OFF TOPIC: On Being "Woke" And The Race Card

I’m an author (or about to be) and a site I subscribed to published an article which I glanced through; it turned out that I rarely use the “politically incorrect” terms cited in my writing, not because I’m, making any point but because they just don’t suit my style.

Kathy Steinemann - 900+ Gender-Neutral Terms

I saw some of the comments and, stupidly, “got into one” with the author. She was blathering on about gender mattering and the small group of liberals (which I guess I am) being allowed to dictate the way we speak. I pointed out that the standard gender phrasing is only what it is because it has become embedded over time in various cultures and that no one was saying SHE had to adopt such terminology and said, “if woke is being aware of climate change, racism, greed and all the other nastiness going on in the world, then hell yes, I’m woke.”

Her reply surprised me (though it really shouldn’t have).

“I could educate you on the hoax known as “Climate Change” and that Marxism is behind encouraging blacks to play the “race card” to keep racism going, and much more, but I’m busy and realize that anyone who considers themselves “woke” is probably not going to listen to logic or factual evidence.”

I get the hoax thing (something the right wing have been pushing for years) but what the f*** is this Marxism/race card sh**?


Yeah ! That religious nut seems to think that without Marx, no black person would have noticed that “race” played a role in american slavery and seggregation. And according to her, apparently scientists are lying about climate change to increase taxes :joy:.

And coming to the article, I think the author took it far by portraying “human” as a gendered word. I don’t think anyone would think of only males, when they read “humans”.
Just like below where the author themself seems to have not noticed that “fraternity” comes from “frater” i.e., “brother”
// * fellowship: alliance, camaraderie, fraternity//

This made me think of what’s a better word for Humanist, as I consider myself as a secular humanist :sweat_smile:


So she starts with two begging the question fallacies, to create circular reasoning fallacies where she simply assumes her conclusion in her premise, then uses an ad hominem fallacy to create a poisoning of the well fallacy using a false arbitrary definition of woke, which anyone can Google. Tell her you don’t care to be lectured on rationality by anyone so irrational they manage to use 4 separate common logical fallacies in a single paragraph.

It’s called negative stereotyping, it’s about as rational as running screaming from a black cat.


And of course, the individual in question is also woefully ignorant of the relevant history.

The term “woke” was first coined as a means of signalling awareness of the manner in which African-Americans are still subject to vindictive and frequently brutal racism in parts of the USA. The term has since been expanded to cover awareness of other species of injustice and iniquity, courtesy of the fact that a willingness to see racism ended and a fairer society constructed with respect thereto, naturally extends to wishing to see other injustices and iniquities eliminated - or at least, this is the case if you’re pursuing the issues properly.

But, as was probably to be expected, not only have the bigoted Right tried to hijack the term and erect duplicitous strawman caricatures thereof, with the express objective of demonising anyone who rejects their bigotries, but they also seek to render the whole idea of fairness and compassion ideologically persona non grata, so to speak. The bigoted Right seek to perpetuate the idea that the only way forward is Randian selfishness and hatred of the “other”.

Indeed, one of the best ways of countering this, is to point out that the bigoted Right, with their whingeing and bleating on this matter, are openly admitting that they don’t think other human beings should be treated with dignity and respect, and that only members of their narrow ideological pale deserve a life. We all saw where that led in Europe during World War II, and anyone who thinks travelling that path is a good idea really needs to examine both their cognition and their conscience.


I have sometimes perceived racism and antisemitism in my nursing school.

I call out racism not only because it’s the right thing to do . . . but also because racism and antisemitism seem to go together (at least here in the USA).

Please see below for a slide from my nursing class on sickle cell anemia:

Please note the big lips, afro, and white gloves of the “black” red blood cells.

In my mind, this image isn’t much different than the cartoons from the last century which depicted Black people eating watermelon, or White entertainers performing in blackface. Please see the racist cartoon below which I snipped from the Jim Crow Museum:


I don’t see any big difference between these two images.

My complaint was dismissed, and I put a target on my back . . . so now I have to be perfect in school so they don’t find a microscopic reason to kick me out.

Do you guys believe that the school image is racist? Or am I the one with the problem?

If I’m the one with the problem, then I want you guys to be honest with me.

I would say it’s every bit as racist as this image which caused a stir back in the UK a while back (in other words yes and you’re not the only one). .

UK Atheist

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The first one is a generic depiction of a certain ethnicity, and totally unjustifiable, especially in any school curriculum. However the second one falls more into lampooning a famous individual, for her unfortunate albeit unusual reaction during a tennis match. I remember the cartoons of John McEnroe when he had similar rather high profile meltdowns on court, and of course the spitting image series lampooned anyone and everyone. The image might make me uneasy, and might well leave the cartoonist and publishers open to accusations of racism, but we are straying into free speech and ought to exercise caution.

As a corollary it is pretty hard to take the way governments cowed quaking to Islamic extremists over specious accusations of Islamophobia over the Danish cartoons, and that was a victimless crime if ever there was one. Had they made a cartoon that offered a generic demonization of Muslims that would be bigotry, decrying the absurdity of anyone insisting any belief be ringfenced from criticism or scorn is not bigotry.

I think it is about striking a balance between freedom of expression, and unnecessary (it occurs to me that all bigotry is unnecessary) bigotry. The OP example definitely falls into the latter category, I am not sure about the second if I am being honest. Though besides McEnroe I am struggling to remember many high profile tennis stars being caricatured in this way? So it definitely left me feeling uneasy.


Thank you both very much for your response and feedback.

I get very upset about shit like this in healthcare, as I want to be a competent nurse for everyone regardless of who they are.

Medical equipment itself can be racist.

There is a device called a pulse oximeter, which uses a laser to scan the finger nail bed to determine details and percentages about how much oxygen is being carried in the blood.

Well . . . because dark skin reflects light differently, this means that the readings are inaccurate for Black people, as the machine was designed and tested on White people. The racial bias in the machine has caused poorer medical outcomes for Black people.

Please see below:

And–to top it all off–it seems that we have to tiptoe around this issue in nursing school because Ron DeSantis has passed “anti woke” laws that forbid discussion of social racial bias in school curricula.

Please see below:

People often wonder why I’m so hostile.


I have to disagree. Why the thick lips? Why very angry looking face? I’m not saying she wasn’t or hasn’t been petulant at times but the way that petulance is “described” in the cartoon is, to my mind, very clearly racist

UK Atheist.

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Well she was pretty angry, and caricatures exaggerate features like that, I’m not sure we can assume from that, that it is racially motivated.

How so? I mean as i said, it is a fine line when you are lampooning a public figure, and I don’t like it personally, but I am not sure I can see deliberate racism here, and her behaviour was unfortunate at the time. Maybe it went too far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was racially motivated.

I can’t read the link, it keeps asking me to pay and create an account?

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Again, I disagree.

What can I say? As the link says, oversized lips (“sambo” imagery), stereotypes of slavery ("enlarged facial features and the position of a dummy in the cartoon draws on pernicious stereotypes of African Americans as angry, childlike and in need of restraint by white masters,” Dr Kate Dossett, associate Professor, Leeds University) and misogynoir (a particular type of bias towards black women, the oft portrayal of black women by the media as angry).

To my mind the cartoon is very clearly racist.

No idea how I’m doing it but I can see the whole article. Maybe because I use all kinds of computer sh** namely pi-hole (a Raspberry Pi configured to block adverts) and extensions that stop adverts, cookies 'n stuff like that.

UK Atheist

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Here in the USA, we have a long history of portraying black people as having oversized “nigger lips”.

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Another thing about that picture that suggests some kind of (probably unintentional) racism are the white gloves… I mean what the hell are they wearing those for? It feels like some kind of throwback to The Black & White Minstrels show (I guess Al Jolson would be the nearest US equivalent to that). In my not so humble opinion it would have been much better to simply put a photo of (probably mostly young) people of colour to simply highlight that it is something that pretty much exclusively affects them.

One other thing, especially relevant to your nursing school and something that anyone who feels these things aren’t [unintentionally] racist is that in UK hospitals black people are more frequently denied adequate pain drugs because many doctors have the perception that black people (“people of colour”, I’m old and never quite sure what the correct term is) don’t suffer as much pain as white (or can more easily bear it). Pregnant black women flagging up pain to their doctors or believing that they are close to time are more frequently sent home than white and, as a result, there is a higher fatality ratio in UK black pregnancies than white.

To my mind that makes it difficult to not see these things as [unintentionally] racist. I don’t know what it’s like in the US but my assumption is that with the America’s privatised health system (the UK NHS is supposed to treat all people equally), it is likely to be worse especially given that being black in both countries means you’re much more likely to be poor.

UK Atheist

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I understand, but caricatures exaggerate human features, the publication ran other such cartoons lampooning (for one) Donald Trump. I am just not sure this was racially motivated, though it was racially insensitive no doubt.

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Some forms of caricatures are, as you say, racially (or other group) insensitive but equally some go too far.

IMO the image Kevin put up went too far because it completely failed to represent black people except possibly to [some] whites. To my mind the problem is somewhere around what you can and cannot do within certain private or public arenas. It’s difficult to explain but I frequently swear at or around my friends, I wouldn’t do it in front of my mother or anyone who didn’t know me unless they’d really pissed me off. Most people learn the art of switching such things on or off but sometimes we get it wrong. I was in the army for a while (not for long; me 'n the army, or more specifically quite a few army people, didn’t exactly see eye to eye) and was very friendly with a lot of people including a couple of black guys who used to cuss each other; “hey nigga” and similar (I’ve heard Asian guys do much the same, with “Hey Pak” or “Hey Paki”). Anyway, one day one of them, jokingly referred to me as “honky” so, being me, I responded with a fitting racial slur thinking it was entirely OK (funny). It wasn’t and after I’d picked myself up off the floor I was told so in no uncertain terms. I learned there were limits to behaviours and that those limits didn’t always make objective sense.

I suppose it comes down to equality or rights or some such. The UK is a patriarchal society and I (as a white, straight, fairly able, male) undoubtedly benefit from it. More than that, we’re “groomed” by the media to despise others who aren’t as white as us or who don’t quite fit what the current British whatever is; it’s one of the reasons I spit when someone says something they’ve clearly got from The Sun, The Express, The Torygraph or The Daily Heil. It’s a major reason we have a damned near fascist government and that we’re out of Europe and, just realising the power of these media outlets is eye opening… but I digress.

Quite apart from the media, one of the reasons we need to be cautious in using some ways of describing (or caricaturing) black people is because they are so disadvantaged, because we are (at heart) a racist nation. Obviously, that doesn’t mean all of us, but as a group, a nation, I think we are. We are also, as a group, gullible in the extreme, another reason we have what we have and we’re out of the largest trading bloc in the world. I’m told racism is much worse in America but I’m not so sure at times especially when I hear tales like that of the black British banker earning way in excess of £100K who’s been stopped by the police over 200 times. I think it’s more subtle here but in some ways as bad.

As for Trump, I don’t think there is much a caricature can do to him (or portray him as) that is worse than what he actually is … that isn’t true of the black people caricatured in that medical leaflet or of the cartoon depicting Serena Williams indeed I have heard that Ms Williams, off the court, is a thoroughly charming and engaging individual (and not in the sleazy way Trump is).

UK Atheist


I wasn’t really comparing the two, as they are clearly very different people, nor was I suggesting Serena Williams deserved to be caricatured in such a way. I just am dubious that the motive behind this was racially motivated. As you suggest we sometimes gauge reaction incorrectly, but that is different from deliberately setting out to make a racial slur. I guess without reading the editors mind, we can’t ever be sure what the intent was of course.

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But the biggest problem isn’t the one person who drew the cartoon, rather it is an issue with those viewing it. Sadly, to far too many, a cartoon like that enhances and increases already resident bigotry and hatred and can seemingly give permission to act on that bigotry and hatred.


Which is why I referred to unintentional racism. I’m not convinced though that that makes it much better… one could make the argument that people in such positions (with such platforms) should aim higher

UK Atheist


It is similar in the United States.

Please see commercial below for Oscar Health Insurance:

I was even sanctioned for treating Black people by the same standards as White people when I was a paramedic.

Please consider the following points:

  1. Rastafarianism is a religion from the Carribbean Islands that sometimes regards marijuana as a sacrement.
  2. Rastafarians often have dreadlocks.
  3. It is believed that marijuana is a gateway drug that inevitably leads one–in gradual steps–into heroin addiction.
  4. Morphine sulfate is a crucial drug for treating a heart attack.
  5. Morphine is chemically related to heroin.
  6. Minorities are over-represented among the homeless drug addicts.

So, if I had a White executive who was having symptoms of a heart attack, I gave him morphine and all was well.

If–however–I ran on a Black man from the islands (with dreadlocks) who had the same symptoms, then I would get sanctioned for giving him morphine because “I was hurrying him down the road into heroin addiction” because I could safely assume that he was a marijuana user.

When I accused my superiors of racism, they told me that if we need to take race into consideration when treating patients with sickle cell anemia, then I should consider race when using morphine.

After all, how many homeless addicts relay that they were started on pills from their doctors, and that they turned to the street when their physicians cut them off.

So, I’m not treating people as individuals.

I included the video, as people tell me that I don’t remember it correctly, or that I’m somehow confabulating it.

If I was confabulating, then why would an entire health insurance company mount an ad campaign like this? It would be a tremendous waste of money.

So I stand by my perceptions.