Crossing the Line:The Woke Breaking Point

Crossing the Line: The Woke Breaking Point. By James Lindsay.

What I realized is how very helpful it is for people, rather than becoming confrontational, to encourage their Woke-sympathetic friends to start identifying and naming what their non-negotiable lines will be. People’s lines will — and should — vary, but as things get increasingly extreme, they will also get crossed more and more certainly. Knowing the line has been crossed, however, takes knowing there is a line and where it is.

The question to pose, then, is simple enough: What would it take for you to say that the Woke movement has gone too far?

My friend and I discussed some of the breaking points that were crossed for us and for people we know. For me, it was something between seeing unfair witchhunt-like haranguing applied to public figures I respected (falsely accusing them of racism and sexism), the subversive manipulation of language, and, especially, the brazen attacks on science coming from both the activist and scholarly communities around Critical Social Justice. This happened for me a few years ago.

For my friend, it was the undeniable real racism and blatant double-standards at the heart of much of the Woke activist enterprise. For some of our friends, the public defense of riots in Woke language — like “whiteness is property,” so it’s okay to burn down a business — was a bridge too far. For others, it was being bullied into allyship that’s never good enough. For so many more, it’s just the outright racism.



Of course, I also hear from people citing the tearing down of statues (including George Washington’s), people losing their jobs, people being afraid to lose their jobs, “Shut down STEM,” people’s relationships falling apart (including otherwise healthy interracial marriages, in particular), and a wide variety of other clear signals that things have gone too far with this moral panic and the bad ideas rising to prominence within it. For more and more people, these need to stop. …

For a close friend of mine, who is quite Woke still but not at all “all in,” we had to go quite far to find an absolute line. He has one. Should I, or other people he’s close to and knows don’t deserve it, get doxxed or start receiving credible death threats for standing up to Wokeness, that will apparently do it (does anybody deserve this, though?). Seems a little extreme to me that my own life would have to be on the line before he’d think surely this is getting out of hand, but at least he has a line. At least he’s thinking about it.

For example, Sweden recently found that becoming the most violent country in Europe, with separate societies of violent Somalis living in Sweden, and 10% of the country with a hostile religion, was too much. That, finally was the line.