Eine Doktorandin aus den Gender Studies dazu, was sie zunächst an den „woken“ Theorien interessiert hat und warum sie sie nunmehr ablehnt

Eine Doktorandin aus den Gender Studies Bereich berichtet, wie sie zuerst zu den intersektionalen „woken“ Theorien gekommen ist und was sie daran fasziniert hat und wie sie dann wieder davon weggekommen ist

I became “woke” around 2003, so I have nearly two decades of experience with Critical Social Justice ideology. (…) 

When I began attending college classes in 2000, I registered for a Western civilization course and fell in love with the Greek and Roman classics, so I continued to take additional courses of this type. The twentieth-century Western civilization course was taught by a very personable and funny women’s studies professor. I don’t think it is widely understood that first-generation college students, in general, don’t know the politics behind who becomes university professors. I naively assumed that professors are among the smartest people in the country, and I had no idea that the professoriate is heavily slanted to the ideological left. I now understand that Critical Social Justice professors are evangelists for their faith and the university is their mission field. Their goal is to take young students—inexperienced, eager to succeed—unmoor them from any faith tradition they might have, even if it’s just American civics, and replace that with Critical Social Justice ideology. And, for the most part, these professors succeed. They are, on the whole, likable people—energetic, personable, and caring.

Das ist ja eine interessante Darstellung. Das die Social Justice Theorien als Ideologie schnell etwas religiöses haben ist aus meiner Sicht auch so. Allerdings finde ich es schwer ihre Anhänger als sehr liebenswerte Personen zu sehen, die sich sorgen. Wobei ich ja vielleicht auch dann einfach nicht die Zielgruppe bin und das bei einem Geschichtskurs und weiblichen Studenten vielleicht auch leichter so ankommt. Denn natürlich sind sie ja nur für Gleichberechtigung und dafür, dass auch Männer ihre toxischen Seiten ablegen. Sie wollen ja eigentlich nur die Welt besser machen! Mit etwas „Burg und Festung“ kann ich mir das auch gut vorstellen. Vielleicht auch noch der Unterschied zwischen „Women Studies“ und jemanden, der tatsächlich ein SJW ist.

My first encounters with Critical Social Justice came during the feminism unit of this course, which included works by Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Angela Davis, bell hooks, and Shulamith Firestone, among others. I was interested in learning about feminism, but Firestone’s argument to eliminate the biological family alarmed me, as I hoped to have both a career and children someday. Also, I didn’t believe Firestone’s argument that motherhood is inherently oppressive. From witnessing my mom’s own experiences with having six kids, I knew that she wasn’t oppressed. It was a choice she freely made because she loved children and felt that taking care of them, in spite of the difficulties, was rewarding. In spite of my reservations about Firestone’s book, I became interested in learning more about feminism and began to check out more women’s studies books from the library. As a young university student, encountering Critical Social Justice ideas felt intoxicating, like stumbling onto a portal into a new world. I felt like a detective, with my newly developing critical consciousness understanding society for the first time—all the oppression, the sexism, racism, the evils of capitalism, and so on. It felt righteous, like I was part of a counter-cultural movement, a vanguard helping to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.

Das Gefühl, dass man da auf dem Weg zu mehr Gerechtigkeit ist, kann ich durchaus nachvollziehen. Es liefert ein recht einfaches Bild der Welt, es ist eine Gemeinschaft der kämpfenden, in die man aufgenommen wird, man kann gleichzeitig etwas Schuld empfinden und diese aber wieder gutmachen, indem man für die gerechte Sache kämpft. 

The women’s studies professor, sensing that she had an acolyte, encouraged my interest in becoming more involved in advocacy for women. Over the summer, I worked as an intern at a feminist nonprofit and met a lot of people on the radical left, including anarchists. Around this time, I attended a few protests for various causes, but after a couple of years with this ideology as my guiding framework, I grew exhausted by feeling constant anger. I became tired of focusing on all the injustices of the world, not on what I had to be grateful for. It was a miserable, resentment-based life, and I felt helpless to solve the world’s problems.

Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass sich da die Wege häufiger spalten: Die einen haben schon zuviel in die Sichtweise investiert und müssten zuviele versunkene Kosten aufgeben um da raus zu kommen und ihnen macht es dann sogar Spass, dass sie jemanden haben, der als Sündenbock fungiert.

Die anderen merken, dass sie da immer wieder gegen die Realität ankämpfen, etwa die eigene Mutter, die gar nicht unterdrückt sind und damit finden sie es auch anstrengender und schwieriger, diese Sichtweise aufrecht zu erhalten. 

When I began my Ph.D. program in 2013 at a highly ranked university, I began to see that something about my new colleagues was different from what I remembered about my colleagues just a few years earlier. At first, I chalked this up to the fact that I was a handful of years older than most of the students, many of whom had recently completed their undergraduate degrees. They seemed angry, self-righteous, and determined, lacking the intellectual humility that I had admired so much in the friends I’d made in my master’s program. I now realize that these students were “woke.” Having spent the past couple of years teaching writing to working-class students, I hadn’t been exposed to Critical Social Justice ideology in some time, and I was surprised to see the inroads it had made in the decade since I’d first encountered it.

Ah, ihr erster Kontakt war also anscheinend eher in der Anfangszeit, als man noch nicht so „woke“ war. 

I realized that Critical Social Justice was no longer a fringe intellectual field of study, but a real force that was reshaping the university. Early on in my program, I recall a panic about racism at the university, and many students issued social media demands of the administration to increase minority enrollment. While I fully support that goal, I feel that such efforts are best advanced through mentoring and guiding promising young students beginning in elementary school, not waiting until they reach adulthood and then attempting to force equal outcomes. Around this time, I became extremely disturbed when, while serving on a committee that gave writing awards, I was attacked by other committee members for judging on merit, for not taking into account skin color or gender.

Gegen „equal Outcome“ zu sein ist natürlich ein Problem. 

Yet I don’t think I fully understand the authoritarian aspects of woke ideology until after Trump won the 2016 election. In late 2016 and early 2017, I witnessed shocking behavior from my colleagues, who began attacking Republicans, white people, conservatives, and Christians as oppressors. They attacked free speech, saying that some people did not deserve a platform because they were engaging in “hate speech.” I argued that there isn’t a clear definition of what constitutes hate speech; and that the constitution protects all speech, save for incitement to imminent lawless action. For saying this, I was attacked as stupid, a bad person, a “right-winger.” Early in Trump’s administration, one of my colleagues said that political violence was justified as a response to his “evil” policies. While I’m no fan of Trump, I oppose violence—a basic principle I thought that all Americans shared. It was in this context that I became disillusioned with the ideology in which I had been immersed for years.

Und in der Tat sollte diese Radikalisierung eigentlich die meisten entsetzen. Die Unruhen 2020 haben denke ich auch viele dafür sensibilisiert, dass da sehr viel gefährliche Energie vorhanden ist und eine ungesunde Gewaltbereitschaft. Mal sehen ob sich das noch als ungünstig für die Radikalen herausstellt. 

I decided to seek out and try to understand other points of view, so I read books by authors to whom I had never been exposed, such as F.A. Hayek, Ronald Bork, Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Sowell, and others. I began to read and listen to conservative, classically liberal, and libertarian thinkers—people whose ideas I had never encountered in all my years of so-called “higher” education. I listened with an open mind, and I didn’t see any hatred from these thinkers. On the contrary, I discovered carefully reasoned, evidence-based arguments that had much greater explanatory abilities than anything I’d read in the Critical Social Justice literature.

Ein Ausstieg, indem man sich einfach mal die Argumente der „anderen Seite“ anschaut. Deswegen ist es denke ich auch gut, dass es Leute gibt, die offen dagegen argumentieren und die schlechten Seiten aufzeigen. Denn nur wenn Zweifler die Möglichkeit haben sich eine Gegenmeinung zu bilden kann es auch zu einem Ausstieg kommen. 


I realized that Critical Social Justice ideology is not only intellectually vacuous; it is downright dangerous, and that the reason it has captivated so many minds is not because of the strength of its ideas, but because it has succeeded in silencing more reasonable and time-tested principles.

In der Tat arbeiten die SJWs mit Taktiken wie Beschämung und Ausgrenzung um Abweichler und Leute mit anderen Meinungen das Leben so schwer wi möglich zu machen. Ein Abweichler ist der Feind. Wer zweifelt, der kann als Feind behandelt werden, wenn er nicht zurückkehrt. 

If I had encountered a wider variety of ideas in my undergraduate—and especially in my graduate—education, I would have been spared years of being captive to Critical Social Justice ideology; I would likely have changed my field of study to something more practical; I would have matured more quickly in understanding the complex, and sometimes tragic, nature of human behavior; and I would have developed a more rational, sustainable understanding of how to live in the world as a decent person, outside of the narrow framework of being an activist for “social justice.” If Critical Social Justice ideology had been presented in a more intellectually diverse educational landscape, I would have been able to properly assess the strengths and weaknesses of Critical Social Justice arguments. Sadly, American universities are, for the most part, not marketplaces of ideas, but mere echo chambers.

Ja, leider sind die amerikanischen Universitäten nach allem, was man hier so liest, schon sehr weit in dem Bereich und die deutschen zumindest in den passenden Bereichen auch auf dem Weg in diese Richtung. 

It is an obvious fact that all civilizations must pass on their values to the young; if they do not, or if the young are taught different values, then the civilization cannot sustain itself. It is a great shame that an essential site for the transmission of civilizational values—academia—was lost decades ago. As early as 1951, William F. Buckley observed that Yale University was no longer producing graduates who had a commitment to fundamental American values. The advancement of Critical Social Justice ideology has been well documented at this point, so it is not necessary to trace that history here. Suffice it to say that our universities are so infected with Critical Social Justice ideology that they are probably not salvageable at this point.

In der Hinsicht wären die Maßnahmen von Trump, die Universitäten am Budget zu packen interessant. Aber man darf damit rechnen, dass Biden sie wieder zurücknehmen wird. Wobei: Es wäre interessant, wie die Demokraten dazu stehen. Sie dürften auch gemerkt haben, dass ein Erstarken des „Intersektionalen Bereichs“ in ihrer Partei nicht nur Vorteile bringt. 

Those who are attempting to preserve an existing system—in this case preserving the classical liberal principles of American society—have a natural disadvantage when they encounter people, even a small group, who seek, with fanatical devotion, to dismantle that system and replace it with another social order. Nassim Taleb makes this point well in his observation about minority rule: “It suffices for an intransigent minority…to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences.” The good news is that it is still possible at this point that another faction of equally committed people actively resisting Critical Social Justice ideology—people who fervently defend the values upon which America was founded—can sustain the liberal social order.

Es ist immer wieder erstaunlich wie klein der tatsächlich fanatische Teil sein kann um eine solche Wirkung zu entfalten. 

However, people committed to liberal values have many significant disadvantages in this fight. They are generally older, having come of age at a time before Critical Social Justice ideology was dominant, and when strong liberal norms—specifically values of free speech and liberty—prevailed throughout society, whereas the majority of Millennials and Generation Z are heavily woke. Liberals are committed to Enlightenment values of reasoned debate, pursuit of truth, the scientific method, fact-based analysis, and treating people as individuals, not as groups. In contrast, the woke view these Enlightenment values as a white supremacist project; wokeness advances primarily through underhanded tactics: histrionic open letters that accuse ideological opponents as traumatizing and even threatening the very existence of people of color, cancel culture, flash mobs, protests that sometimes devolve into riots, and so forth. Worse, the entrenchment of Critical Social Justice ideology in academia, mass and social media companies, philanthropic foundations, corporate human resources departments, federal and state administrative bureaucracies, and Silicon Valley—combined with surveillance technology—points toward the emergence of a social credit system similar to what exists now in China. Liberals, in short, are bringing the proverbial knife to a gun fight. But we must fight. There is no other choice.

Die SJW Methoden passen insofern besser in das „Moderne Zeitalter“ weil man mit heutigen sozialen Medien schneller einen Mob gründen kann und auch schneller Zeichen bzw Bekenntnisse für die Gute Sache setzen kann und verkürzte Argumente dafür besonders geeignet sind. 
Lange Argumentationen kosten Zeit und sind aufwändig. Ein kurzes Bekenntnis zu #blacklivematters ist da hingegen recht einfach möglich und gerade auch, wenn man sich raushalten kann der bessere Weg aus der Sicht vieler. 

In closing, I want to offer some thoughts on how to defeat Critical Social Justice ideology. If we want to understand why this ideology is winning over the young, we have to understand its appeal. American culture is becoming increasingly secular, which means that more young people don’t have a faith tradition, and social justice ideology is, as many have discussed, filling a religious void. The woke have a messianic complex, a (if you’ll excuse the pun, millenarian) goal to remake society, and view anyone who is opposed to their project not as simply having a different worldview, but as evil. My intuition is that once Critical Social Justice becomes increasingly entrenched as the dominant cultural ideology—especially because of its totalitarian and censorious nature—young people will instinctively begin to rebel and seek out other ideas. This, in fact, seems to be happening in Generation Z already. As a result, there will be a revitalization of classical liberalism, necessitating people who are versed in it to serve as teachers and mentors, but there will be much damage done to our institutions and country in the meantime.

Also die Ansicht, dass die SJWs wenn sie an die Macht kommen auch eher Rebelen gegen sich haben werden und nicht mehr so attraktiv sind. 

There is so little viewpoint diversity in academia that students don’t even realize that what they are being taught is an ideology, not factual analysis. As Niall Ferguson accurately put it, “North American academia is in the grip of a hideous mania, a cross between the early-modern witch craze and Mao’s Cultural Revolution, in which implacable zealots conduct grotesque show trials, innocent individuals have their reputations, careers and sanity destroyed, and everyone else cowers, terrified that they will be next to be ‘canceled.’” (Source: a blurb from Quillette’s new book, Panics and Persecutions). The American public university system—especially humanities and social sciences—is a cancer on society, as it is teaching students to hate their country and its core values. This is not to say that there shouldn’t be academic critiques of the country. On the contrary, critiques help to improve society. But we have reached a point where there are hardly any academics left to transmit the basic principles of the country.

Man darf gespannt sein, wie insbesondere der amerikanische Kulturkampf weitergeht. Biden und Harris sind beide aus meiner Sicht nicht sonderlich „woke“, aber ob sie sich mit den Woken anlegen wollen ist eine andere Sache. 

Heterodox Academy is doing great work to highlight the lack of viewpoint diversity in the academy. Their research has shown that professors who lean left outnumber conservative professors by a ratio of nine to one. (Source: “Democratic professors outnumber Republican ones by 9 to 1 ratio, according to new data” | The College Fix). As a result, leftist ideology—most commonly Critical Social Justice—dominates the intellectual culture, and hiring committees carefully select for only one type of diversity among their faculty hires (meaning only valued victim groups), in addition to those who already agree with their ideology. Unless non-woke people structure their application materials and writing samples to appear to follow the Critical Social Justice ideology, I don’t see any inroads for non-leftist scholars to find academic positions. For the few non-leftists in academia who sit on hiring committees, they need to take a stand—as Professor Dorian Abbot at the University of Chicago recently did—for only hiring the most qualified candidates, without regard to their sex, race, color, ethnicity, or any other immutable characteristic.

In der Tat muss man irgendwie etwas an den amerikanischen Universitäten ändern, denn diese scheinen mir eine erhebliche „Machtbasis“ für diese Theorien zu sein. Das wird aber sehr schwierig. 

One of the most urgent needs is the development of a grassroots movement for intellectual diversity on campus, spearheaded by students, alumni, parents, and concerned citizens. I hope that existing conservative, centrist, or libertarian organizations can help to facilitate this movement by providing organizational and logistical support at campuses throughout the country.(…)

Wäre interessant ob da eine große Chance besteht.


My hope is that new immigrants to America will increasingly speak out against Critical Social Justice ideology as an American instantiation of what is called, in other contexts, tribalism—a form of corruption that has damaged many countries. Far from being a bastion of white supremacy, America’s liberal values are what have attracted people from all countries to undergo great hardship to come here, precisely because this is one of the few places in which ordinary people can exercise their talents to achieve a standard of living that is impossible in most of the world. It is my fervent hope that more American college students—especially the “woke” who rail against their own country as evil—would be required to spend a semester abroad in a developing country in order to gain some much-needed perspective on the struggles people face who were not fortunate enough to be born into such an “oppressive” place as America. (…)

Das wäre in der Tat interessant. Auch eine interessante Frage an sich: Gender Studies und Auslandssemester in „PoC-Ländern“, würde das etwas bringen? Wahrscheinlich nicht, denn sie würden ja auch dort in passenden Fakultäten sein.