Understanding Woke Jargon


School activists employ an array of new words and phrases to describe their beliefs and goals. If you hear many of these phrases and can’t figure out what they mean, that’s because it’s by design. This vocabulary is intended to mislead – to make harmful and extreme ideas sound admirable and to conceal meaning through ambiguity.

Here are links to very comprehensive glossaries created by others:

Below we provide a very quick and basic list of some of the most commonly used words and phrases comprehensive guides created by others that will help you understand the actual meaning – in plain language – of the most common words and phrases you’re hearing from education activists at your school. If you want to get involved in combating the the ideology that is taking over our schools, one of the first things you must do is understand what the activists really mean.

Antiracism: Everyone should be opposed to racism. However, “antiracism” is an Orwellian phrase whose meaning is the exact opposite of how it sounds. To be an “antiracist” you must agree that our society, in every aspect, is racist and that the remedy is to embrace sweeping new forms of racial discrimination. (This term is sometimes spelled with a hyphen.)

Schools frequently assign the book “How to be an Antiracist” written by activist and writer Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi writes that “the most threatening racist movement is…the regular American’s drive for a ‘race-neutral’” society. Kendi has admitted what “antiracism” really means in practice: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” In other words, supporting “antiracism” actually means supporting racism — discriminating against people based on the color of their skin.

“Antiracism” is incredibly destructive to our schools and communities. Its goal is to separate people into racial identity groups and then encourage feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and resentment toward the other groups. It divides our kids and our society into good people and bad people. The good people are those who publicly devote themselves to supporting “antiracist” demands. The bad people are not just those who commit acts of actual racism, but those who retain the belief — articulated so beautifully by Martin Luther King Jr — of “judging people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” In other words, whether you’re a racist no longer depends on your actions. It depends on whether you unquestioningly obey the demands of “antiracist” activists.

Equity: This word is commonly understood to mean fairness or justice, but it is now used by activists to mean something much more specific: equality of outcomes between different racial groups. When you hear activists demand “equity,” what they’re actually saying is that the basic American value of equality of opportunity — that the rules should apply equally to everyone, regardless of race — is racist, because equality of opportunity doesn’t always produce equality of results. The solution is “equity,” or attempting to achieve equality of results through discrimination. An example of “equity” is the adoption by elite universities of quotas that deny admission to highly-qualified Asian students in order to reduce the proportion of Asians in the student body, regardless of academic merit.

Critical Race Theory: This is an academic term for a set of beliefs about race in America. We suggest reading this article for more information on it. All of the terms in this guide are important building blocks of CRT, so by reading them you will gain a useful understanding of this theory’s overall doctrine and goals. 

Systemic or Structural Racism: Under Critical Race Theory, systemic racism is the only permissible explanation for differences in outcomes between racial groups. The concept of “systemic racism” is intended to be hard to pin down: If you ask how a “system” — as opposed to individual people and their individual actions — can be racist, you will not get a coherent answer. Accusing our entire society of structural racism is part of a strategy that seeks to justify radical, destructive political changes. If everything is racist, then everything must be torn down.

Social Justice: This phrase is cleverly designed to make radical political views sound non-political and virtuous. You’re not opposed to justice, are you? Because that would make you a supporter of injustice. The phrase itself has no concrete meaning, which is part of why it is so useful. If you hear school officials or teachers advocating “social justice,” it is important to ask them what specifically they mean — and if they believe that anyone who disagrees is an advocate for injustice.

Microaggression: This word is defined by activists as an interaction between people of different races, cultures, or genders in which a member of a “victim group” is subjected to subtle but powerful attack — ones the attacker is unaware he or she is carrying out. Legitimizing the concept of “microaggressions” serves several important political goals for radical activists: It puts everyone in the “oppressor” racial and gender categories on the defensive, since you can be guilty of “aggression” based entirely on someone else’s say-so. And crucially, encouraging kids to think in terms of “microaggressions” encourages them to be emotionally fragile, to embrace a grievance mindset, and to think of themselves as either oppressors or victims. These are all important political-psychological goals of woke activists.

Implicit Bias or Implicit Association: This is a theory — unsupported by research — that every person is secretly racist, even if that person doesn’t feel racist, act racist, or believe in treating people differently based on race. A new trend in schools is administering an “Implicit Bias Test” where students are asked to quickly associate negative or positive words with pictures of people of different races. These discredited “tests” are designed to prove that everyone is racist. They are emotionally manipulative pseudoscience and if your school is using them, you should protest vigorously.

White Fragility: One of the core beliefs of Critical Race Theory is that all white people are racist, whether they think they are or not. But how should activists handle white people who do not believe they are racist? Instead of trying to convince them using facts and evidence, it can be effective to attack their character. That’s where “white fragility” comes in. If a white person denies being racist, or becomes defensive or upset when accused of “privilege” or racism, or rejects any aspect of Critical Race Theory, he or she will be accused of “fragility.” It’s not that they disagree — it’s that they’re too emotionally weak to accept the truth. This is an incredibly cynical way of avoiding a real discussion and simply attacking someone’s character in the hope of putting them on the defensive. 

Social-Emotional-Learning: Technically speaking, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is not a part of Critical Race Theory. It is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. People with strong social-emotional skills are better able to cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially. However, since CASEL added “lever for equity and social justice” to their framework in 2017, social justice and CRT have increasingly been infused into SEL lessons and curricula.