berenice melis: Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, USA, 2019 (Unsplash)
From the Atlantic:
The bobos believe in human dignity and classical liberalism—free speech, open inquiry, tolerance of different viewpoints, personal autonomy, and pluralism—but our class has not delivered for the people outside it. On our watch, government and other public institutions have deteriorated. Part of the problem is that, steeped in an outsider, pseudo-rebel ethos, we never accepted the fact that we were a leadership class, never took on the institutional responsibilities that go with that acceptance, never got to know or work with people not in our class, and so never earned the legitimacy and trust that is required if any group is going to effectively lead. According to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, 65 percent of Americans believe that “the most educated and successful people in America are more interested in serving themselves than in serving the common good.”
One economic rung below are the younger versions of the educated elite, many of whom live in the newly gentrifying areas of urban America, such as Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York or Shaw in Washington, D.C. More diverse than the elites of earlier generations, they work in the lower rungs of media, education, technology, and the nonprofit sector. Disgusted with how their elders have screwed up the world, they are leading a revolution in moral sentiments. From 1965 to 2000, for instance, about 10 percent of white liberals favored increased immigration. By 2018, according to Zach Goldberg, a researcher at the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, it was more than 50 percent, thanks to the influence of a rising generation on the multicultural left.
Yet wokeness is not just a social philosophy, but an elite status marker, a strategy for personal advancement. You have to possess copious amounts of cultural capital to feel comfortable using words like intersectionality, heteronormativity, cisgender, problematize, triggering, and Latinx. By navigating a fluid progressive cultural frontier more skillfully than their hapless Boomer bosses and by calling out the privilege and moral failings of those above them, young, educated elites seek power within elite institutions. Wokeness becomes a way to intimidate Boomer administrators and wrest power from them.