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Understanding the Woke Ideology

What is “Woke”?   


Woke is a term given both to a worldview and to the people who are initiated, and adhere, to that worldview. (See Deeper Dive below (See also Counter Wokecraft, C. Pincourt & J. Lindsay 2022 ).   The Woke worldview is known under many different pseudonyms, depending upon what group identity is being emphasized, including Critical Theory, Critical Social Justice, Critical Race Theory (CRT). (See What is CRT)  LINK  Critical Gender Theory (CGT) (See What is CGT)  LINK   Intersectionality, Postmodern-Cultural Marxism, Critical Queer Theory, Post-Colonial Theory, Fat Studies, and likely others. The term “Woke” is the simple past of the verb to wake, and it is intended to mean someone has become “awakened” to the worldview. Within Woke theory to be “awakened” is to achieve a “Critical Consciousness”, which is a concept derived from earlier Hegelian-Marxist Postmodernist theory. (See Deeper Dive below) The Woke worldview has 3 main claims, or principles about the world that bind all versions of Woke together: the knowledge principal; the political principal; and the subject principle.

The knowledge principle does not deny reality but denies that we can ever know the true nature of reality. This is because all knowledge and meaning is “socially constructed” or “co-constructed” by human beings with power and defined (thru language) by the culture in which we live. Essential to this principle is the fact that different cultures have different understandings about the nature of the world.  Thus, for example, according to Critical Gender Theory, one’s knowledge of their own sex (not to be confused with gender) is socially constructed, not biologically determined by nature. (See What is Critical Gender Theory)   LINK  This is the central tenet of the Gender Studies class discovered by parents within LH’s curriculum using the since removed Atlas weekly syllabus browser. This “social constructive theory” is also reflected in question #6 of LH’s AIM DEI Survey (See LH Subtle but Significant Changes )  LINK  and is specifically mentioned in slide #7 of President Harms’ January 4, 2021 information dump promoting the “co-construction of knowledge and meaning”.  (See LH’s Subtle Significant Changes).  LINK

The political principle is that not only is knowledge socially constructed, but knowledge is constructed by oppressor groups in society at the expense of oppressed groups. The construction of knowledge is done through language whose rules are also determined by groups with power to do so, i.e., oppressor groups. Moreover, knowledge is constructed in such a way that it helps maintain the oppressive role for the oppressor group and prevents oppressed groups from being “liberated” from their oppression.

Thus, not only is knowledge socially constructed, but it is by definition biased and can never be an accurate representation of reality. This, together with the fact that different cultures have different understandings of the nature of the world, means no worldview is more authoritative than any other. Truth is entirely subjective, relative, and simply an expression of power. (See What Woke Categorically Rejects below) Thus, every body of knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is nothing but a “story” which is an expression of political power by the oppressor group to keep the oppressed groups oppressed.   Accordingly, even the scientific worldview, developed-it is claimed-solely by white, European males, is just a story designed to perpetuate systems of oppression that benefit oppressor white, European males. Thus, according to Woke, even the tools of science, such as logic, rational argument, evidence, hypotheses, controlled experiments, etc. serve to perpetuate oppression.  This is why the Woke are now making demands on the STEM fields. 

The subject principle is that individuals are primarily defined by their group identity (white, female, black, European, cis-gendered, etc.). Thus, individual people are either oppressors or oppressed according to what group/groups they are identified with by Woke categorizations, regardless of how the individual defines themselves.  Similarly, how individual people behave is a function of group identity. And (taken together with the knowledge and political principles) their behavior supports and helps the oppressive systems around them, unconsciously. For example, white people simply can’t avoid behaving in ways that perpetuate their oppression of non-white people in society. Likewise, non-whites cannot avoid behaving in ways that support their own oppression.   Thus, the Woke categorically reject Martin Luther King and classical liberal enlightenment moral aspirations of a color-blind society. (See What Woke Categorically Rejects below)

A corollary of this principle is that since individual behavior is defined by one’s identity, individuals are responsible or accountable for any and all actions associated with any group identity to which the Woke worldview categorize them. Thus, the oppressive acts of one member of an identity group are the oppressive acts of all members of that identity group.  Moral agency extends infinitely across time according to group membership not individual culpability. Those individuals categorized by Woke as members of an oppressor group today are morally responsible for the oppressive acts of all members of their oppressor group at any point in the past. (p. 6) Thus, as Coleman Hughs observes, according to Woke ideology, literally on the day they are both born, non-white babies have moral grievances and claims against white babies and white babies have moral agency for those grievances and claims. (See Deeper Dive below-Coleman Hughes @ Lafayette-Anti-Racism and Humanism: Two Competing Visions).

The Woke Activist Ethos

Given that oppression and oppressive structures permeate our entire existence, there are infinite opportunities to actively oppose oppression. The Woke moral imperative is that everyone, everywhere, all the time must take action to oppose this oppression because oppression is practiced everywhere, all the time, consciously and unconsciously. And if you do not take action to oppose this oppression, enthusiastically and without dissent, then you are not “Woke”, but are complicit in that oppression. (Refer to Counter Wokecraft p. 7)   Moreover, only by becoming Woke can one have knowledge of and see these systems and structures of oppression. This flawed, quasi-cult-like epistemological error is called Standpoint Epistemology. (See Standpoint Epistemology in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)  LINK  Fact is, in both theory and practice, Woke meets every criteria of a new religious cult. (See Deep Dive below-Postmodern Religion and the Faith of Social Justice, J. Lindsay)

One cannot overestimate the zeal and fanatism of the ideology of Woke. Because the “sites” of oppression are limitless, the work of the Woke is never done. In education, this means each person, each program, each class, each syllabus, each administrative process must be reviewed, challenged, problematized, opposed and cleansed of any vestige of the oppressor identity group (i.e., white, European, male, heterosexual, etc.). This is the function of the DEI director position and why Woke organizations, like the NAIS or NDPI, insist on the importance of creating a DEI position within the administrative structure of every private school. (See What is NAIS)  LINK  This is the transformative purpose of having “a designated practitioner whose job it is to oversee the school’s efforts with sufficient resources and is a part of senior administration” (See slide #7 of Pres. Harms’ January 4, 2021 information dump in LH’s Subtle but Significant Changes)   LINK   Creating more Woke activists is the purpose of Woke pedagogy. (See NAIS PoCC Course Content "The Building of an Activist: Activism, Artivism, and Academics")  LINK


Woke Hierarchy of Oppression and Privilege

Although oppression is everywhere, not all oppression is equal because power is unequal. Acts of oppression fall on a continuum, from microaggressions to acts of genocide. However, these acts of oppression go one way: always against marginalized oppressed groups and always committed by privileged oppressor groups. Never the other way. (See Ibram X. Kendi’s definition of acceptable Woke discrimination below) More importantly, acts of oppression aggregate depending on how many oppressed group identities a person can claim (i.e., non-white, female, indigenous, homosexual, etc.) or how many oppressor group identities to which a person is ascribed by Woke categorization. (i.e., white, male, European, heterosexual, etc.) Obviously, these group identities overlap. Thus, in order to understand and evaluate oppression, one needs to consider the “intersection” of group identities (and oppression) for any individual. Hence the doctrine of Intersectionality. However, the exact ranking of a particular group identity within the Woke hierarchies of oppression and power remain undefined and hotly debated amongst the Woke, with just one exception: white, heterosexual, males. These people are never oppressed because they enjoy all the power and “undeserved” privileges of a systemically white racist society. (See Whiteness and White Privilege in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)  LINK  In this way Woke engages in moral scapegoating of one particular identity group (white heterosexual males).

The Woke Political/Social Project

The Woke worldview and ethos has gelled around the following political and social project: the retributive redistribution of resources according to group identity. This is the meaning of “equity” in the Woke triad of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  This redistribution is reparations for the collective acts of group oppression in the past. Thus, the familiar term “discrimination” has a radically different meaning and use to Woke. So long as discrimination is used to achieve “racial equity” it isn’t discrimination. Leading Woke celebrity, Ibram X. Kendi, stated this explicitly:

“The only remedy to racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

(See Antiracism in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)  LINK

However, the “equity” project is not typically presented in these stark and candid terms. It is more often presented as “just” the redistribution of resources according to group identity to “redress” alleged historical imbalances. It is thereby justified by suggesting that the goal will be achieved once the imbalances are redressed. (Counter Wokecraft p. 9-10) But according to Woke, an imbalance exists everywhere there are numerically less members of any oppressed identity group than members of any oppressor identity group. Further, every imbalance is irrefutably presumed to be caused by systemic bigotry towards that oppressed identity group by the oppressor identity group and, therefore, undisputed evidence of white supremacy in the structure of that organization or institution. These imbalances are invisible to the non-woke, but obvious and everywhere when one is Woke (See Critical Consciousness Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia) LINK


Not surprisingly, Woke critical consciousness seems almost universally focused upon imbalances with respect to positions of power, prestige or limited access which were, heretofore, determined by individual merit. (i.e., within education positions in administration, faculty or student admissions). Hence President Harms’ statement to a LH parent on January 4, 2021 that he intends to hire faculty of color, even though a white applicant maybe clearly more qualified for the position. (See LH’s Subtle but Significant Changes)  LINK   However, obvious numerical imbalances in menial, powerless positions, without prestige are rarely the focus of Woke retributive redistribution, and any imbalance favoring oppressed identity groups over oppressor identity groups is simply not unjust or inequitable. (See Equity in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia) LINK

The Woke share our Vocabulary, but not our Dictionary 

It cannot be emphasized enough when considering these issues or the subtle but significant changes at LH in the past 2 years. (See LH’s Subtle but Significant Changes)  LINK  The Woke use words, phrases, and concepts familiar to all classically liberal, enlightened, and tolerant Americans. However, the Woke meaning and use of this familiar language is radically different from the enlightened meaning and use for the past 500 years. The Woke share our vocabulary but not our dictionary. (See Deeper Dive below-Diversity, Inclusion & Equity-J. Lindsay).

This manipulation of otherwise familiar words and phrases is by design. (See “About Translations from the Wokish” in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)   LINK   As discussed above, the Woke understand the power of language.  So, they purposefully use “cross over words.” (Counter Wokecraft p. 23) Cross over words are purposefully common and non-technical, well-understood to the non-Woke, and usually “nice” sounding. The list is constantly expanding. (i.e., diversity, inclusion, equity, bias, racism, anti-racism, social justice, critical, intersectional, identity, voices, lived experiences, culture, cultural competencies, etc.) In this way, the words are easily insinuated into formal organizational policy, mission statements and classroom curriculum. When LH’s website went back up in 2020 it was now populated with a number of potential cross over words: student “identity”, “people of color”; creation of “safe discussions”; racial “affinity groups”, a DEI reviewed curriculum  “free from bias”; “authentic connections…of marginalized groups”; “cultural competency”, and of course the now ubiquitous mantra of “diversity, equity and inclusion”. These are all Woke cross over words and phrases, with a radically different meaning for the Woke. (See Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)  LINK

After successfully instantiating the familiar, seemingly innocuous word or phrase into formal organizational policy, the Woke in positions of power can then execute and enforce policy consistent with the Woke definition of the word, not the classical liberal, enlightened understanding of it.   Any late objections to this Woke shift in meaning and use is turned against the dissenter(s) by effectively painting them as being opposed to the more familiar, accepted principals of enlightened, classical liberalism. (See The Motte & Bailey Rhetorical Technique in Counter Wokecraft p. 35) It certainly would not surprise us if some try this tactic against us. But our allegiances are clearly stated and unimpeachable: to diversity of individual thought and freedom of speech without censorship; to inclusion of all perspectives, including the Woke, in respectful constructive disagreement without Woke mob cancelation; and an unwavering commitment to an integrated, color-blind society based on merit and individual character where the pigment of one’s skin is as irrelevant and trivial a feature as an individual’s eye or hair color. (See About Us)   LINK


It is in this way that the Woke political/social project becomes part and parcel of the administrative and operational structure of the organization without the non-woke ever noticing, or at least not until it is too late to object or reverse it.   The tactic is brilliant and thoroughly Marxian. (See Deeper Dive below - Race Marxism, J. Lindsay 2022) Like Marx, the founders of Woke understood that if you can control the language, you can control thought and speech. And if you can control thought and speech, then you can control everything, including the means of economic, cultural, and even knowledge production, like education. (See Deeper Dive below-Critical Education Theory J. Lindsay)

















Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

The Woke seek “social justice” thru “diversity”, “equity” and “inclusion”. This triad of cross over words is designed to capture the allegiance of sincere non-Woke people with genuine concerns about the state of American society. However, in practice these 3 words mean something entirely different than what they have meant within the classical liberal, enlightenment, Judeo-Christian tradition of western civilization for the past 5 centuries.

“Diversity” means diversity of group identities (physical appearances or cultural backgrounds), not diversity of individual thought or speech. In fact, DEI in actual practice suppresses diverse thought and speech with dictated speech codes, accusations of white “bias”, alleged acts of “microaggressions”, and other cancel culture tactics against anyone who deviates from accepted Woke group think. (See Diversity in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)  LINK   (See also DEI - CRT at other Private and Public Schools)  LINK 


“Inclusion” means creating a welcoming environment for marginalized members of an oppressed identity group, but unapologetically excluding those who are either privileged members of an oppressor identity group, or an oppressed group who nonetheless reject Woke. (See Authentic and Acting White in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)   LINK   Thus, it is “diverse” and “inclusive” to exclude, silence and censor the privileged and Woke dissenters in order to create a “safe” environment for marginalized people to discover their true group “identity”. (See Inclusion in Translations from the Wokish Encyclopedia)  LINK


For example, this is why the NAIS PoCC (faculty) and SDLC (students) openly segregate attendees into racial groups and holds seminar workshops titled the “White Elephant in the Room - ” in which they discuss the “problem” or “dilemma” of white people attending the PoCC and SDLC.    (See 2007 NAIS PoCC/SDLC Program)   LINK    See also NAIS PoCC Course Content)  LINK


Likewise, LH’s own DEI policy regarding Affinity Groups adopts the exact same point of view:  “The school should have a well-defined policy for establishing and supporting affinity groups. Some meetings will be closed, with only those who share a particular affinity invited to participate."  (See LH policy-Why Affinity Groups?)  LINK

LH is just beginning to experience and understand the variety of ways that its new DEI director can enforce Woke definitions of diversity and inclusion. According to eyewitnesses, in January 2022 LH’s DEI director issued an edict prohibiting kindergarten teachers from using the phrase “boys and girls” when referring to our children. According to this new DEI speech code “boys and girls” is not diverse nor inclusive. Rather, it “excludes”; specifically, “non-binary” people. In this case 4 to 6-year-olds! LH’s DEI director also declared an end to the sweet and harmless tradition of “100 days”, wherein our youngest dress up on their 100th day of school as they imagine themselves to be when they are 100 years old. This too is not diverse nor inclusive, but an example of the Woke microaggression known as “Ageism”. (See Ageism/Agism-Wikipedia-“Stereotyping against groups based on their old age.”)  LINK   None of these Woke changes have been shared with LH parents. According to the faculty in the room, there is no plan for DEI to alert LH parents to either of these new DEI edicts.  

Finally, as discussed above (see The Woke Political/Social Project)  the word “equity” means redistributing resources according to group identity as retributive compensation for past group oppression. (Counter Wokecraft p. 9-10)  As a cross over word, it is easily and often confused with the classical liberal concept of “equality”, which guarantees equal opportunity, with outcomes determined by individual merit. But Woke meaning and use of equity is radically different. Unlike equality, Woke equity is only achieved when every member of an oppressed group, anywhere and everywhere, has an equal (or greater) share of every form of measurable and desirable resources (power, wealth, prestige, access, etc.) as any single member of an oppressor group. Otherwise, such disparities between oppressed and oppressor groups are presumptively caused by systemic /structural oppression (i.e., racism) and amount to undisputed evidence of white supremacy. (See Equity and White Supremacy in the Woke Encyclopedia)  LINK

What Woke Categorically Rejects

To understand someone or something it is frequently clarifying to see what they/it reject. This is particularly true with the Woke world view. The Woke, and the Woke world view, are categorically opposed at the deepest most fundamental philosophical levels to classically liberal, enlightened Judeo-Christian principals and the civilization (Western civilization) built upon those principals. When they are not hiding behind cross over words and other slight-of-hand tactics designed to obtain power, prominent Woke intellectual are candid about their categorical rejection of classical liberal, enlightened thought and the need to replace western civilization with their Woke utopian worldview. Their deep opposition is grounded in the written philosophy of Hegel, Marx, Postmodernist like Herbert Marcuse, and ultimately the Counter-Enlightenment. (See Deep Dive below Postmodern Religion and the Faith of Social Justice, J. Lindsay) Undoubtedly, you have already gleaned some of these from the description of Woke above. But a short list of classical liberal principals of the Enlightenment and Judeo-Christian tradition expressly rejected by Woke includes:

  • The very concept of verifiable truth, including moral truths, which correspond with reality. (See Truth in Translations in the Woke Encyclopedia)  LINK

  • Western civilization itself, which Woke equates interchangeably with “white people” and “Eurocentrism”. (For a Deeper Dive see below Explaining Post Modernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Hicks, S Expanded Ed. 2017)   

  • MLK’s dream of a color-blind society. (See Colorblind in Translations in the Woke Encyclopedia)  LINK     

  • Racism as a universally human immorality, not confined exclusively to just one (white) racial group. (See Anti-Racism in the Translation from the Woke Encyclopedia)   LINK    See also Defining Racism Up; Ibram X. Kendi’s Weird Definition of Anti-Racism)  LINK

  • Judeo-Christian values, including among others a regard for God’s discoverable moral truths and his command for moral reciprocity. I.e., “So in everything, do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mathew 7:12). (See Deeper Dive below The Theology of Marxism, J. Lindsay January 24, 2022)

  • Patriotism and the idea of the United States of America as a flawed yet morally good and aspirational country founded to ensure equality for all human beings based on universal human values. (See 1619 Project in  Translations from the Wokish)  LINK

  • Free market capitalism and respect for the property rights of others (See Race Marxism, J Lindsay 2022)

  • Any scientific body of knowledge which challenges or contradicts the Woke worldview. For example, the natural, dimorphic division of the sexes (male/female), as proven by every subdiscipline of the natural sciences applicable to human beings. (See Absurdity of Gender Theory, Alain de Benoist, January 19, 2015) LINK

Significantly, each of these classically liberal, enlightened Judeo-Christian principals of western civilization also happens to be a principal and value expressly stated in LH’s mission statement and in its honor code. Woke rejects each one of them.


Much of this section is quoted directly from Counter Wokecraft C. Pincourt & J. Lindsay (2022). To obtain your free copy of this short (94 pages) but excellent primer on Woke.  ( See the Bottom of this Page) 

For a Deeper Dive



New Discourses  


*Counter Wokecraft: a Field Manuel for Combating the Woke in the University and Beyond, C. Pincourt & J. Lindsay 2022

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody, H Pluckrose & J. Lindsay 2020

Explaining Post Modernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Hicks, S Expanded Ed. 2017

Race Marxism, J. Lindsay 2022


Coleman Hughes @ Lafayette-Anti-Racism and Humanism: Two Competing Visions C. Hughes (video)

Critical Education Theory, J. Lindsay (9 podcasts)

Diversity, inclusion & Equity J. Lindsay (video)

Postmodern Religion and the Faith of Social Justice, J. Lindsay  (Video)

Herbert Marcuse’s Repressive Tolerance a 4-part series J Lindsay New Discourses (4 podcasts)

The Perilous State of the University (video) Peterson J & Haidt, J  Nov. 16, 2017 ).

The Theology of Marxism, J. Lindsay January 24, 2022  (video)

Understanding Woke: 

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*If you would like a free copy of this book at e-mail us at:

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