Nonprofit Releases Documentary on “Wokeism” and its Alternatives

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Not even 10 years ago, the term “woke” was unfamiliar to many people. Yet today, “woke,” defined by Merriam-Webster as both “politically liberal (as in matters of racial and social justice) especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme” and “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice),” is ubiquitous in news, entertainment and business. 

But how and why did “woke”—and identity politics—emerge in our culture seemingly so suddenly? 

PragerU, a nonprofit that creates educational videos to “promote American values [and offer] a free alternative to the dominant left-wing ideology in culture, media and education,” recently released a well-produced documentary that answers that question.  

Running just under 18 minutes, “Unwoke Inc.” features PragerU’s presenter Amala Ekpunobi, who investigates the origins of “wokeism,” examines whether it is here to stay and offers some alternatives. Ekpunobi, once a liberal student organizer, travels the country to meet with experts in finance, higher education, consumer products and sports. She breaks down this phenomenon, why she believes it’s damaging and what can be done about it.

The origins of wokeism 

So where was the idea of wokeism born? Within the walls of U.S. elite institutions of higher education, according to Strive Asset Management Co-Founder Vivek Ramaswamy and Michael Farris, founder and chancellor emeritus of Patrick Henry College. 

Farris says he first noticed the ideology being taught in universities. 

“[School administrators] were teaching ‘There is no truth.’ But what they meant is we’re going to undermine the objective truth that you believe in and pretend that all truth is relative … [and] follow that up eventually with our truth and that idea is now ‘We’re going to jam our truth down your throat and you better kneel,’” he said.  

Ramaswamy, a Philanthropy Roundtable board member, added,  “[Wokeism] was the merger of Marxism with identity politics: the idea that you are nothing more and nothing less than the genetic stock that you inherit on the day you’re born.”  

The documentary goes on to explain that these ideas were provocative and challenged the system, yet eventually were taken out of the ivory towers and applied to broader society. 

Responding to wokeism 

Unwoke Inc. also showcases the creativity, optimism and courage of entrepreneurs in various industries who are offering alternatives to this ideology. 

In Media 

Jeremy Boreing believed that “Big media has become just a propaganda arm of the Left” and created the Daily Wire to “correct that.” Daily Wire produces kids’ programming, news articles, podcasts, movies, television shows and has even expanded into the consumer goods market. 

“[H]alf of the country … has had no alternatives whatsoever [and] are eager and hungry to engage with those alternatives when they’re presented, … and I think there is enormous opportunity to succeed,” he said. 

In Sports  

Basketball player Jonathan Isaac, who plays for the Orlando Magic in the NBA, refused to kneel along with his teammates in deference to Black Lives Matter. He later launched UNITUS, an apparel company, in hopes of bringing people together over love of God and country. 

“UNITUS is a sports and apparel company and the basis of it for me is freedom,” said Isaac. “The hope is to be able to sign athletes across all different sports and to create a real infrastructure of people who are in the sports world, moms and dads who want to buy their kids sneakers and clothes but want to give their money to a company that they know is going to work toward bolstering their values. 

“Standing up for what you believe in is only going to get harder, but it’s only going to become more and more necessary,” he added. 

In Beauty  

After expressing her personal political beliefs, beauty influencer Amanda Ensing lost her sponsorships with major beauty brands like Sephora and faced public condemnation. That experience propelled her to start her own beauty brand, Elevate Beauty. 

“The alternative to people not creating these businesses is way worse than if you would [not] take that leap of faith, because I don’t think a lot of people realize … we are desperate for new brands and new companies,” said Ensing. 

These are just several innovators and entrepreneurs in various spaces seeking to provide Americans with alternatives to race-based politics that stay true to their values.