A Replacement for Replacement Theory
Nobody ever called Feminism “Wokeness” But That’s What It Was and It Paved the Way.
Lots of reasonable folks these days are more than a little unhappy with the tenor and tactics of racial wokeness. Some racial justice warriors are none too shy about exploiting white insecurities about unfairness and vulnerabilities to guilt and shame.
“If you don’t see what we are saying and if you don’t agree with it and if you won’t acknowledge that white racism is rampant and you are no exception, that’s perfect proof that you are the problem.”
Sounds a little bit like the excesses of feminism, doesn’t it? “Women are oppressed and men are the oppressors. And any man who can’t or won’t acknowledge his male privilege is a chauvinist pig and perfect evidence of the crimes of the patriarchy.”
The difference is that feminist wokeness, IMHO, was and still is much, much worse than racial wokeness. Feminist wokeness takes no account of the traditional privileges and advantages of being female. But it cannot credibly be alleged that racial wokeness fails to acknowledge the traditional privileges and advantages of being Black… because there aren’t any.
As much as I worry about the resentment and disaffection of white men and, increasingly it seems, white women toward racial wokeness, I worry even more about its effects on Black men. Black Lives Matter, one of the dynamos of racial wokeness, unabashedly seeks to “center” the Black female experience, presumably because Black society has been so obviously and evidently focused on the needs of its men. Roland Warren, the black male former president of National Fatherhood Initiative, observed in the Washington Times July 28, 2016 that BLM “is at war with black husbands and fathers.” Warren quoted this as one of BLM’s Guiding Principles:
“We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, and especially ‘our’ children to the degree that mothers [sic], parents [sic] and children are comfortable [sic].”
Replacement Theory is lurking ominously on the outskirts of racial wokeness. It is typically alleged that whites are consumed by fear that people seeking racial and ethnic justice are bound and determined to supplant whites as the primary movers and shapers of our society. No doubt there is some truth to that. And no doubt there is, if it is balanced and based on foundations other than guilt and shame on the one hand and anger and intimidation on the other, some long-delayed justice in it as well.
But at least racial reckoning is still a work in progress. We still have a chance to get it right. Feminism and female-centeredness, on the other hand, are faits accomplis.
After almost forty years of being a near monomaniac on the issues of sex and gender as experienced by men and boys, I have come to the belief that male-female issues are much more fraught than black-white issues. The reason: women are much less justified in complaining about oppression than blacks are, but they demand redress no less. The result is that the manifest issues of men — especially Black men — get much less attention than they deserve and the issues of women — especially white women — get much more. The very phrase “women and minorities” is a conflation of astoundingly misdirecting simplicity that has borne out the truth of the data science and policy-making adage “garbage in, garbage out.”
And so I wonder whether, if they were asked by social scientists who could somehow win their trust, white men would say they are more concerned about being replaced as whites by non-whites or as men by women. And would Black men say they are more concerned about the effects in their communities of anti-Black racial injustice or anti-male gender injustice.
When Hillary Clinton beamed, just three months after concluding her Better Together presidential campaign, that the future is female, she wasn’t talking about race.
She was insisting upon that other kind of wokeness. The one that will be exceedingly difficult to get right, now that we’ve gotten it so wrong.
This is feminism’s entrenched vision of power relations between the sexes:
But this is a much more complete and accurate picture:
This is where we are now, after decades of corrosive gender policy:
And this is where we need to be because men — of all races and ethnicities — need to give and get love at least as much as women need to earn and spend money:
The future is and always will be both male and female. Recognizing that will go a long way toward restoring the health and vigor we need to forthrightly address our broader social problems for which sex and gender are and always will be fundamental.