Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

July 19, 2022 • 1:15 pm

This article about conflicts in anthropology involving gender and ethnicity comes from the website of Jonathan Turley, whose name I’d heard before but whose work and politics I didn’t know. His Wikipedia bio doesn’t give much clue into his politics (to be truthful, I didn’t look hard for it, since it seemed irrelevant to the story), I wondered simply because he cites a right-wing website below.

But Turley is no weirdo: here’s one bit from his Wikipedia bio:

Turley holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches torts, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is the youngest person to receive an academic chair in the school’s history. He runs the Project for Older Prisoners (POP), the Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislation Project.

I am assuming, then, that what he describes and quotes is accurate, and will give my views accordingly.  Here’s the article at hand, which relates to the last article we had about ethnicity (which, of course, reflects ancestry). Click screenshot to read:

I’ll be brief: there is a cadre of anthropologists who want to stop their colleagues from classifying skeletons by sex and by trying to find out their ancestry. The reason? Because it doesn’t comport with today’s “progressive” Leftist views. I’ll quote Turley:

There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy.  One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”

The conservative site College Fix quotes various academics in challenging the identification of gender and notes the campaign of the Trans Doe Task Force to “explore ways in which current standards in forensic human identification do a disservice to people who do not clearly fit the gender binary.”

Let’s take sex and ancestry separately. Turley’s prose is indented.

On gender and sex:

University of Kansas Associate Professor Jennifer Raff argued in a paper, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas,”  that there are “no neat divisions between physically or genetically ‘male’ or ‘female’ individuals.”  Her best selling book has been featured on various news outlets like MSNBC.

. . . However, Raff is not alone. Graduate students like Emma Palladino have objected  that “the archaeologists who find your bones one day will assign you the same gender as you had at birth, so regardless of whether you transition, you can’t escape your assigned sex.”

Well, given that sex is pretty close to a complete binary in humans, and is reflected and diagnosable in our bones bones—hence “Lucy“, A. afarensis, was female and “Turkana Boy“, H. ergaster was male—you determine biological sex from skeletons, not gender.

Is that a problem? I don’t see how. Even if our hominin relatives or ancestors did have concepts of gender beyond male and female, there are genuine scientific questions to be answered by studying biological sex from ancient remains.  What was the ratio of males to females in various places, and if it differed much from 50:50, why? If someone’s remains are associated with items, like Ötzi the hunter (actually a mummy), one can conclude something about ancient cultures and the possibility of differential sex roles. Is it important for scientists to debate whether Ötzi identified himself as a “they/them” given that we’ll never know the answer? Or are we forbidden to inspect the genitals? (He was a biological male).

Now it is of sociological value to determine whether our ancestors identified as “men and women” and saw only two genders, but if we can’t do that, it’s ludicrous to say that we shouldn’t identify remains on the basis of biological sex—a lot easier to do! I won’t give a list of scientific questions that can be addressed by knowing the sex of a fossil hominin, but there are lots, and yet some anthropologists want to stop all such research because hominins may not have had gender roles that matched their biological sex.

On ancestry and ethnicity:

Likewise for ancestry. It’s sometimes possible to guess one’s ethnicity from skeletal morphology, but it’s much more accurate to do DNA sequencing. (Sequencing of fossil DNA can tell us both biological sex and which group of either ancient or modern humans you most resemble genetically.) Yet some anthropologists want to stop that research, too. Turley:

Professors Elizabeth DiGangi of Binghamton University and Jonathan Bethard of the University of South Florida have also challenged the use of racial classifications in a study, objecting that “[a]ncestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”  The authors write that “we use critical race theory to interrogate the approaches utilized to estimate ancestry to include a critique of the continued use of morphoscopic traits, and we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy.”

The professors refer to the practice as “dangerous” and wrote in a letter to the editor that such practices must be changed in light of recent racial justice concerns.

“Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have all been reminded about the fragility of life, and the failures of our society to live up to the ideals enshrined in the foundational documents which established the United States of America over two centuries ago. Tackling these failures seems overwhelming at times; however, changes can be enacted with candid and reflexive discussions about the status quo. In writing this letter, we direct our comments to the forensic anthropology community in the United States in hopes of sparking a discussion about the long-standing practice of ancestry estimation and changes that are frankly long overdue.”

Once again, research is supposed to be squelched for ideological reasons. Yet estimating ancestry of remains can answer lots of interesting questions.  One, for example involves DNA sequencing of Neanderthals and modern humans. I would consider these to be different, long-diverged ethnic groups of a single species, not different species, for they could interbreed where they lived in the same area and also produce fertile hybrids.

That’s just a guess, but without sequencing their DNA, we wouldn’t know not only that they hybridized, but also that many of us still carry some ancient DNA from Neanderthals.  Where did the Denisovans belong? (We don’t know whether they were a different species of hominin from modern humans or simply an “ethnic group.”) What about H. erectus? Did they die out without issue, or are they related to any modern populations?  Do any of their genes still hang around in H. sapiens? (I don’t think we’ll answer these questions.)

It is the sequencing of DNA of people from different geographic areas (“races” if you will, but call them whatever you want) that has helped us unravel the story of human migration, how many times we left Africa and when, and when different groups established themselves in places like Australia and Polynesia, or crossed the Bering Strait into North America. DNA and estimation of ancestry has immensely enriched the story of human evolution and migration. That’s all from “ancestry estimation”, and you don’t even need a concept of “race” to answer these questions—only a concept of “ancestry” and “relatedness”. Nor does this research contribute to white supremacy, though of course some racists may coopt it.

In the interests of woke ideology, in other words, some anthropologists want to shut down two promising lines of research. I call that misguided and, indeed, crazy. If you despise white supremacy like most of us do, you don’t get rid of it it by banning anthropological genetics. If you want sympathy for people whose gender doesn’t match their biological sex, you don’t get it by stopping researchers from determining the biological sex of ancient human remains.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “Oh, what a world! What a world!”

51 thoughts on “Anthropological Wokeism tries to stymie research

  1. Jonathan Turley (U of C, 1983, BA) is one of the foremost civil libertarians in the country, and his website (Res Ipsa) is an excellent source on many topics, especially concerning matters related to freedom of expression. He is, without question, one of the most sensible voices valiantly doing battle against the anti-rational scourge of “wokeism”.

  2. I knew I had heard the name before. He testified in one of Trump’s impeachment trials. According to Wikipedia:

    “On December 4, 2019, Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, arguing against a Trump impeachment.[2][60][61][62] In his testimony, Turley objected to the effort to craft articles of impeachment around four criminal allegations: bribery, extortion, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance violations.[63] He argued that the evidence did not meet the standard definitions of those crimes …”

    1. But he also argued during the Clinton impeachment that a President need not commit an indictable crime to be impeached. His analysis depends on the political party of the transgressor. He also denounced the Jan 6 hearings for not being credible.

      1. Yes, but he’s done some anti-Republican stuff too! I couldn’t make out what his politics are. But why should we care; and why do you care? Does that make his reporting of what’s going on, supported by links and quotes, more dubious?

        Do you judge assertions by whether their possessor has done political things in the past that you don’t like?

        1. I don’t think it matters much for the analysis being discussed in this post as Anthropological Wokeism is uncontroversially bad in my book. But, in general, it can be helpful to know the political leanings of whoever is giving an opinion as well as knowing whether his political alignment or an interest in getting to the truth is primary.

          Turley’s participation in Trump’s defense is not a good sign even if his testimony in that case was correct. That he would risk even the appearance of defending Trump says a lot. He’s not wrong about wokeism but he is arguing the Right’s position even here. We just happen to agree with him in this case. We can be allies for the day but perhaps not longer!

        2. Turley has been a presence on network news as a legal commenter for a while now. Recently, he’s been doing the legal commentary (along with former SDNY assistant US Attorney and National Review contributor Andrew McCarthy) for the few minutes Fox News offers of it during and after the Jan. 6th subcommittee hearings — or at least for the five-and-a-half J6 hearings Fox News has so far seen fit to carry live.

          Turley’s a sharp legal mind and a keen analyst, and he calls it pretty straight. But he knows which side his bread is being buttered on, and he works hard to toss the Trumpists on Fox a crumb to run with whenever he can without abandoning his own credibility.

  3. Those poor dead people that can’t assert their gender and deny their sex! Their rights need to be protected. If they can’t use their own voice (they can’t) to tell us these things, they should at least have their privacy.

    Just kidding.

  4. How is it that race is a social construct and gender is a social construct, but people assume that people who lived in the past went by our social constructs? I think it more than passing likely that everyday people in the beforetime didn’t have the luxury of worrying about gender in the face of trying to put bread on the table.

  5. I was just told about some anthropology grad student (at a meeting at the University of York, UK) claiming that we should cease and desist from defining species by their reproductive abilities as that’s “gender normative.”

    1. I was wondering when this one-uppery would spread to dictates on how to discuss the sex lives of other species.

    2. Forgive me if I’m way off but I think this is what Sastra was trying to explain on another post – that this is what is meant by the common phrase “transgender rights” (for instance) – not that transgender individuals have rights like in the Bill of Rights, but they have a “right to be believed.”

      Sorry of that’s off, but …

      1. Surely we can look forward to a campaign against the standard operation in Drosophila genetics of sorting the flies by sex—and all the genetic tricks that involve making use of sex linkage. I can see it now: the mottos will be “fly justice”, and “sex linkage is heteronormativity”. Wait until word gets out about the classic eye color gene called “white”. And just wait until the wokies in Gender Study departments hear about
        Green Fluorescent Protein and all the other “trans genes”!

  6. In a nutshell, we should refrain from inferring sex from skeletal remains because we might hurt the feelings of dead people.

  7. I graduated from a PhD program in Bioinformatics in May 2021. During the 2021-2022 school year I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at University where I taught Organismal Form & Function and Animal Behavior. After the school year I quit because I refuse to pledge my allegiance to the Democratic Party and their anti-scientific beliefs. I just found a new job as a forklift driver in a manufacturing warehouse making $21/hr. I will never return to science or academia as long as political ideology are considered more important than objective truth.

    1. Well, remember that Republicans have more antiscientific beliefs than Democrats (they don’t accept evolution or global warming as much, for instance). But what university would make you quit if you didn’t pledge allegiance to the Democratic party? I can’t think of any?

    2. That might be a feature of that particular school, since it isn’t a problem everywhere. Where I am, I certainly don’t see any signs of erasing biological sex. Of course I am not sure what you mean by anti-scientific beliefs. …

  8. So I went and read the letter that Turley links to. First, it’s an over-long, ill-written ramble. But, their objection to evaluating the ancestry of skeletons seems to be that they don’t think you can do it becasue they think race/ancestry is not real.

    So they talk about: “… the debunked biological race concept”. Instead, they suggest that any indications of ancestry are merely: “… traits that we do not understand”, and that: “the heritability of morphoscopic traits remains unknown”.

    They sort of admit that this isn’t true, because it does work, when they say: “… we predict the critique of “well, it works.””, to which they offer only: “… just because you can [do it], does not mean you should”.

    They want to distinguish between the biological (skeletons) and socially constructed race, arguing that there is no connection, and that: “skeletal ancestry and skin color indicating social race are not the same thing”, and wanting: “… acknowledgement of the harm of connecting social race to skeletal traits”.

    So, overall, they “strive for the day when forensic anthropology provides more than lip service to the debunked biological race concept by actively ceasing and desisting with activities [such as evaluating the ancestry of skeletons] that substantiate it in the public consciousness”.

    And, lastly:

    “Between the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the homicides of numerous Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials, …”

    … though the US cops kill more whites than blacks.

    1. Re: “… though the US cops kill more whites than blacks.” But surely mentioning this fact without mentioning the ratios is disingenuous, no? I.e. in 2020 it was 459 whites to 243 blacks, with blacks constituting 13% of the population.

      1. But when controlled for number of interactions with the police, (or for poverty, which is a surrogate for crime) the two are killed in roughly equal frequency. Your fate in a stop depends on how afraid the cop is of however threatening you appear to be, not what race you are. Certainly Black people attract the attention of police much more frequently but the chance of getting killed each time they notice you is about the same. This has been covered so thoroughly that even foreigners know about it. Black people commit more crimes. The most dangerous thing a police officer does is to make a solo stop of a motor vehicle that is being operated suspiciously. Deep-tinted windows not rolled down as he approaches are the worst.

        This suggests that the police don’t stop whites only for actual offences and Blacks just to harass them. If they did, you would expect that the kill rate for Black stops would be much lower than for whites. Indeed, the evidence from woke cities is that police don’t stop Black people for minor offences like theft and illegal gun possession at all anymore, because prosecutors won’t bring charges. The police then look for excuses not to start a chain of events that might end in a shooting. So we can expect to see the rate of shootings per 1000 stops start to rise, as the denominator shrinks and includes only violent offences where a gun is often involved.

        1. Certainly all relevant considerations, indeed exactly the topics that need to be discussed when writing something like “US cops kill more whites than blacks.” Naturally, there are a number of things that one can see differently than in your analysis.

          1. Wil Reilly’s twitter feed is a one-stop shop for links to resources on this and related topics. His view (similar to other black public intellectuals) is like Leslie’s: there is some bigotry and discrimination by some police, but there is no good evidence that Black citizens who are committing crimes are killed by police at higher rates than yt citizens committing crimes; and lots of evidence that over the last 2 years police have deliberately looked the other way when murders and other violent crimes were committed by mostly ‘Black crowds at anti-racism protests (CHAZ, Kenosha, etc.).

            1. Surely stating that Wil Reilly’s view is “similar to (that of) other black public intellectuals” is misleading. Even if one grants that it may be similar to that of some other black public intellectuals, it would certainly be a small minority of them.

              1. Sorry was away from the computer all day. Jared, please don’t call my true statements “misleading”. This is not that kind of site. If I’m wrong (or more relevant if Reilly and Sowell and Loury and others are wrong) please tell me in what way.

  9. What, we’re not allowed to make estimations of sex and ancestry from archeological human remains any more? Why stop at that? What if they didn’t identify as human? You didn’t think of that one, did you?

    In the words of Bill Maher, “Memo to social Justice warriors: when what you’re doing sounds like an Onion headline, stop.”

  10. “we assert that the practice of ancestry estimation contributes to white supremacy…”

    Really? Do you? I assert that you’re idiots. I would actually aggress that you’re idiots, frankly. Assertion seems too mild.

    But of course, such assertions (or aggressions) have no bearing on the truth of the physical world. You can sit in a room and draw maps of whatever you think the street layout of Manhattan ought to look like without ever going out to look at the city, and lots of your friends can copy the maps and you can all agree about how great the maps are and point out how they all agree with each other, and note how beautiful your “city” is, in your opinion, but if you ever need to go somewhere in the actual city, they will be worse than useless.

  11. Here’s an article from Science dated Oct of 2021.

    “Forensic anthropologists can try to identify a person’s race from a skull. Should they?”

    In essence, forensic anthropologists are around 90% accurate in identifying race from a skull. However the articles is written almost as an admonition by the editors and anthropologists to forensic anthropologists to stop it as it seems to indicate that race is not a “social construction”.

    1. “Social construction” has the look and feel of the middle box of the cartoon with one scientist’s blackboard illustration of a theory, with the words “Here a miracle occurs” in the center, and the other scientist suggesting that the explanation needs a bit more fleshing out.

      What “Social construction” is and how it’s supposed to work are pretty important questions. But woke academicians typically respond to such requests with conversation stoppers such as “I’m not going to do your homework for you” and “you don’t believe it because you’re a white supremacist”.

    2. I wonder how this works with NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) and similar laws. If you find a skeleton, or a group of them, as you’re digging the foundation for a new building, what are you to do? If they’re Native American, I believe NAGPRA kicks in; if they’re not, it doesn’t, they’re just skeletons. Willful ignorance, encouraged by the article referred to by Turley, is probably not a good excuse.

  12. Woke folk making demands of the scientific community know nothing of the science, or science in general, that much is clear. I take this whole exercise to be about power, not truth. In fact they deny objective truth while assuming absolute authority to proclaim what the objective truth is.

  13. I’m old enough to remember philosopher of science Sandra Harding breaking with the rest of her field — after a painful divorce from which she emerged, to all appearances, an angry male basher- and claiming that all the ills of the world were due to “male science” and “male logic”, and calling for a revolution, with new ways of explaining everything through misapplication of metaphors of sexual assault and domination. The well-known paper on a feminist approach to glaciology is a prime example.

    Modern claims of “woke science” have the look and feel of Harding’s style, replacing “male” everywhere with “white supremacist” (although “male” is part of the description often enough). A bit reminiscent of the intelligent design folks replacing “creation” with “intelligent design” everywhere in the book Of Pandas and People. Not only aren’t the woke scholars informed by science, they’re not even very original.

  14. In Jennifer Raff’s book, after describing the discovery of women buried in warrior dress with weapons, there was a long digression about how we can’t know if they were women or not despite having female bodies. It was several pages of gratuitous nonsense.

    I mostly enjoyed the book, but there were a few places where I wanted to scream at her.

    1. Yes, what seems to be happening is Gender Identity advocates going back through history and turning strong, gender-nonconforming women into men. Or, rather, suggesting the (good) possibility.

      A female Viking warrior? There’s evidence that trans identities were common in the past. Quite possibly a man trapped in a female body. Some ancient tribes allowed women to hunt? Could very well be more evidence that trans identities were common in the past. Joan of Arc? Possibly a transman. Women who masqueraded as men to become doctors, lawyers, or enter some other occupation reserved for men? Trans. Not saying we’re sure, but it does fit in with our knowledge that trans people have always existed.

      It’s regressive and sexist, despite the fact that those making the suggestions probably see themselves as both progressive and feminist.

    2. And I remember what was possibly the same discovery, where it was a viking burial. What I saw was it being used to do some bashing of the modern patriarchy, since obviously this singular burial proved that the viking warrior culture was all about treating men and women as co-equals. There was plenty motivation to gender-ize the skeleton.

    3. Years ago I bought a book containing a number of essays on the subject of animal cognition. They were all very interesting, except one that brought in a “feminist perspective”, by Sandra Harding. It’s a subject I care about, and the chapter by Harding was so bad that I had to toss the book, just like the proverbial batch of brownies when you find out it contains a touch of dog poop.

  15. Another battle site in the war of Woke colonizing sex with gender.

    This won’t stop until keen minds immediately stamp out attempts to slide “gender” in and out as an overlay or parasite on sex. The line must be held. This should have been called out and denounced, loudly, on principle of rational cognition and objective reality, at the first attempt

    ” to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time.” *

    There is no such thing as “biological gender.” But the writer has been stunned into affirming the void concept. It’s as if the writer had their senses knocked out by a subtle poke from Woke. Allowing this phrase to slip in without denouncing its use enables the ‘fork.’ …. ‘sex’ being an ‘assigned physical thing’ when handy to admit a smidgen of reality, but more often “sex” denounced as so trivial it should be colonized by gender, which gives the ‘person’ [can I say that?] power to instantiate zitzelf as many times as desired.

    Aside: didn’t anyone make a mocking video over this?
    “Lucy was so private, she erased her Instagram as she lay dying, on which she declared her various transitions.”
    “It will be tough to go by constructed gender. Lucy’s mom, for instance, locked her in her room when a trip to the clinic to cut something off was immanent.

    Also: denouncing the term “biological sex,” and “birth sex.” Just sex, please. “What is your sex?”

    As for the “assigned” thing, I suggest the response “You were mistakenly assigned the wrong sex at birth? You must be really mad at God, who did the assigning. But I’m still overjoyed you recognize the fact that you were created and assigned by God. Please forgive His error, and then pray to Him to ask Him to relieve your dysphoria.” (I dearly want to add: “but don’t cut anything off.”)

  16. Prediction: various fields of research become ‘blanded out’ by wokism, until nobody wants to do them anymore. Then, in future, more sensible times, it is discovered that there is information to gained by studying such subjects in a rational manner. Just goes to show how rich the west is in that in can afford to pander such nonsense.

    1. Pandering to nonsense, if done on a large enough scale for a substantial length of time, imposes considerable costs. This rule was illustrated by the history of biological science and its sequelae (like agronomy) in a large, Eurasian galaxy far away but not so long ago.

  17. One would think that biological anthropologists would adhere to the most basic methods of scientific practice. But explicitly injecting one’s ideological biases into one’s research just leaves me cold. It remains to be seen whether we’re seeing a passing fad or whether we’re witnessing an anti-science movement that will sully the field for the long term.

  18. I am traveling, so I cannot go get the book from my library and quote it. But this was addressed in a textbook on forensic analysis of skeletal remains.
    What I remember was along the lines of “We understand that people in the field may have strong views about how race is perceived to be imaginary, but the people waiting for your results do not want a lecture on that, what they want is for you to do your job and analyze the skeletal remains so that you can tell if the body belongs to their missing relative. Race determination of the remains is a tool to allow you to exclude that possible identification, or follow up with more detailed analysis.

    I was on Saipan, in my student years, and we located a human femur in a collapsed fortification. Those sites had been used during the US invasion as command posts, fighting positions, field hospitals, and long-term shelter for civilians, especially children. Towards the end of the battle, US casualties occurred there as well. Our people looked at and thoroughly measured the bone, and concluded that it had belonged to a young adult male, of East Asian heritage, and that he had been a strong and psychically well developed individual So, almost certainly a Japanese soldier. Using the location of the find and the timeline of the battle, we could narrow down the time of his demise to within one or two days, and place him in one of the units known to have fortified and tried to hold that particular part of the island.

  19. Please don’t use “ethnicity” as a substitute for “race”. This will only introduce more confusion into the discussion, not reduce it. “Ethnicity” refers to groupings of persons on the basis of a whole range of characteristics, including race, religion, political affiliation, language, dress, diet, degree of sedentarism, urbanism, etc. To give just one example, the Irish Travellers regard themselves and are regarded by others as a distinct ethnicity vis-à-vis the Irish, but they are racially or biologically or genetically the same as the Irish.

  20. Your buddy Richard Dawkins has been attacked on this issue by his own humanist friends but they forget he is a biologist first and humanist second!!! Hard to argue humans long ago had discovered it is difficult to answer the question “WHAT IS A WOMAN?” Ketanja Brown Jackson said only a biologist can answer that, but people get mad when a biologist says something about the subject!!!

  21. I stumbled across this website today. It is refreshing to see scholars getting upset about this woke-ism.

    I want to provide an explanation of its origin. All of this is based in historial fact. You can google this stuff and put this picture together to verify. I am a lifetime Democrat, liberal, progressive. I am a scientist: I have a bunch of publications in peer-reviewed journals, I am a peer reviewer, have been a federal study section reviewer, I train and teach people in research concepts and methods, etc. I am tenured. At a big place, not a podunk. My first Anthro class was with Dana Cope. I have “sexed” primate hip bones and chins. {Although I have to admit that when out on the streets, check the ankles and the Adams Apple.] If I reveal more, my job will be in jeopardy.

    All of this is Marxism. Hegel strove to understand what drove history. The answer for him was the “Hegelian Dialectic.” Marx, rightly, aspired to understand “oppression:” the Dickensonian exploitation of man by man, with power that accounts for the curable misery in society. Curable: with so much wealth, why must anyone go hungry?

    If only Marx could understand this, and figure out how to un-do this, he would save humanity. Frankly, this is the goal of all of us in Academia.

    Marx decided that it all boiled down to Hegelian Dialectics: oppressor / oppressed. He also decided that all of this oppression was financial: the owners of the means of production and the laborers who carried out the production labor. His solution was a resolution of owner / laborer dialectic: Communism where all own communally and all labor.

    He and his followers thought WWI would brutally reveal how the haves exploited the have-nots. And prompt the Revolution. Hegel noted history advances, progresses, by revolutions – French, etc. – so Marx wanted a worker revolution, with the solution of workers owning means of production.

    When this revolution did not manifest, Marxists modified the idea: the oppression was not merely economic, but social. IOW: the oppression is the values and institutions and beliefs in society. This is the Frankfurt School.

    Since then, the Enemy, for the Marxists, has been Our Prevailing Culture. We are oppressed by our own values. And, these values are sold to us by our Oppressors. IOW: we all believe in Judeo-Christianity, male and female, Work Ethic, capitalism, Don’t Steal, chastity, etc.

    To be “woke” is the same as “consciousness raising” of the 1960s. Someone informs you that gender roles are to use and exploit you, so you start seeing things in that lens. So, you reject sex roles and are liberated.

    A big connector from Frankfurt School to the present is: The Original Port Huron Statement. From the SDS. Go look this up.

    The enemy of the Marxists is Our Prevailing Society. To solve Oppression, they believe we need to undermine the Cultural Hegemony. The pillars of our society. Ask yourself: if you wanted to undercut the prevailing cultural institutions of our society. what would you do? Male/Female gender roles is part of it. So gender has been targeted.

    Look up “the slow march through the institutions.” It is all Marxism rolling out slowly, versus a quick takeover like Russia.

    1. The school of thought responsible for this anti-rational, anti-Enlightenment drift is Postmodernism. Some aspects of Postmodernism are rooted in Marxism- see Critical Race Theory. Certainly Marxism has continued to influence academics. But Postmodernism/ Deconstructivism is a different theory, not just a new name for Marxism. The way it has trickled down into our culture: art, science, journalism, politics, education, is destructive. The fact that some people in academia are concerned about hiding their name in this forum is representative of Postmodernism”s anti-liberal impact on the Left.

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