It’s easy...to mock the lengths to which white liberals will go to be seen as antiracist. McWhorter is more interesting when he discusses why some African Americans have chosen to join the ranks of the Elect ... McWhorter views it as a mistake to forge one’s identity around victimhood. He characterizes the woke racial worldview as harmful not for normalizing antiwhite prejudices or treating the social categories of race as something concrete, but because it deprives Black people of their humanity by infantilizing them ... McWhorter is less effective is in his critique of some of the Third Wave’s high priests. Although he takes aim at writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi and The New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, he only briefly quotes their writing. A more compelling pushback would have involved a thorough analysis of their arguments ... Welcome to the world that the Elect are trying to create. The only story they want us to tell is one where whites are the villains and minorities are the victims ... Unlike McWhorter, who is a staunch atheist, I believe that religion is a force for good in the world ... But I agree with McWhorter that a religion that seeks to defeat white supremacy by insisting that nonwhite people cannot be expected to uphold the same standards of conduct and ethics as white people isn’t one worth believing in.
[McWhorter's] book is a cry from the heart, and readers should gauge the depth of his indignation from the fact that its working title was F*** ’Em ... Mr. McWhorter’s target audience is, precisely, the one that would regard him as racially incendiary ... This is a tonic to hear, of course. Yet to some weary Americans, resigned to seeing wokeness end jobs and wreck reputations, Mr. McWhorter may sound naive or overoptimistic.
Though McWhorter’s book does not fulfill the promise of its premise, it is at least an actual argument, not something sketched out on a napkin in the Fox News green room and passed off to a ghostwriter with a talent for trolling the libs ... Woke Racism has the feel of something written in a blaze of indignation between podcasts, which is both a strength and a weakness of the text ... McWhorter’s primary complaint is that the first ['woke'] audience is under the sway of an ideology that purports to lift up the second but which only distorts and damages. This is a stinging argument and one that ultimately makes Woke Racism a worthwhile read. McWhorter is at his most convincing when making the case for a very simple yet crucial demand: The right of black people to be and to be seen as individuals. It’s something he believes that the Elect’s 'theology' does not allow for ... His speedy pace often whips the reader past points that could have used elucidation ... A fast-paced read, Woke Racism covers...controversial issues with a dashing sense of snark occasionally gnarled by outrage ... Woke Racism stumbles quite often in its scramble and anger. But when it shines, it does so brilliantly.