‘Woke’ idea: You don’t exist, your race and gender do

9 April, 2021 | newsx bureau

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Two prominent incidents, both happened in the West, during last month are taking this issue further. The Catalan translator of poet Amanda Gorman was dropped from his post because he was not having...

Wokeism is trying hard—and becoming successful—in identifying people only based on their group identities, instead of their individual existence. Despite the person’s eligibility, his/her race, gender, or caste becomes the sole basis of shaming, thanks to the theories propagated by academicians masquerading as activists and adopted by politicians along with corporates. Two prominent incidents, both happened in the West, during last month are taking this issue further.

The first incident is from the US of America, where discussions related to races have become a hot topic. The Catalan translator of poet Amanda Gorman, a 23-year-old Black woman who was applauded for reciting ‘The Hill We Climb’ at Biden’s inauguration ceremony, was dropped from his post because he was not having a ‘profile’.

What, one may ask, is the required ‘profile’ for that post? Having expertise in both languages? Good professionalism? A decent experience in the field? No, but being a Black Woman. I am not kidding, that is the sole reason behind his removal.

The response of Victor Obiols, the translator, is intriguing. ‘…if I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC,’ he said to AFP.

As a person, who has translated Shakespeare before, he further said, ‘Or [I] could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman.’

The second incident is of an Australian school named Brauer College. At the school, ‘boys were asked to stand as a symbolic gesture of apology for the behaviors of their gender that have hurt or offended girls and women.’

The boys were asked to apologize to girls because they shared the same body structure as some perpetrators. However good they may be in their individual lives, but their gender, a collective identity, in the eyes of the administration influenced by Wokeism, was still problematic and the sole reason behind the gesture of apology.

These instances, definitely, are not the very first instances but they are as ugly as they can get. It raises vital concerns regarding society and political discourse.

Primo, they are strengthening and stereotyping identities by doing discrimination to what they identify as the privileged class in the name of social justice. Just to fire someone because of his skin colour, for, which, he has obviously no choice, is cruelty.

‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation,’ Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous speech, ‘where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ It is for sure that he would not have been happy, after learning about the instance where the person was unsuitable for a job just because of his race and gender. Or would he?

Secondo, these cynical ideas are getting more and more popularised in politics and corporates within no time. Once appropriated, they can no longer be questioned, just like it happened with the debates of inclusivity and diversity. Thereafter, any different viewpoint is getting dubbed as racist or sexist or supremacist (or enter any fancy term here) viewpoint, however, it can be seemed logical a decade ago.

Dare you try to challenge them, Cancel Culture is waiting to hound you along with snatching the prospects of even your future job.

In a nutshell, turning a blind eye towards these instances is not the solution in long term. They need to be criticized, or at least discussed; buzz around them needs to be created; debates around them need to be initiated. This time, they happened in the USA and Australia but next time they may happen in India. Should we let them happen? Ask yourself.

Harshil Mehta is a columnist and political commentator. He tweets at @MehHarshil. Views expressed are personal.