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Keynote two: Democracy, Tolerance and Reason: has ‘woke’ defeated them all?
Racism is rampant in Australia, according to activists who persist in painting a picture of our society that few of us recognize as we go about our daily lives. But the problem that needs to be addressed, they tell us, is not so much the individual sort of racism mouthed by bigots. It is the ‘structural’ racism supposedly embedded in our laws, policies, systems, and institutions that perpetuates oppressive imbalances of power without any of us being alert enough to notice. Welcome to the world of ‘woke’ anti-racism, just one manifestation of the phenomenon of wokeness that has swept across the West, transforming school curricula, workplace relations, competitive sports, policing, politics, history, the media and the administration of justice.
Defenders of woke will always cloak their efforts to denounce and cancel their critics with claims of protecting freedoms of the vulnerable. But opponents of woke see through this ruse, and must gird themselves for a long march if they are to reverse woke’s advance. British author and columnist, Joanna Williams, reminds us there is a great deal at stake. In a timely call to arms, she warns that we must take woke very seriously and be prepared to defend vigorously the freedoms which underpin our society.