Flat White

What’s woke this week

12 September 2019

1:01 PM

12 September 2019

1:01 PM

The corporate world has been woking up a storm this week with cultural appropriation and socially just ice cream hitting the headlines and getting the woke warriors tickling their keyboards. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy there’s always something brewing in the socialist paradise of California where lawmakers are foraying further into fairyland.

Sauvage ravagé

One of the shortest ad campaigns in history came and went last week, predictably on the back of Twitter activism. Fashion giant Dior, rather than earning woke brownie points for its advertising partnership with the Advance Indigeneity Campaign by Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), received outraged opprobrium instead for their latest ad for ‘Sauvage’ cologne.

Described by the company in a lead-up tweet as “an authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding, and secular territory” – yes, your guess is as good as mine – the ad was deemed wildly offensive, but not for its torturous prose. Instead, Twitter was aflutter with allegations of racism and cultural appropriation; as suggested by one shouty Twitter user, for ‘basically calling indigenous people savages’.

Critics were unconvinced by an AIO press statement that accompanied the ad’s release:

The Parfums Christian Dior project is a part of AIO’s Advance Indigeneity Campaign to change the misperceptions about Native Americans, to share accurate American history, to build awareness about Native Americans as contemporary peoples and to promote Indigenous worldviews.

But, as usual, Twitter users — as opposed to an organisation actually representing Native American interests — know best. The ultimate irony of constantly attacking ‘the patriarchy’ on one hand while on the other, exercising their very own paternalistic stereotypes in taking offence on behalf of [insert your Twitter-trending favourite ‘marginalised’ group here], is always lost on Twitter spitters.

Anyway, I would have thought that Dior’s real lapse of judgement was having that has been, Johnny Depp, as the face of their product.

Ben and Jerry-pander

Everybody’s favourite corporate woke ice-cream peddler was at it again this week, launching a brand new flavour. Never content with simple descriptions like chocolate, peanut butter or, God forbid, vanilla, you won’t be surprised to learn that Ben and Jerry’s latest social justice-themed, and grammatically compromised, ice-cream is called Justice Remix’d.

The flavour’s press release statement included:

Ben & Jerry’s believes everyone deserves the sweet taste of justice, regardless of race or wealth. The iconic ice cream company has partnered with Advancement Project National Office to launch Justice ReMix’d, a flavor created to spotlight structural racism in a broken criminal legal system.

The Advancement Project National Office, for those not in the woke know, wants to end “a wealth-based pre-trial detention system that locks people up because they are poor, black or brown”. Because that’s what happens in the minds of wokesters everywhere.

Precisely how cinnamon and chocolate ice creams with gobs of cinnamon bun dough and spicy fudge brownies will change the justice system is, however, not articulated.

Once again, irony is in short supply in Wokeworld. Those bleeding heart, socialist activists, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who sold their company for a motza to capitalist behemoth Unilever in 2000, are probably not too well acquainted with the lives of the underprivileged they purport to champion. It’s Ben and Jerry’s over-hyped product, with its not-so-sweet price, rather than justice, which is out of reach of the disadvantaged.

California dreaming

Some very interesting education bills are currently before the State of California’s legislature.

Draft legislation requiring all California high school students to take an ethnic studies course was placed on hold last week because the huge raft of disparate interest groups couldn’t agree on a draft curriculum. In a “my woke trumps your woke” contest leaders from Jewish, Armenian, Hindu, Korean and Greek communities want lessons about their ‘American experiences’ to be included along with the existing focus on Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and indigenous peoples.

Pro-Israel supporters complained that coverage of the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one-sided while others objected to the use of terms such as “cisheteropatriarchy” (well, who wouldn’t?) and “herstory” and “hxrstory” instead of history. On the other side, some groups are concerned that revisions could ‘weaken the integrity of the academic discipline’. Really?

Another bill seeks to mandate that students at California State University take an ethnic studies course in order to graduate. The bill, which unsurprisingly is supported by the university’s Department of Pan-African Studies, the Department of Social Work and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies (yes, it’s thing), among others, is seen by some as the thin edge of a woke wedge that could eventually add requirements for studies for LGBTQI+ or climate change into the ‘required studies’ mix.

Not so, claims Dr Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African Studies at CSU’s Los Angeles campus:

The White male administrators who run the CSU are trying to kill the bill. There should really be no opposition to this bill… unless you’re a blatant racist.

So, reasonable concerns = racism, once again.

A bill about school discipline has already passed both houses and is currently before the governor. It seeks to prohibit the suspension of students, initially in Grade 4 and 5, and then from Grades 6 to 8, for “disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of those school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties”. Instead:

[The] Multi-Tiered System of Supports, which includes restorative justice practices, trauma-informed practices, social and emotional learning, and schoolwide positive behavior interventions and support, may be used to help pupils gain critical social and emotional skills, receive support to help transform trauma-related responses, understand the impact of their actions, and develop meaningful methods for repairing harm to the school community.

Good luck with that.

California State Senator Nancy Skinner, who authored the bill, wants to disrupt the trendy woke platitude ‘school to prison pipeline’. She says:

Data show that black and brown youth are far more likely to be suspended from school than their white peers and long-term studies have revealed that students who are suspended for at least 10 days are less likely to graduate and more likely to be arrested and incarcerated by their mid-20s.

Now that’s a wake-up – rather than woke up – call.

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