Communist China.
"The vocabulary is even the same,” she said: “'wokeness'. To be specific, we used 'class wokeness' in Chinese. Your level of wokeness determines your chance to get a promotion or to get benefits, and who decides your level of wokeness? It is the party leaders."
Just as the Communists in China believed that they needed to remake China under communism, Woke activists of all stripes believe that, as they alone can see the injustice within the American system, they have a duty to destroy it, to free everyone from the current system and start anew.
This is obviously a problem for American society, which is growing less cohesive, prosperous and safe. But it also has a very real negative impact on the children themselves, who are taught to be dissatisfied, angry and destructive, all of which have a devastating impact on mental health.
Why are children being affected?
Just like the communists of old, the neo-Marxist Woke activists believe in indoctrinating children from a young age into this new form of thinking. Schools, which could once be trusted to teach American children the values and innovations that make America free and successful, are now teaching them to reject American culture and adopt a new anti-American set of values.
Increasingly, parents are finding themselves cut out of decisions made by or on behalf of their children. This may take the form of educators not being open about the content of lessons, using classroom time to teach children controversial ideas such as a version of American history which re-casts the founding fathers as White Supremacists. In other cases, schools have willfully withheld from parents information that affects their child’s well being, such as the child stating a desire to change sex, and the school adopting new pronouns or a new name for that child to affirm their decision.
In some states, legislators are stepping in to protect parental rights. In March 2022, Florida’s governor signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law, bolstering the state’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, and making it illegal for educators to teach woke theories as fact in Florida classrooms.
“Parents have a fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children, and schools should not be keeping important information from parents. Children belong to families, not the state,” Senate President Wilton Simpson said. “Parents are not the enemy, they are a child’s first and best advocate.”
What can I do about it?
The best way to protect your child from Woke ideologies is through vigilance. Know what’s in your child’s school curriculum. Ask detailed questions about what is being taught in the classroom. Find out exactly what is happening during extra-curricular activities — one mother found that her daughter had been indoctrinated into questioning her gender during an after-school arts club.
You may want to join a parents’ advocacy group such as Moms for Liberty to find like-minded parents in your community and work together on holding your school to account.
And, of course, there is a lot you can do at home to teach your child true American values. Heroes of Liberty books are designed to help you do exactly that. Why not introduce some of our stories into your children's bedtime reading routine? Or set aside a regular slot for reading with your child, and use the stories to build discussions around what makes America great.
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