Massachusetts Resurrects “WOKENESS”

Massachusetts Resurrects “WOKENESS”

© David Burton 2020


WOKENESS: Self-righteousness masquerading as enlightenment. (Ref. 1)

     “How much of what went on in the Middle Ages and early-modern periods do we look back on with abhorrence and a certain amount of perplexity? Burning witches at the stake, lynch mobs, self-flagellation – what possessed people to do such things, we wonder.
     “But take a step back, look about and you see many of these practices are still flourishing today, though they go by different names.
     “Here are just some of them.
     “Let’s start with excommunication. Excommunication meant so much more than being banned from taking communion. It involved you being shunned, shamed, spiritually condemned, even banished. Only through some kind of heavy penance – often a very public, lengthy and humiliating contrition – could you and your reputation be redeemed.
     “Excommunication became a powerful political weapon. It was dished out to enemies of the faith to destroy their legitimacy. Often it was used as a punishment for sins as minor as uttering the wrong opinion.
     “What {is} a modern form of excommunication? Qualified, competent professionals are hounded out of their jobs and publicly shamed just for uttering the wrong opinion, often simply for a misjudged choice of words. Even just the wrong pronouns.
     “As often as not, their employer wants a quiet life, so he bows to activist pressure and sacks the target of the witch hunt. . .
        - - -
     “Articulate any kind of wrongthink and you risk the baying mob lynching you on social media and elsewhere for your heresy. You are put in today’s equivalent of the stocks while people jeer at you and humiliate you. Your career and reputation are burnt at the stake.
     “Smear someone with labels like far right, transphobe, homophobe or – most effective of all – racist, and if the label sticks, that person is effectively excommunicated. It doesn’t matter if it means misreporting, quoting out of context, strawman arguments or intellectual dishonesty. The important thing is to get the smear to stick. Innocence is no defense. Nor was it in the witch trials of Medieval times, which were held before kangaroo courts of the local clergy. Meanwhile, anyone who defends the witch is assumed to be another witch, so most stay quiet.
     “The Inquisition began in 12th-century France as a way to combat heresy and dissent. . . The movement spread. In Spain, Jews and Muslims were singled out, as its leaders sought to impose Catholic doctrine.
     “Who are today’s inquisitors and today’s priests? Social-justice warriors, climate-change activists, Guardian journalists, organizations such as Antifa {and Black Lives Matter} – there is no shortage of woke police. Any type of victimhood can get you priest status. . .
      - - -
     “A new practice has emerged where we must bend the knee. When . . . Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the US national anthem, it was a powerful act, made by his own volition. But kneeling has morphed into something else, a tool of subjugation, something you are shamed into doing. Bending the knee is no longer about the importance of black or any other lives — it is a tool of control used under the pretext of fighting racism. Rest assured, those in prominent public positions are being monitored. If they try to avoid bending, the online lynch mobs will form. [Emphasis mine]
     “The recent spate of statue destruction shows that iconoclasm – the belief that icons, images and monuments should be destroyed for religious or political reasons – is alive and well, too. In the Middle Ages, Jewish texts were especially targeted by the iconoclasts. Thank goodness that today all such anti-Semitic sentiment has been eradicated. Not! [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “What about self-flagellation – flogging oneself to inflict pain and drive out evil? Today we might call this going to the gym. No, a more likely equivalent is the culture of self-loathing and apology – acknowledging {our} white privilege and apologizing for the sins of {our} forefathers.
      - - -
     “In the Middle Ages, there was no shortage of prophets of doom declaring the end is nigh. Nostradamus was the most famous. . .
     “Obscurantism was the practice of presenting information in a deliberately imprecise and abstruse manner, to forestall further inquiry or understanding. . .
     “Church Latin was obscurantist. The Bible was not translated into local vernaculars until the 1500s. The clergy bitterly opposed its translation. Why? Until then, only those who understood Latin could understand its meaning. It gave priests a monopoly. Priests would interpret the sacred text and the word of God in ways that suited their own interests, or the interests of the Church they worked for. Today’s experts – whether in climate change, sociology or virology – do exactly the same thing.
      - - -
     “There are so many more parallels. Sacrilege and blasphemy have become hate speech. . . Censorship has become, well, censorship. (Ref. 2)

     Here in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we have a history of "WOKENESS", dating back to the 17th century and the Salem witch trials.

     “The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. As a wave of hysteria spread throughout colonial Massachusetts, a special court convened in Salem to hear the cases; the first convicted witch, Bridget Bishop, was hanged that June. Eighteen others followed Bishop to Salem’s Gallows Hill, while some 150 more men, women and children were accused over the next several months. By September 1692, the hysteria had begun to abate and public opinion turned against the trials.” (Ref. 3)

     Evidently, we here in the Bay State have not learned our lessons from the past. “WOKENESS” is alive and well in 2020 as we once more succumb to mass hysteria and join the victim-hungry Black Lives Matter mob.

     At the end of July, 2020, the Town manager in my home town “added his name to a list of 18 mayors and town managers from Massachusetts in a pledge to end systemic racism and police violence.” (Ref. 4)

     Now I’ve lived in this town for over 50 years and this is the first time, to my knowledge” that accusations of “racism and police violence” have been raised. Yes, we unquestionably have a few “racists” in our midst and there might have been an unreported case or two of police violence (which I seriously doubt, since little escapes public notice in this small, tightly-knit community of less than 20,000!) And yes, there has actually been the occasional act of anti-Semitism here. But, endemic “racism and police violence” do not come close to describing this small New England community. However, in today’s “WOKENESS” environment, facts seem to hold no significance.

     Anyhow, our town manager joined “municipal leaders of Arlington, Ashland, Beverly, Cambridge, Chelsea, Framingham, Holyoke, Medford, Melrose, Middleton, Nantucket, Newburyport, Newton, Revere, Salem, Somerville and Swampscott.
      - - -
     “The pledge was initiated by residents across the Commonwealth demanding change in the wake of recent killings of Black and Brown individuals by police officers. It’s divided into three sections: principles, legislative items, and local policies.
     “The five basic principles underlying the pledge are that systemic racism is a public health emergency, that racial inequity in municipal services must be identified, that police violence must end, that racism in law enforcement must be addressed, and that urgent action is required.” (Ref. 4)

     The truth is that none of these “five basic principles” have any significant relevance in my community. Here, 1) racism is NOT a public health emergency, 2) there is NO racial inequity in municipal services, 3) there is NO police violence, 4) there is NO apparent racism in this town’s law enforcement, and 5) urgent action is NOT required. But the facts be damned! Like obedient sheep and lemmings, we must blindly follow the unthinking masses.

     If what I’ve just written is true, then what are the real problems that need to be addressed ? In December of 2019, I wrote (Ref. 5) that:

     “Blacks in America still face numerous problems here in the year 2019 – but, racism is not their biggest one. (Ref. 6)

     Here are some snippets from my article:

     “{The Black author, Taleeb Starkes, listed the five biggest issues facing blacks in America as of September 2016. Significantly, racism or White police killing Blacks didn’t make his list.}
     “Nothing holds someone back more than seeing himself as a victim. Why? Because a victim is not responsible for his situation. Everything is someone else’s fault. [Emphasis mine] And the victim sees little chance of improving his life. How can he get ahead if someone is holding him back? All this makes the victim unhappy, frustrated and angry.”
     “Blacks repeatedly demand an ‘honest dialogue or debate about race.’ But how can there ever be an honest dialogue about race between blacks and whites when there is virtually no honest dialogue between blacks and blacks? [Emphasis mine] It’s hypocritical. And if a black doesn’t think, ‘whites are ultimately responsible for black people’s problems,’ they’re labeled a ‘sell-out,’ ‘Uncle Tom,’ or ‘race-traitor.’ “
     “As just about everyone knows, but too few talk about publicly, in majority black cities, violent black on black crime is rampant. [Emphasis mine] A Department of Justice study from 1980-2008 revealed that blacks accounted for almost half of the nation’s homicide victims (47.4%) and more than half of the offenders (52.4%) all while only being 13% of America’s population.”
     “The disintegration of the nuclear family has led to an astronomical increase of single-mother households. [Emphasis mine] According to the Moynihan Report, in 1965, nearly 25 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. The report’s author . . . said this was a disaster in the making. He was, of course, vilified by so-called black leaders and their progressive allies. But he was right. Today the out of wedlock birth rate is nearly 75 percent. and even higher in some urban areas. [Emphasis mine]”
     “You may have noticed that racism did not make the list. Why not? It’s simple: There will be no solution to the problems afflicting black America until more blacks recognize that the issues plaguing our community are ultimately self-inflicted.
     “Does racism exist? Sure. But there are other problems far more serious. And waiting until there are no more racists will mean waiting, and making excuses, forever.”

     “Talk-show host, attorney, and best-selling author Larry Elder said the breakdown of the family -- fatherless families -- is the number one problem in America, not racism or discrimination or bad cops. [Emphasis mine] He added that when it comes to murder, nearly half of the homicides each year are black-on-black killings.
     “ ‘The number one problem domestically facing this country is the breakdown of the family,’ said Elder. . . A kid raised without a dad is five times more likely to be poor and commit crimes; nine times more likely to drop out of school; and 20 times more likely to end up in jail. ’ [Emphasis mine]
     " ‘So, you’re far more likely to end up in jail without having a dad, than you are because of a white racist cop,’ said Elder.
     “{With respect to the false claim that} ‘you could probably find evidence that, in general, cops are more willing to shoot if the perpetrator is black than white.’ Elder said, ‘What’s your data, what’s your basis for saying that? I’m talking about what the facts are. Nine hundred sixty-five people were shot by cops last year and killed. Four percent of them were white cops shooting unarmed blacks. ’ [Emphasis mine]   . . .
     " ‘In Chicago, which is a third black, a third white, a third Hispanic, 70% of the homicides are black on black . . .’ ‘Where is Black Lives Matter on that?’
     “ ‘The idea that a racist white cop shooting unarmed black people is a peril to black people is BS,’ said Elder. ‘It’s complete and total BS'. . .
     "‘Half the homicides in this country are committed by and against black people,’ said Elder. ‘Last year there were 14,000 homicides - half of them {7,000} were black [and] 96% of {those} were black on black. [Emphasis mine] Where’s the Black Lives Matter on that?’ “

     Getting back to our Massachusetts “WOKENESS”, the pledge of the mayors and town managers that suggests five legislative actions on a state level is laudable but is equivalent to the attendant on the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs as the vessel was sinking. The pledge is a knee-jerk reaction to problems that are not the main ones for America’s Blacks and it obscures those major problems facing Blacks in America. In the 17th century, “WOKENESS” did much harm. So too is today’s “WOKENESS” in Massachusetts – it’s preventing the real problems of Blacks and all racial and ethnic minorities in America from being honestly worked on and solved.

     Also, in July 2020, the city manager of Chelsea agreed to sweeping changes within the city government to help stem “systemic racism within City Hall”. The agreement came as a follow-up to a meeting held the previous month after a Black Lives Matter rally organized by what has now become known as the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance and the Chelsea Black Community. At the meeting, a letter from the Young Adult Alliance that contained upwards of 50 demands on how to change City government to prevent systemic racism was introduced.
     The demands were answered in a set of initial changes laid out by the city manager. This started with the city manager being asked to acknowledge publicly that systemic racism is built into government at all levels, even Chelsea City Hall. Let’s remember that the accused at the Salem witch trials were forced to admit their guilt before they were hanged. Some of us remember the infamous show trials in the Stalinist Soviet Union when those on trial had to admit their guilt and remorse before they were executed.
     The Chelsea city manager said he had no problem in giving a mea culpa. “That’s an easy one for me because I do acknowledge that inherently all government entities, unfortunately, are infused with systemic racism . . . It is inherent bias. I accept that and I have publicly acknowledged that.”
     Beyond that, the city manager committed to the unilateral demand for a new Office of Diversity and Inclusion and to providing a budget for the office this fiscal year.
     In the subservient rush to meet the demands of the inquisitors, the city manager said he was in full support of their demands and he proposed that the new office directly report to him and the City Solicitor. He said he would likely be able to hire the director by November, and would ask the Council to approve $200,000 from Free Cash at the next meeting to start the work.
     There was agreement that the Task Force on Racism be established, and that it would not be appointed by City Hall or anyone in the current power structure. The details of that would continue to be defined as time goes on. One city councilor said she hoped it would be made up of black, indigenous and people of color, and would act similarly to an Independent Civilian Review Board.
     While the current demands were quite numerous, it was said that they were just a start.[7]

     In 1692, "WOKENESS” started in Salem Massachusetts with just one accused “witch”, Bridget Bishop. Eighteen others subsequently followed Bishop to Salem’s Gallows Hill. All tyrannies start small – and then they grow into great oppressions.

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  1. Wokeness, Fata Morgana,, 15 May 2019.
  2. Wokeness: the return of Medieval madness, Dominic Frisby, Spiked, 29 June 2020.
  3. Salem Witch Trials,, Accessed 31 July 2020.
  4. Faison joins Mass. Town managers, mayors in pledge against racism, Laura Plummer,
    The Winthrop Sun Transcript, Page 1, 30 July 2020.
  5. Rioters Want Mayhem – Not Justice, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 417, 11 June 2020.
  6. Racism is NOT Blacks’ Biggest Problem, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 391, 13 December 2019.
  7. CITY ENACTS CHANGES TO CURB RACISM, Laura Plummer, The Winthrop Sun Transcript,
    Pgs 15-16, 30 July 2020.


9 October 2020 {Article_441; State_21}    
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