Office Hours: Is “woke capitalism” the new Republican racist dog whistle?
They’re even blaming Silicon Valley Bank’s failure on it
Rather than understand Silicon Valley Bank’s failure as the result of financial deregulation that allowed bank executives to take excessive risks, Republican politicians are blaming the bank’s failure on “woke” capitalism.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) calls Silicon Valley Bank “one of the most woke banks.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis charges that Silicon Valley Bank’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion “diverted from them focusing on their core mission.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson says diversity and inclusion standards are why “big banks are now increasingly incompetent.”
What seems to have incensed these Republicans is Silicon Valley Bank’s announcement last summer that it would be providing mortgages to lower-income homebuyers and using hiring practices that promote diversity. Of course, there’s zero evidence that these initiatives contributed to the bank’s collapse.
DeSantis, by the way, seems to be focusing his entire upcoming presidential campaign on his opposition to wokeness. “We are not going to surrender to woke,” he said. “Florida is the state where woke goes to die.” In late February, under pressure from trustees appointed by DeSantis, the New College of Florida voted to abolish the office that oversees the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
Hence, today’s Office Hours question: Is “woke” capitalism becoming Republicans’ new racist dog whistle?
Remarkable. I would get in trouble writing a multiple choice question like that for a test. No wrong answers. Perhaps you left out the most correct: they desire to ignore reality. So one day, recently, in class, someone asked what I thought the definition of woke was. My hesitant reply was that the term was deliberately vague so that politicians could use it to attack those to their "left" on whatever subject they happened to be discussing at the time without actually saying anything that left them open to attack. So all topics that smack of regulatory action, improvement of child care, concern for refugees (illegal aliens), recognition of racism and response, gender equity and rights, environmental action, concern about wolves and beavers, climate change, expansion of medical coverage for all, or simply funding for public education, is woke. Therefore, I am woke. Deal with it.
As far as the Democrats go, their response should be to propose ways to fix things, correct systemic mistakes, act on climate, care for people, care for the planet. They need to push back on Republicans with positive legislation that demonstrates care. Woke is beautiful, deal with it.
“Woke” sure sounds like another effective label dreamt up by Frank Luntz. He’s the guy responsible for the phrase, “death tax” replacing inheritance tax, thereby making it sound like everybody would be subject to it when it’s really only for millionaire offspring.
Oddly enough, woke has been used as an effective means of downplaying the value of compassion and equality which used to be considered core Christian values. But the GOP conveniently squeezed them out in favor of their Swiss cheese Christianity with convenient holes where the Golden Rule and “Judge not, lest ye be judged” used to be.