It was a 1980s cult movie classic—Ghostbusters, starring Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis. The trio starts a ghost-catching business in New York in the film, one whose most famous line is, “Who ya gonna call?” The answer, of course, is, “Ghostbusters!”
Fast forward to today and the era of wokeness. The word “woke” was created by black activists as a term denoting “consciousness.” But isn’t this just another “political correctness” movement, even if one on steroids? Perhaps, but many think “being aware” has been perverted and thus taken to extremes. People rightly fear the unsubstantiated smear that they’re racist. Thus a new term has been added to our lexicon as of late—”wokebusters.” The definition might go something like this: people who take on leftist identity politics and the idea that social injustice and racial inequality are everywhere.
One wonders what Martin Luther King Jr. would think of all this emphasis on race being the primary, and in some cases the only, lens through which many now view people. King’s most famous line from his “I Have a Dream Speech” on the Washington mall in 1964 was, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
In 2019 The New York Times’ “1619 project” heightened the cultural tension by placing slavery at the center of our country’s history and as the major reason the colonists fought for independence from England. A plethora of historians, academics, and elected officials have criticized this project as leftist propaganda and have spoken out and written pieces condemning the narrative. One of the most vocal has been Bob Woodson, a civil rights activist, author, and founder of the nonprofit Woodson Center, which focuses on neighborhood empowerment. He dubbed the 1619 project “lethal.”
The 1619 project aside, Woodson is taking on many new accusatory tactics in the woke movement. He cites the recent example that just made news of a black Smith College student asking to leave an unauthorized area by a janitor and cafeteria worker on the campus. The student claimed she was racially profiled (“Eating while Black”). With backing from the ACLU, the student got the workers sanctioned. Woodson penned a letter critical of how race was weaponized in the incident and the mandatory bias training that was instituted:
“Many of us participated in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for equal treatment under the law… We didn’t march so that Americans of any race could be presumed guilty and punished for false accusations while the elite institutions that employed them cowered in fear of a social media mob… Please consider that many black Americans find training that reduces us simply to a racial category profoundly condescending and dehumanizing.”
In an interview with Fox News, Woodson elaborated further and encouraged folks to become “wokebusters” as he lamented how blacks are being tribalized. He claimed the new woke movement is counter to everything Dr. King stood for and preached about in his time.
Jeff Szymanski works in political communications for AMAC, a senior benefits organization with 2.4 million members.