Two examples of wokeness: cancer care and moccasins

September 3, 2023 • 9:30 am


This first link below was sent by my partner in crime Luana, and is from John Lucas’s Substack site “Bravo Blue”. (Lucas was any Army ranger who became an attorney.)

Lucas is decrying the “woke propaganda” to which he was exposed when he checked into the hospital for cancer care. Click below to read, and subscribe if you read often:

An excerpt:

I recently experienced my own personal encounter with this propaganda when filling out a pre-surgery questionnaire at my hospital. This is the story.

I am a cancer patient. Since last January I have been diagnosed with two types of cancer that have necessitated three surgeries so far. For my most recent surgery, I was referred to an oncological surgeon at the VCU Medical Center, which is associated with Virginia Commonwealth University.

At this point, I must add a personal advisory note: The VCU Medical Center enjoys a superb national reputation. Other members of my family have been treated there and have received superb care. Nothing I say here is intended to disparage any of the individual care-givers at the hospital in any way. All, from my surgeon to the kind lady who escorted me to my car after my overnight stay, were uniformly kind and professional. Any criticism I may have is directed at the government-sponsored infection of the medical system with the WOKE virus, not at any individual physician or other medical or support staff.

The forms:

When I checked in at the hospital for my pre-surgery consultation, because I was a new patient for them, they gave me the usual medical history form to complete. After completing it, I turned to a second two-page form. I printed my name at the top and, rather unthinkingly, began to fill it out. I was in a bit of a hurry to complete it before I was called back to see my surgeon, so at first I did not pay a great deal of attention to it. So, I dutifully answered the first question, which asked, “What is your “Sexual Orientation?” That should, however, have been an immediate red flag, causing me to wonder, “What on earth does this have to do with cancer surgery?” But out of habit and without thinking, I checked the block for “Straight (Not lesbian or gay).” Had I read it closer and given it a moment’s thought, I would have been nonplussed by the other answers on the menu: “Lesbian,” “Gay,” “Bisexual,” “Something else,” or “Don’t know.”

The first page:

The next question roused me out of my inattentiveness: “How do you describe your gender?” It then gave a menu of six possible answers: “Male,” “Female,” “Transgender male,” “Transgender female,” “Other” and – again – “Unknown.” Like the other questions it also included an option “not to disclose.” My surgeon’s notes from our consult include the notation that I was a “79 year old male.” In view of that rather obvious observation, how or why I was given an option to refuse to disclose my gender is unclear.

At that point I knew something was very wrong.

For me, the final straw was the third question: “What was your sex assigned at birth?” The options were “Male,” “Female,” “Unknown” (again), or “X.  I was left to guess what “X” is; it was not defined.

The woke questions, avers Lucas, are irrelevant to cancer care, though they could have been relevant if, say, he was there for treatment in urology or gynecology. “Sex assigned at birth”, of course, is a phrase that really angers me, because it’s not accurate. Even if doctors use secondary sexual characteristics like genitalia to diagnose sex, sex is not “assigned at birth”, as if it were something arbitrary that doctors decide. It is observed at birth, even if what you really want to observe is whether a newborn has the biological equipment that evolved to make either small and mobile or large and immobile gametes. But genitalia show an almost perfect correlation with biological sex, so they’re a useful surrogate way to determine it.

But “sex assigned at birth” is becoming more frequent despite its inaccuracy. Why? Because it plays right into gender activism. One’s gender is, of course, often self-assigned, though the vast majority of people bear a social role of gender that corresponds to their biological sex.  But you don’t have to distort the biological definition of sex to placate gender activists. And it also misleads people about science. The gender activists answer: “Forget the science; we’re making sex conform to gender.”

But I digress; here’s page 1 of the form:

But wait! There’s more!

The questions continued on a second page with more inanities.

It asked, for example, what pronouns I use, and – again – the option to say that I what pronouns I use is “unknown.” It occurred to me that a person who is unaware of what pronouns they use may belong in a hospital ward other than the cancer ward. A separate question inquired whether I “presently have” breasts, a vagina, a penis and “prostate/testes,” (They apparently think a man cannot have one without the other.) with instructions to check off all that you have. The most unintentionally hilarious part of the form was the instruction to “write in the space beside the organs listed if there is another word you would like your healthcare provider to use to refer to that body part.” Had I been thinking more clearly at the time, I could have had a lot of fun with that one.

I answered all the questions after the first one by only a single printed “I am a man.” Enough said.

Lucas found that these forms are widespread, and are apparently pushed by the government: the Centers for Disease Control:

Later when I had returned home to complete my recovery, I began to investigate the origins of this form. I quickly found that a very large number of hospitals and medical schools use this or a similar form. For example, the University of Utah health care system has a similar set of questions that it says it will ask each patient every six months.

After all, you may be genderfluid and your pronouns could change.

I discovered that this agenda is being pushed by the federal government. The CDC’s web site lists the questions that medical providers should ask. Its recommended questions are substantially the same as those on the VCU Medical’s questionnaire. However, there are some differences. In addition to the options provided by VCU Medical for “Gender identity,” the CDC recommends an option to specify “Genderqueer/gender nonconforming neither exclusively male nor female.” For “Sexual orientation” it adds, “Queer, pansexual, and/or questioning.” The CDC also suggests other possible pronouns such as “Ze,” “Zim,” and “Zirs.”

But they left out “leaf”!



Reader Gregory called my attention to this Eddie Bauer ad:

Here’s another view. These look just like the work boots that were de rigueur when I was in college, along with Army fatigue jackets and jeans. (It was the proletarian look.)

Although to me this looks like a conventional work boot, Eddie Bauer claims that it incorporates features of the moccasin, a form of Native American footwear.  I swear I can’t see any resemblance (see below to compare) but Eddie Bauer apparently feels it has to acknowledge it to show its commitment to social justice.

The blue link in the box goes to this site, where Eddie Bauer promises to investigate which products have features that have been appropriated from indigenous peoples.

Here, however, are three pair of genuine Native American moccasins shown on Wikipedia. (They were often beaded.) They bear NO resemblance to the Eddie Bauer “Moc Toe boots,” even in the toes:




But why stop at Native Americans? I’m sure there are many products with features adopted from cultures throughout the world.  Below is an Eddie Bauer woman’s dress that is clearly culturally appropriated from the culture of Rajasthan in India, known for its block prints very similar to the ones on this dress. This is blatant and unacknowledged appropriation from people of color:.

To be fair, the Eddie Bauer site also notes they’re starting a partnership with a Native American collective, which is great, but do they have to flaunt this? Of course they do, or they’ll get slammed on social media: the kiss of death for a company.

That said, at least the partnership accomplishes something.

62 thoughts on “Two examples of wokeness: cancer care and moccasins

  1. 1) The data that VCU is collecting likely is related to equity, in the sense of whether protected classes (whether de jure or de facto) are getting the same care as more presumably privileged people. That’s the innocent construction, anyway, and has some merit.
    2) Moc toe – If there were no cultural appropriation we’d all still be in the Neolithic Age, or earlier. (PS – Jerry dressed exactly like me back in the day!)

    1. The problem with any data collected means a lot of dubious claims could be made since a lot of it is based on feelings .

      This pandering affects women the most by the usage of these statistics eg a lot of sexual predators are now reported to be women whereas in fact they are male. This could be interpreted in the future that women for some unknown reason at this point in time started becoming violent sexual predators. This principle could also be equally applied to medical data.

      The most infuriating aspect of this is the time and money devoted to this nonsense. A better idea would be maybe just helping the vast majority of people get better and to stop pandering to the self deluded few.

      Which matters more reality vs fantasy.

  2. While Coel’s response is very witty, and Amador’s makes some sense, isn’t it time for some kind of organized resistance? Let’s all take Lucas’ stance: male, XY, or female, XX, maybe add gamete size?

    1. Personally, when I can be bothered, I answer such questions as “Other : Wombat”.
      Never having been challenged on it, I’ve never had to expand that to :
      W aste
      O f
      M oney
      B rains
      A nd
      T ime.

      For a default answer, this has the benefits of being accurate and uninformative.

    2. The only one that makes sense to me is this, as I think doctors would really need to know up front: “[ ] I have surgically enhanced or constructed body parts (Please list):”

      How about a hospital record-keeping system based on the IRS Short form vs Long form?
      Let the folk who have the need to endlessly list everything about how they identify and think and feel at any given moment, can use the Long form.

  3. Asking about sexual orientation might be useful as an alert that a male might be carrying HIV. And one other question about pronouns might be of use so that personnel will politely use the preferred ones. But that is stretching things as far as sanely needed. The others are just flaunting — no — flogging an ideological position.

    The Eddie Bauer thing is walking on thin ice. The catalog and it products are widely loved from the left and right, but the conservative right could easily be triggered by this one since it’s so obviously out of place.

      1. I may be out of date, but in the earlier years HIV was most frequently encountered in gay males who had multiple sex partners.

    1. “Asking about sexual orientation might be useful as an alert that a male might be carrying HIV.”

      Then have a question about whether you’re HIV+ (I’ve seen forms that ask this question, which is relevant to some medical procedures). I can’t think of any medical procedure where my sexual orientation would be relevant.

    2. “Asking about sexual orientation might be useful as an alert that a male might be carrying HIV.”
      I had to fill out a form just last Friday that asked “Are you aware of having any infectious diseases (such as HIV or hepatitis)?”. Clear and to the point. If you really need to be sure, do a blood test.
      I can kind of see the point of asking about sexual behaviour when donating blood (because of the risk of a recent HIV infection that doesn’t trigger the test yet, that would endanger the recipient), but as a regular patient, that’s none of their damn business.

  4. Never underestimate the lengths Marxists will go to get power, or here maybe control. The banality of it is in part their expertise – combined with postmodernism.

    Alchemy – see Hegel, Rousseau. That’s the thing nobody can believe – on a survey, really? Footwear sales?

    Yes, they want total power and control, through the alchemy of dialectical synthesis.

  5. Re wokeness and hospital forms, I recently had an opposite experience. For “sex,” the form had only “male” or “female.” I asked the nurse, “Are those my only choices.” She smiled.

    1. Reminds me of the little girl who looked at her mother’s driver’s license and said “Oh Mommy, I’m sorry you got an “F” in sex.”

    2. At the hospital, I am already pre-stressed, and don’t need a new quiz— “Check off the organs that you presently have.”

      They appendix isn’t listed, yet mine was removed in an emergency operation that also removed part of my intestines. And just last week a doctor on a Zoom call informed me “I see you’ve had your gallbladder removed,” which is very much not true, a mistake in my chart, but now (apparently) I have to be concerned about that organ, too.

      Those organ’s history was relevant to me. Who decided that reproductive organs get top billing over all of the others?

  6. OMG. People are already in a vulnerable and anxious state when they are consenting for a lifesaving surgery. It’s truly sick that they are required to fill out such a trivial and stupid questionnaire.

  7. My health care providers have asked me similar questions, also questions about ethnicity, for my profile on their website. I have no problem answering them. I’m not sure why I should be so incensed about it.

    1. Right, that’s how Marxists use dialectical synthesis to forward their own political objectives – their long march through the institutions by necessity takes reasonable starting materials and seems mundane, or perhaps progressive.

      Then the Trojan Horse words are fixed, and the political objectives unfold – queering medicine, for instance.

  8. If asked my “sex assigned at birth” I would just cross out the last two words, and then submit the obvious answer.

    1. But not “if you are a male, do you have paternal instincts”?
      Not knowing you, I don’t know how many males there are in this conversation, but the number of males (by any self-consistent measure) is definitely greater than the number of people with paternal instincts.

  9. Recently, I decided to seek out a new primary care doctor in Boston. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is in network with a variety of Boston’s top hospitals. I opted to get an appointment with a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess who specializes in reproductive medicine, given that 95% of my medical needs as sexually active, single woman about to go through menopause are gynecological, urinary, and reproductive. Basically, I need a) treatment and potentially preventative treatment for recurrent UTI’s, b) routine STD testing, Pap smears, and colon and breast cancer screening, c) discussion about hormone-replacement therapy (HRT), and d) discussion about possibly freezing what eggs I have left. So, I thought I was making a decent decision in selecting a reproductive medicine doc. Boy, was I wrong. Here’s how trying to establish care went down. Before my first appointment, they required me to get registered in their system via a phone interview. During the phone interview, I was asked a barrage of questions. As with Lucas’ experience, the questions focused on my gender and sex. I opted out of answering all of them and provided feedback to the interviewer that asking those questions was intrusive and a distraction from my medical care. I thought the issue would end when I got off the phone. On the day of my first appointment, a male doctor came into the room and proceeded to drill me about the gender and sex questions I’d opted out of answering on the phone. When I said it was invasive, he interrupted me saying he was actually “just respecting my autonomy to tell him my gender.” I asked him to stop asking me questions I’d opted out of, but he continued to go through the list. I considered leaving at that point but stuck it out a little longer. Eventually, we got around to why I was there: I wanted a Pap smear and a referral for preventative UTI treatment. He was more than willing to send me off to a gynecologist, but he refused to give me a Pap smear. I didn’t need one that day, but I wanted examination for abnormal cells. Nope. He just kept repeating that the “recommendations” stated Pap smears were only recommended every so many odd years. I said, OK, but I don’t remember when I last had one. He still refused, as I’d said whenever I did have one it was normal. Upshot: I was forced to answer questions about sex and gender and could not get a Pap smear. I walked out. It’s been about a month. I still need to find a PCP. Woke ideology has created a barrier to me getting routine medical care. I have the sense that the doc at Beth Israel would’ve been keen to harvest tissue from my arm had I said I thought I was a man.

    1. That is appalling and I sorry you had to endure that. I know all too well recurrent utis. My deepest sympathies are with you they are vile.

      Perhaps we can identity as fairies or rocks or ?? And tell them they have to decide the silly questions answers and if they probe further tell them educate themselves as the answers are obvious.

      The real problem is the erosion of trust with the medical community and the patients. If you can’t trust your doctor to understand reality how can you trust them with your health.

  10. My health care conglomerate, a big one on the West Coast, lists “American” as a choice for ethnicity. I thought that interesting.

    For ethnicity, very few sites list an option “Jewish” (or Ashkenanzi, Sephardic, etc.). I will thus click “other.” One site does list Jewish as an option, and I suspect it was because of user request.

    Most medical sites specifically ask if you are or are not Hispanic, but I’m not sure why.

    1. On this side of the Atlantic, we still frequently get questionnaires with “European” as an option under “Ethnicity”. Haven’t they heard of Brexit? Or are they collecting information for when Suella wants to intern the “usual suspects”?

      I wonder how George Takei (“Sulu”) would respond to meeting the questionnaire you did? Somehow, I’ think I’d see it on his Mastodon @feed.

      1. My partner is Armenian from Iran. As with many immigrants from non-Western parts of the world, she has all sorts of difficulty trying to figure out how to fill out American census forms. The forms try to tell her that she’s Asian and white.

          1. That’s a matter of debate amongst Armenians. Some Armenian-Americans consider themselves white, while others do not. My partner does not.

            Many Middle Eastern and North African Americans object to being catalogued as white, which the U.S. census. Though the census may change that.

  11. Maybe the questionnaire is meant to decide what your ward should be. We recently had some problems with a male insisting he was female and refusing to go to a male ward. I have little sympathy for these shenanigans, but he was put in an isolation room, male nor female. Unnecessarily occupying an isolation room, but luckily it was not needed for real isolation cases at that moment.
    For all clarity, I think that questionnaire is not just ridiculous, but possibly infringing on privacy. I think most of this stuff is promoted by ‘gender activists’. 99+% of people are biologically male or female and identify as such. The other 1- % should be gently handled as individual cases. And no, I don’t think they should necessarily be hospitalised in the psychiatric ward, but I strongly oppose to take sex identification as a reason to admit a person to a biologically opposite -as opposite to their biological sex- ward.
    Luckily 99+ of my patients are in day-ward, which is unisex.

    1. Yes indeed, “gender” identification is just a belief, maybe individually truly held but we do not indulge christians or jews or atheists or many other identifications, Klingon springs to mind, to choose the ward for hospitalization and they may also have truly held beliefs.

  12. The most unintentionally hilarious part of the form was the instruction to “write in the space beside the organs listed if there is another word you would like your healthcare provider to use to refer to that body part. […] I could have had a lot of fun with that one.”

    “I don’t know about you … is it ‘Dr’, or what? … but I call mine ‘John’, ‘Paul’, ‘George’ and ‘Ringo’, widdershins from the (my) left.”

  13. Comment #14 (“I think most of this stuff is promoted by ‘gender activists’”) gets to an important point: the origin of these travesties. Suppose that “astrology activists” tried to insert their obsessions into medical forms (e.g., “What is your zodiac sign?”, “List your personal planets”, etc. etc.). Having identified the culprits, medical officials could then refuse to allow their nonsense, and fire the “activists” for wasting everyone’s time.

    1. Insect eating activism
      Tattoo activism
      Body piercing activism
      Homeopathic medicine activism

      All obviously medically “holistic” (also from the Marxism lexicon).

    1. I get why they ask every time. There are medical reasons related to (biological) sex governing how often a person can donate, what fractions can be used, and a history of pregnancy. Biological sex doesn’t change between visits of course but verifying sex is one additional way to make sure the blood came from the person we think it did. The whole “positive identification” argument goes out the window if “sex” can change in the sense that the donor now identifies as a different gender from the records.

      The Red Cross no longer collects blood for donation in Canada — it got taken away from them over one or the other of the tainted blood scandals in the 1990s. The Canadian Blood Transfusion Service asks for sex “assigned” at birth — [teeth grit] — and thus avoids asking men if they have ever been pregnant. Clinic nurses have told me that a person who refuses to indicate their birth sex — “how dare you dead-name me!” — cannot be accepted as a donor. This probably pisses off fewer people per month than the Red Cross approach.

      Blood donors are getting scarce as the baby boomers whose parents remembered the wartime transfusion drives that saved the lives of so many battle casualties age out of the donor pool. The donor system can’t afford to antagonize any narcissistic trans person who thinks they are so special they need such indulgence. But non-trans donors ought to show forbearance toward the clinic staff who are only trying to do their best to get an irreplaceable medical substance out of people and into where it is needed. If you’re an obvious man and you’re asked if you have ever been pregnant, just smile and say, “No.” This is a gift you’re giving, not a service you’re buying.

      1. “This is a gift you’re giving, not a service you’re buying.” Thanks that’s such a good reminder of an instance in which it really is easier and better to be kind.

  14. “Moc toe” is a cobbler’s term of art for the u-shaped stitching. Supposedly derived from North American Indian footwear, though it is not shown in the Wikipedia photos supplied as examples.
    Cultural appropriation of moccasins started with the voyageurs.

    1. Native American footwear has a great deal in common with ancient European footwear, which makes sense, since they were using essentially the same raw materials to solve the same problem.
      Certainly, an ancient shoe found at Wood Quay, Dublin, if introduced here without context would be thought a moccasin.
      What really makes the pictured Native American shoes stand out is the beadwork, which of course involved European glass beads. Prior to that, designs were made with porcupine quills, but that is a much less durable material and limited in color and intricacy of pattern.
      It seems like someone decided to associate soft-soled leather footwear with Native Americans, for simplicity’s sake or just marketing. This company and others have jumped on the woke bandwagon, ritually offering trendy gestures of submission.

  15. Operating under the assumption that the CDC’s recommendations do not necessarily emanate from a position of pure, unadulterated woke idiocy, I wanted to read their explanation and unpack it a little. This is what they say:

    Asking for sexual orientation and gender identification information will allow providers to provide services that might be necessary. What are some examples?
    “services include appropriate preventive screenings, assessments of risk for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, discussions about parenting, and effective interventions for behavioral health concerns that can be related to the experiences of anti-LGBT stigma. An opportunity for transgender people to share information about their SO/GI in a welcoming and patient-centered environment opens the door to a more trusting patient–provider relationship.”

    The possibly controversial part really begins with the phrase “discussions about parenting and effective interventions.” Basically, the providers would like/need to know if the client/patient self-describes as transgender, since such individuals are known to have a very high prevalence of “behavioral” (i.e. psychiatric) problems. [This is actually quite true; the prevalence of psychiatric disease is far higher in the transgender population. See Hanna, et al 2019: “Psyciatric disorders in the US transgender population”, Ann. Epidemiol. Vo 39.]. If the patient/client IS transgender, the providers would also like to maximize the degree of trust they have in their provider- this is entirely natural and understandable.

    While these questions may seem obtrusive and silly to many, I think it’s also true that health care providers would really want to have this information about some of the patients they treat.
    So maybe , rather than wokeness run amuck, it comes down to a clunky information system that is unable to identify the right subset of patients that really need to be asked these questions.

    1. This is dialectical synthesis. It is blending politics with medicine to “sublate” (Marcuse) them into a higher entity – aufheben. The dialectic, by design, would appear reasonable. Notice the hidden but unmistakably Marxist assertiveness ” opens the door “. That’s all – it is an unalloyed good, case closed, because this document says so. You see?

      We trust doctors know to apply principles of medicine without a Marxist interfering.

      1. Agree with Mark Clark. The questions look to be soliciting information appropriate to care and interactions. Collecting such information at the outset seems to me better than having it confronted in the course of interactions or treatment.
        I do not agree with Thyroid Planet, whose understanding of Marx is deficient.

        1. It is the dialectic that is Marxist. This is no secret – Hegel, Marx, Marcuse – this is in the Marxist literature. It is where Critical Race Theory came from. I’m not sure what is “deficient”.

    2. When used anonymously this information also has a potential value in investigating questions of access to medical care, the kinds of services that need to be provided, etc.

      1. Good point – information that would be used to control access, on an intersectional group basis – all anonymous, of course.

  16. One thing I’ll add to my previous comments :

    The woke as I see it is the Outer School of the Marxism cult, interested but not so deeply committed yet, performing activism, or praxis that creates pitiful survey add-ons/rewrites as above that sarcasm/ only old grumpy people complain about /sarcasm. This increases woke cred to get to the Inner School of experts, maybe as higher-pay “DEI” personnel, or going to conferences with Kimberlé Krenshaw and Robin DiAngelo and higher – the Inner Circle.

    So the survey might seem like small potatoes to passer-by, but it will earn a few political points to whomever prepared it. Consider what DiAngelo – a race Marxist – wrote regarding antiracism (emphasis added):

    “antiracism is a lifelong commitment to an ongoing process of self-reflection, self-critique, and social activism,”

    Here, sexual activism leaders like Julia Serrano would substitute but the principle is the same.

  17. I think I will specify my “pronouns” (by which the person conducting the interrogation means third-person pronouns) as “Us/We” (in that order.) Who’s to stop We from using any pronoun Us likes? So the clinic will be forced (under penalty of whatever regulatory rule on misgendering it is operating under) to say, about me (We), “We sent We down for Our [did you catch that?] X-ray but now Us thinks Us might be pregnant.”

    Case, number, and person dissolved in a mush with the rest of society using I and We in the normal sense. Total prevention of communication is at hand.

    But then I might get the wrong leg amputated that was meant to be someone else’s wrong leg, so perhaps not a good idea.

    1. When asked, I say that I do not use pronouns. I prefer to be referred to by my full name. It is only one extra syllable, and certainly avoids ambiguity.

  18. I had a similar experience recently when I went to get my 14 yr old son’s vaccinations updated. Filled out 2 whole pages about his gender identity. They then took him aside to interview him in private. Really wasn’t sure I could trust them alone with my boy. I was caught off guard by the whole thing, but I’ll definitely not play along next time.

  19. If asked about my pronouns, I’d just say “use whatever pronouns you like”. That makes the point that people don’t have control over how others speak about them.
    So, if filling out that form, I *would* check “unknown”, because I don’t know what pronouns someone else would use for me.

  20. When you are talking to me, the pronouns you should use is “you/you”. When you are talking about me to somebody else, I don’t care which pronouns you use, although people who know me might get confused if you don’t use “he/him”.

  21. I was always taught that secondary sexual characteristics were non-genitalia manifestations of sex. Pubic hair, breasts, beard, hips, deep voice etc. Primary sexual characteristics was a term not used, and indeed it seems redundant, as it was quite obvious that such were genitalia. Of course, this was back in those innocent times when the fascists amongst us chose not to wonder on seeing a beautiful or handsome person on the street whether they made small or large gametes and simply made unwarranted assumptions. How much easier it is now when we inclusive people see a vision of loveliness arising from the waves (well, swimming pool) and politely enquire “How were you assigned at birth, and do you still identify that way?—for I should like to buy you a drink if you answer correctly.”

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