The Woke Left and The Confusing State of Progressive Politics

The Woke Left and The Confusing State of Progressive Politics

For me, the real left used to be a place of conversations and debate. Today we have a new left. The woke left. I remember in college sitting around my living room talking with a group of people about the deep implications of economic inequalities and racial injustices. We’d pitch solutions, state facts, and counter respectfully. My math-genius roommate would take a statistical angle. Our philosophy friends would get all Nietzche with it. My pan-African pal would ensure we spoke to the intersectional nature of the issue at hand. And though we all had different perspectives, we shared a goal: making the world a better, more equitable, and more just place for all people.

But that is no longer the case it seems. At all. Anywhere. And the woke left is a part of the problem.

Don’t Investigate Russia!

For instance, it is unacceptable on the left to suggest that Russia played any role whatsoever in the 2016 Presidential election. If you think the possibility exists you are berated as a Clinton apologist. There is little room for someone like me who thinks Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate and also that Donald Trump probably has less-than-savory, possibly-illegal ties to Russian oligarchs.

And yet I get attacked by the Woke Left for it.

Even though we all know:

Paul Manafort once offered to help Putin advance Moscow’s interests and literally ran Trump’s campaign.
Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation because he lied about meeting with Russians.
Rex Tillerson has brokered gigantic business deals with Russian state-owned energy giants.
Michael Flynn lied about meeting with Sergey Kislyak, and resigned because of it.
The Trump Organization has a direct server connection to Alfa Bank, the largest private commercial bank in Russia.
Trump’s business associate Felix Sater plead guilty to a stock fraud scheme with ties to the Russian Mafia.
Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner was at the meeting between Flynn and Kislyak and is now serving an official role with the White House.
And we all know that historically, the US has meddled in other country’s elections. But it couldn’t happen to us!

Despite knowing all of that, I am labeled a Clinton-apologist for suggesting that an investigation might be the best bet for Democracy. Cool.

TYT is Corporate Hipster Crap!

For the Woke Left, the circumstantial evidence tying Putin to Trump isn’t enough to suggest Russia may have played a role in the election. Nor is it enough to make them desire an investigation. And yet, progressive Tim Black (who I deeply admire and whole-heartedly respect) has no problem implying a YouTube conspiracy exists that only allows The Young Turks to succeed. For those of you who don’t know, TYT (The Young Turks) is the largest independent online news show and claims to be the longest-running daily stream in all of the internet.

With no disrespect intended, I sense a major lack of market logic here. For one, TYT offers a lot of content. A lot more than Tim Black and other “leftish” news shows. Additionally, not all of it is progressive political news. Moreso, my fiance loves Pop Trigger and  Murder with Friends and other aspects of the network that keep us connected to TYT on a regular basis. They also have a moderately sized staff which means they can do more work in less time. Perhaps they are obtaining better results because they have more employees staffed to research best practices, analyze stats, run analytics, launch marketing campaigns, do PR initiatives, etc. These realities are all things that are ignored when a conspiracy is implied.

Tim Black is obviously not alone in his thinking either.

Just a few days ago someone commented on one of my recent blog posts on Google+. He said:

“You unironicaly watch TYT?!?! LMAO!!!”

I wasn’t even sure what to say. “Ironic” implies that TYT is actually doing the opposite of what they claim to be doing.  Meaning that though TYT claims to be anti-corporate-media, instead, they are actually shills for the establishment. Which is a logical leap I am failing to grasp. And with absolutely no evidence to support it too. And yet, I’m not allowed to say Trump and Russia might be connected.

Dave Chappelle is a Biggot!

A few days ago I watched the new Dave Chappelle standup specials. Shortly after, I saw numerous attacks on Chappelle on Twitter and on popular online publications. People are claiming that Dave Chappelle is transphobic. Let me explain the bit they are referring to. Dave makes a joke about his specifically black perspective while watching Caitlyn Jenner as she is immediately accepted by mainstream media.

In the joke, Chappelle is making the point that white people having surgery to change their sex is more easily accepted by mainstream society than a black person simply existing. And attacks like these speak to his point. Furthermore, the Woke Left is suddenly forcing allies to measure which social issue is most important and to agree or be the bad guy. Is the transgender perspective more important than the black perspective? That is the question they are implying, and it’s a question that should be denounced.

Here’s another question. Is it unacceptable to acknowledge that black men have been systematically emasculated throughout the US’s history and are allowed to have fundamentally different perspectives on the issue without being the enemy? While the Woke Left claims to demand consideration of all peoples’ perspectives and feelings, there is one perspective they do not care about: Dave Chappelle’s. A black man that turned down fifty-million-dollars from Hollywood. A guy who just a few weeks ago stood up in front of his mostly white community and fought against militarized police. He’s the enemy? Really?


Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

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