Before there was the COVID-19 virus there was the 'Woke' mind virus, or at least that's how some reactionary commentators in the US refer to a cluster of strongly progressive cultural tropes, including emphasising racial and gender identity, prioritising equality of outcomes over equality of treatment, and being mindful of language that can be potentially harmful. A woke wave has passed through the culture in the past decade, exploding especially on some university campuses and nowadays reaching into workplaces as gen Z graduates into employment. It's extremes were characterised by cancel culture - an authoritarian tendency to shut down people with opposing views. Freedom loving liberals everywhere were aghast, but not all of them are now similarly aghast at outright authoritarian efforts by Republican-controlled legislatures in the United States to ban elements of the Woke agenda. These are heady times. Here to chill things out a bit is Rod Graham, Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Rod argues that the woke movement is really just generational change. Where 20th century generations prioritised survival, materialism, efficiency, and equal treatment of competitors in the labour market, today's youth place a greater emphasis on self-actualisation, identity, and equality. The implications are far ranging.
Rod's professional page:
Rod's twitter thread that inspired this conversation:
Inglehart and Welzel on survival vs self-actualisation values: