The Unholy Trinity of Woke: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Decoding and understanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: the Holy Trinity of the Church of Woke.
Photo: Mount Olive Lutheran Church
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are the holy trinity of the Church of Woke. Each representing a distinct idea that together forms the heart of Wokedom. I have been asked for some time to explain these concepts in a way that is accessible to laypersons, not of the Woke’s clergy. What exactly is it about the linguistics of the Woke that makes such simple words so inaccessible to the uninitiated? Why is our traditional comprehension of language a barrier to discerning Woke theology? Why have previous efforts to explain the meaning of these words only left people more muddled? The answers to these questions do not come easily, but through an analysis of the ideological linguistics of the Woke, I shall attempt to elucidate their meaning.

Newspeak

A useful way of understanding the language of the Woke is by conceptualizing it as a form of Newspeak: an ideological language that is both ambiguous, euphemistic, and chiefly used for propaganda purposes. Whereas traditional languages allow for all manner of “dangerous” ideas to develop organically, Newspeak suppresses “subversive” thought by limiting one’s ability to think and articulate outside an ideological paradigm.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it” – George Orwell, 1984

It is, if you will, an anti-language. Whereas humans created language to share and convey meaning accessibly, the Newspeak of the Woke is an inaccessible language intended to constrain and control meaning. How is this done? Through a process in which existing words are hijacked, redefined, imbued with value, and socially policed. New meaning is packaged within the shell of an existing word, thereby obfuscating an idea for political purposes. By losing the old language, we become disconnected from old ideas, and in our adoption of their new language, we are corralled into regime-affirming dialogues. The truly chilling effect is when these linguistic limitations become cognitive ones, for what is thought but internal speech?

Diversity

 - Let us examine “diversity” as the first example of this Newspeak. Since words exist to convey the shared meaning that allows communication, we assume that diversity is a synonym for variance. Traditionally, diversity meant having different and distinct elements. To the Woke, “diverse” is anything that is non-normative. They define normative as that which is white, Christian, masculine, heterosexual, or cisgender. So one which is not these things is said to be “diverse,” regardless of the context.

Let us examine “diversity” as the first example of this Newspeak. Since words exist to convey the shared meaning that allows communication, we assume that diversity is a synonym for variance. Traditionally, diversity meant having different and distinct elements. To the Woke, “diverse” is anything that is non-normative. They define normative as that which is white, Christian, masculine, heterosexual, or cisgender. So one which is not these things is said to be “diverse,” regardless of the context.

Take, for example, a black job candidate applying to a black company. While he is actually homogenous to this situation, in Woke Newspeak, he is a “diverse” candidate. Why? Because in the Woke theology, his skin color is not normative. Therefore, he is “diverse.” He will always be “diverse” under this.

When bringing “diversity” into a school, it follows the same logic: that which is not normative. This explains why one never hears the Woke speak of bringing more white, Jewish, or conservative teachers into a primarily black, Christian, or liberal school. Despite that actually being an example of diversifying a school environment, because those bringing diversity are “normative,” they are not “diverse.” At best, their value is neutral. At worst, their value is negative because “normative” forces intruding on “diversity” are ideologically framed as “white supremacy.” More on this later.

The Value of Diversity

 - The Newspeak of the Woke has attached moral value to words that have traditionally been value-neutral. Their words -regardless of the context in which they are used – signify intrinsic moral rectitude. What is the purpose of this bizarre phenomenon? To render ideas impervious to challenge. Words are symbols for meaning. If a word acts as a symbolically holy symbol, it protects the idea the word represents from critique, for who but a “morally suspect” person would challenge what is innately “good”?

The Newspeak of the Woke has attached moral value to words that have traditionally been value-neutral. Their words -regardless of the context in which they are used – signify intrinsic moral rectitude. What is the purpose of this bizarre phenomenon? To render ideas impervious to challenge. Words are symbols for meaning. If a word acts as a symbolically holy symbol, it protects the idea the word represents from critique, for who but a “morally suspect” person would challenge what is innately “good”?

The word diversity, for example, traditionally had a specific meaning, and its value was determined by context. Think of a restaurant with a diverse choice of offerings. Diversity is positive in this instance, if one seeks choice, of course. On the other hand, if I told you that I wanted to diversify my child’s entertainment selection by letting him watch pornographic material, we would describe this type of diversity as harmful.

In Woke Newspeak, diversity, regardless of context, is now inherently “good.” Pinning down why is difficult, but I believe it has been imbued with goodness for two reasons. First and foremost, the Woke view what is normative as inherently harmful (oppressive). It, therefore, stands to reason that what is not normative is inherently good, for anything oppressed by a malevolent force must be good by virtue of who it counts amongst its enemies.

The second and perhaps more plausible explanation is because those who are diverse are believed by the Woke to be oppressed, which is often held in reverence. Humans have long imparted special virtue to the oppressed- especially in Judeo-Christian culture. Americans, in particular, having a national origin story that lionizes the underdogs, are prone to viewing oppressed groups favorably. Regardless, diversity is now a word containing an inherently positive value.

Because diversity is a value-laden word to the Woke, it also implies that diverse people are inherently good and beautiful. We are frequently reminded that diversity and all that fall under it- black, trans, gay, etc.- are beautiful by extension. What of white, cisgender, and heterosexuals? Are they too beautiful? For the Woke, the mere suggestion that normative designations are beautiful or worth celebrating is a grave sin indicative of “white supremacy.” The best those people can hope for is to be neutral-normative.

The Problem of Whiteness

 - The Woke will often argue that being white isn’t necessarily bad. Having white skin makes one normative. They argue what is bad is “whiteness”- the oppressive and supremacist elements of white culture, also called “white supremacy.” Of course, white people who do not embrace whiteness are the exception. Save for those “committed to the work”- the antiracists- most white people, are said to “uphold whiteness” or be “white supremacists” to a degree.

The Woke will often argue that being white isn’t necessarily bad. Having white skin makes one normative. They argue what is bad is “whiteness”- the oppressive and supremacist elements of white culture, also called “white supremacy.” Of course, white people who do not embrace whiteness are the exception. Save for those “committed to the work”- the antiracists- most white people, are said to “uphold whiteness” or be “white supremacists” to a degree.

While I object to that argument, I want to postulate a different problem I have with it beyond the substance. One that problematizes their “nuanced” castigation of normativity and “whiteness” that stops short of condemning the very act of having white skin. When what is normative is oppressive, and “whiteness” is bad, do we really expect society to make such sophisticated distinctions between the described forces of white people and actual white people?

Human beings find reductive worldviews comforting, which makes racism attractive as a way of understanding social complexities. Whiteness is attributable to white people, and white people are normative by their skin color; it is inescapable. Since”whiteness” is bad and normativity oppressive, is it really such a leap for people to take to conclude that white people are inherently bad?

Even without misconstruing or simplifying the Woke’s arguments, they are prima facie racist. They attribute negativities to enough white people to qualify as such. And if “well, I don’t think all black people are bad” doesn’t disqualify someone from being a racist, then “well, not all white people are bad” shouldn’t either. Using skin color to determine value, or attributing negative values to skin color, is what it means to be racist.

The word “racist,” however, is another addendum to Woke Newspeak. Specifically, it is another example of their Doublespeak, a word redefined to mean “power plus prejudice.” Since Woke theology argues that only whites have institutional power, they are the only people who can be racist. Because of this, we no longer possess the language or ability to describe the Woke’s racism. This is, after all, the purpose of Newspeak: to suppress “subversive” speech and thought.

Anti-Racism Rolls in its Grave

 - These ways of attributing value to people based upon their immutable characteristics are superficial and hollow, which characterizes much of the Woke theology. Ironically, traditional anti-racism argues that skin color is value-neutral; it cannot and should not have a value attached to it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated this idea by arguing that character should be the basis of judging one’s value.
These ways of attributing value to people based upon their immutable characteristics are superficial and hollow, which characterizes much of the Woke theology. Ironically, traditional anti-racism argues that skin color is value-neutral; it cannot and should not have a value attached to it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated this idea by arguing that character should be the basis of judging one’s value.

If one follows the labyrinthine logic of Wokeness, they will discover that the superficialities of skin color are, in fact, very meaningful. Diverse equals non-white, and diversity is inherently good; therefore, non-white skin color is a positive attribute, regardless of character. That is not to say that the Woke do not believe that there are no bad black people or good white people, but that blackness is a positive attribute and whiteness is a negative attribute. Ironically, White people in the 21st century have to work a little harder to establish their goodness. This may explain the degree to which white people engage in virtue signaling. They compete to establish their virtue in a society that now labels their whiteness as “problematic.”

Obfuscation by Design

 - Confused about “diversity”? That’s not accidental, but by design. This is an example of what George Orwell- in his book 1984- described as Doublespeak: a language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts or reverses the meaning of words. Whereas Newspeak is the new language- chiefly concerned with restricting and controlling thought- Doublespeak is the obfuscatory and disorienting component. I think of it as the transitionary use of language until Newspeak is fully adopted.

Confused about “diversity”? That’s not accidental, but by design. This is an example of what George Orwell- in his book 1984- described as Doublespeak: a language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts or reverses the meaning of words. Whereas Newspeak is the new language- chiefly concerned with restricting and controlling thought- Doublespeak is the obfuscatory and disorienting component. I think of it as the transitionary use of language until Newspeak is fully adopted.

What is the purpose of language that is deliberately obfuscatory? For one, it is difficult to challenge ideas that are intentionally obscured. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it serves to sanitize unpalatable ideas for public consumption; to the myopic, rotting food may appear delicious from a distance.

Take, for instance, a school board speaking plainly of reducing the number of white teachers in its district would certainly run afoul of the public and possibly face legal challenges. However, using the Doublespeak of “diversifying” the school district allows them to obscure their intentions to all but the uninitiated.

In this case, “diversity” may not even mean what we think it means. The school board may be using the word to describe behavior that is actually the opposite of traditional diversification. The public is confused, but because “diversity” has an intrinsically positive value attached to it, they dare not present challenges lest their own morality is suspect.

When the public adopts the Newspeak version of the word “diversity” and thinks of it in conformity with Woke ideology, their goals have been realized. Is this confusing? Certainly, but remember, that is a feature of their language and why many thinkers and writers have stumbled in their ability to decrypt it.

Equity

 - Equity is the second component of the Woke’s holy trinity, and like “diversity,” it is value-laden Doublespeak. In our traditional lexicon, what does equity mean? Despite attempts to distort the meaning of the word, it unequivocally is synonymous with equality. Let us examine the etymology of this word. The old French word equité is where we get the Middle English word equity. Equité is derived from the Latin word aequitas, which means fairness and equality. This is indisputable. Yet the Woke has done what they do best with words, hijacking them for their own purposes and imbuing them with ideological meaning. Equity, they will tell you, is very different from equality. Equity, they argue, is not about being equal (even though that is what it literally means) but being “fair.” And what is fairness? Well, despite the word “fair” being synonymous with “equal,” the word “fair” itself has a new meaning rooted in the Marxist tradition: according to one’s needs.Who determines what one’s needs are? Why the Woke, of course. Yes, they decide what is “fair” and thus what is equitable, and this, of course, is following their greater racial and class-oriented theology. So, to be equitable means to give various classes (usually racial) of people what they need in accordance with what the Woke believes they need. This occurs even if it comes at the expense of other groups.An equitable education would describe how each learner has the tools to succeed, as decided by those making such policies. It would be a mistake, however, to believe this pertains to individual student needs. The Woke are not individualists. They are collectivists. Each individual is a unit of a racial group. Each racial group has various levels of power and privilege. Therefore, to be equitable means distributing certain resources or applying certain rules to all group members regardless of their individual circumstances.

Equity is the second component of the Woke’s holy trinity, and like “diversity,” it is value-laden Doublespeak. In our traditional lexicon, what does equity mean? Despite attempts to distort the meaning of the word, it unequivocally is synonymous with equality. Let us examine the etymology of this word. The old French word equité is where we get the Middle English word equity. Equité is derived from the Latin word aequitas, which means fairness and equality. This is indisputable. Yet the Woke has done what they do best with words, hijacking them for their own purposes and imbuing them with ideological meaning. Equity, they will tell you, is very different from equality. Equity, they argue, is not about being equal (even though that is what it literally means) but being “fair.” And what is fairness? Well, despite the word “fair” being synonymous with “equal,” the word “fair” itself has a new meaning rooted in the Marxist tradition: according to one’s needs.

Who determines what one’s needs are? Why the Woke, of course. Yes, they decide what is “fair” and thus what is equitable, and this, of course, is following their greater racial and class-oriented theology. So, to be equitable means to give various classes (usually racial) of people what they need in accordance with what the Woke believes they need. This occurs even if it comes at the expense of other groups.

An equitable education would describe how each learner has the tools to succeed, as decided by those making such policies. It would be a mistake, however, to believe this pertains to individual student needs. The Woke are not individualists. They are collectivists. Each individual is a unit of a racial group. Each racial group has various levels of power and privilege. Therefore, to be equitable means distributing certain resources or applying certain rules to all group members regardless of their individual circumstances.

Equity in Practice

 - Inclusion is the third and final piece of the Woke’s holy trinity. How is it then that a word meaning “to include” can be of value in an age of racial affinity groups where workers, teachers, and students at DEI training are segregated into distinct racial categories? Because, as with the other words, it has an entirely new meaning. To be inclusive to the Woke means welcoming or inviting non-normative groups, which describes anyone not white, straight, or cisgender. The value contained in the word “inclusion,” like diversity, is positive, even celebratory.

Inclusion is the third and final piece of the Woke’s holy trinity. How is it then that a word meaning “to include” can be of value in an age of racial affinity groups where workers, teachers, and students at DEI training are segregated into distinct racial categories? Because, as with the other words, it has an entirely new meaning. To be inclusive to the Woke means welcoming or inviting non-normative groups, which describes anyone not white, straight, or cisgender. The value contained in the word “inclusion,” like diversity, is positive, even celebratory.

Does “inclusion” mean being welcoming to straight, white, cisgender men? No. The ideology of the Woke argues that such a class of people is already welcomed and celebrated in every social space. Therefore, one can have groups that are quite literally exclusionary while still being considered “inclusive.” An example of this would be Evanston Township High School hosting racially segregated open houses and student summits in northern Illinois. The student summit, for example, has affinity groups for all students, EXCEPT white students. This, however, is still viewed as an “inclusive” event, for even though it is exclusive, the fact that it is welcoming and celebrating “marginalized groups” makes it “inclusive.”

Disorientation is Normal

If you find yourself disoriented after having read this, consider yourself normal. This language is intentionally disorienting. It is not intended to communicate shared understandings between people but to uphold an ideology and limit our ability to think or express criticism. Disorientation is not characteristic of an intellectual failure to understand Woke Newspeak but its defining feature.

Woke Newspeak requires only that people perceive DEI positively and use its language euphemistically. This minimizes public resistance to DEI policy implementation. And what of those that might dissent? Who would dare challenge policies dripping with the goodness imbued by these value-laden words?

The Battlefield of Language

 - Woke Newspeak was not so much the invention of a new language as it was the hijacking and remodeling of an existing one. The Woke required a new language for three reasons: to share ideological meaning between the brethren, to reshape reality in congruence with their worldview, and to limit “subversive” thought and speech. This is what allows the Woke to be “right” and “virtuous” in all things. This is how the Woke has infiltrated the upper echelons of society and captured our public and private institutions, despite private objections by the majority. Language has become an ideological battlefield, and we ride the horses of the old against their mechanized monstrosities.There is hope, however. I wrote this not to wave the white flag of surrender but to provide for you the tactical knowledge necessary to fight back. As said by Sun Tzu, in The Art of War:

Woke Newspeak was not so much the invention of a new language as it was the hijacking and remodeling of an existing one. The Woke required a new language for three reasons: to share ideological meaning between the brethren, to reshape reality in congruence with their worldview, and to limit “subversive” thought and speech. This is what allows the Woke to be “right” and “virtuous” in all things. This is how the Woke has infiltrated the upper echelons of society and captured our public and private institutions, despite private objections by the majority. Language has become an ideological battlefield, and we ride the horses of the old against their mechanized monstrosities.

There is hope, however. I wrote this not to wave the white flag of surrender but to provide for you the tactical knowledge necessary to fight back. As said by Sun Tzu, in The Art of War:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

To win the ideological war, it is imperative we fully understand our enemy: their weaponized language, tactical linguistic trickery, and how they use both to win policy battles. To do so is to fight them on their turf, for we can not deny that up until now, we have been retreating farther and farther into our own territory, stumbling over accusatory landmines along the way. We lost higher education, then corporate America, and now we face losing our schools. Let us not surrender but understand our enemy and their weaponry better than they do. This current battle- that for the hearts and minds of our children- will determine whether our future sees us advancing or surrendering to the woeful conditions of our existence under a new Treaty of Wokedom.

Frank McCormick
Frank McCormick is a teacher, writer, and historian. He has taught for over ten years in both public and private educational settings. During the summer of 2021, he decided to publicly speak out against what he saw as the ideological infiltration of Woke politics in public education. He created a blog and various social media profiles to get his message out to connect with other teachers and parents willing to fight back. He has become known under the moniker "Chalkboard Heresy" because he described his heterodox educational views as heretical to the Woke academic orthodoxy.