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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Don’t be a woke racist

Anti-racism has gone overboard and dogmatic and does damage.

Upon publication, I immediately bought the book Woke Racism, How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America by Professor John McWhorter.

I wholeheartedly recommend the book to everyone who is not an extremist and would hate to strengthen racism.

It’s a great book to drop somewhere in the house to start a conversation.

And this is what I got from the book:

  • Thank you, average person, for hating racism and I applaud your hunch that societies and organizations have built up and in some systemic racism that needs to go too.
  • Yet, anti-racism has gone overboard. Now, anti-racists judge everyone after their skin color. Some Black kids don’t need more support; all Black kids deserve pity and know it’s not their fault.
  • It also preaches that White people should understand that they’re complicit and, though not guilty, must feel bad about themselves.
  • And anyone who volunteers any nuance on this ‘critical race theory’ is canceled as evil incarnated.
  • This makes reasonable people now turn away from anti-racism and return to racism because the former is so ridiculous.
  • We need to stand up to the fundamentalists who are causing harm in the name of anti-racism.

I didn’t get to what to do yet in the book. My advice is three-fold:

  1. Never forget when someone is Black (non-Caucasian, including Chinese, Native American, etc., not the color black). Their history, present, and future are wholly colored (pardon the pun) by race.
  2. Completely forget when someone is Black (non-Caucasian, including Chinese, Native American, etc., not the color black). Their whole persona and situation have totally nothing to do with ethnicity.
  3. Alternate between both truths every split second.

Look Who’s Talking

I will tell you everything that irritates me about it but I still recommend it.

Ironically, this book could be a prime example of the wrong of anti-racism he’s protesting! When a Black man becomes a professor, uses such fancy words, and writes about racism and anti-racism, we all need to bow down into the dust and not change a thing of his gospel. Yes, how ironic!

He blames wokeness to have created anti-racism that is so extreme that it ends up racist and hurtful. But, he too exaggerates in his objections. Why would it be worse when a White cop kills a Black kid than Black kids killing each other in gang wars? He means the question rhetorically, but I have many good answers. Many more Gentiles died in WWII than Jews. Still, the Holocaust was genocide, and that is worse, though in both cases, the victims are equally dead. Or, even more clearly, many more people die from terminal illnesses than from drunken driving, but the latter is worse? Why? Because that should be prevented; that should not happen. White cops being too trigger-happy with Black men comes from White racism still being executed by White perpetrators. Black lives are cheap. That should stop. Black young men shooting at each other is not directly their fault. We don’t blame the victim. We must try to stop this, but only as part of stopping Black inequality, powerlessness, hopelessness, despair, anger.

More Criticism in Detail

The book is indispensable but terrible. It’s the professor’s 21st book, and it shows. It’s quickly written, hardly edited, indexed rashly, so that the reader needs to work harder—much harder—to get the message.

This book needs serious trimming. Keep the examples, but fuse the dozens of paragraphs that, with synonyms, repeat again and again that woke anti-racism became a fundamentalist religion. I got it after three repetitions.

Normalize the vocabulary. Way too many flowery, sophisticated words for no reason at all. This is for the general public, no? A university lecturer linguistics must not only know the fanciest words and constructions, but also have to the ability to put things in simple terms, no?

Skip all the name dropping. Worldwide demonstrations after the murder of George Floyd show that many outside of the US would be interested in his book. But, it’s full names, icons, cultural events, or whatever they mean I have never heard of and will spend no time researching.

Towards the end, I found an Acknowledgement in which it explains that a lot of Chapter 1 was copy-paste taken from someone else. Explains why the first two chapters never seemed to end. Why is this placed at the end?

The Index must be better. On page 58, he finally writes that religion can exist without a Deity, Satan, Angels, etc. When we look up these words in the Index, page 58 is not there.

At the start, he writes he’s not angry. But, between the lines, he seems furious, in equal measure, about racism, woke racism, and fundamentalist Christianity. [He doesn’t seem to have met any other strange people but followers of fundamentalist Christianity, and that he seems to refer to when he says ‘religion.’ I dislike that. Could his editors not say a thing?] I could do with some more honesty and openness about his feelings.

He easily uses the word crazy as synonymous with senseless. He never heard that this term is used to oppress people whom capitalist society cannot distract from paying attention to their mental unwell-being?

I forced myself to read until Chapter 3. I’m unsure if I’ll ever read more.

The book is hyped as the newest thinking, but it’s at least 7 years old:

But, if you won’t buy the book, at least read my text here or see the clips.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1500 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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