Chloe Valdary: ‘wokeism’ is not a religion

May 25, 2021
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It’s become commonplace to observe that “wokeism” looks a lot like a religion. First coined by John McWhorter in 2015, the concept took on new meaning following the death of George Floyd as images of self-flagellating white people flooded social media and politicians spoke of the “sacrifice” he made. Most salient of these images has been “taking the knee,” which became an all too literal metaphor of the subservience to this new creed.

But while the is imagery is striking, how accurate is the comparison? In a recent interview with UnHerd, Chloe Valdary, an American writer and founder of a different kind of diversity and inclusion training, rejects the idea that Critical Race Theory and more broadly, “wokeism,” is a religion. She thinks a better term is “dogma” and observes that unlike Original Sin, the sin of “whiteness” offers no possibility for redemption. She believes that so-called wokeness that will “ultimately cancel itself out”.

Instead she advocates a more spiritual, even cosmic, way of thinking to stop the flattening and dehumanising of people, which she also applies to the Israel-Palestine debate. Listen above to hear her thoughts (key quotes below)…

On “wokeism”:

Religion has its dogmas, but religion also tends to have something more than dogma. Whereas a lot of the cultural trends that I’m seeing right now tend to be purely dogmatic as opposed to offering something outside of dogma…There’s no redemptive quality because there is no sense of the human being outside of the political or social realm.
- Chloe Valdary, UnHerd

On the loss of spirituality:

Everything is now subsumed into the political — even the personal is political. That has affected the kind of rhetoric we use to talk about various conflicts today, which end up dehumanising people by reducing them to stereotypes and characters. That’s what’s happening when we project the American Experience and American history on other countries’ histories…
- Chloe Valdary, UnHerd

On social media:

Narcissism actually is an absence of the self, for which one overcompensates by seeking out approval from people. When one becomes addicted to approval from other people then you have no sense of self. Our social media platforms certainly don’t de-incentivise this… you feed off of other people’s approval, which incentivises the creation of these echo chambers.
- Chloe Valdary, UnHerd


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