The creator of the comic strip “Dilbert” went on a racist rant last week and now hundreds of newspapers across the country have dropped the cartoon. Scott Adams, who posted his screed on his YouTube channel, called Black people “a hate group” and told White people to stay away from them. Of course Adams will complain that he’s being canceled. This time, he’s probably right. 

Adams is one of those conservatives who decries “wokeness” as ruining America. He’s a perpetual victim who claims that he’s been discriminated against because he’s white. Of course, as an NPR story points out, “’Dilbert’ appeared in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages.” In other words, nobody discriminated against Scott Adams.

Adams is really just another lesson the in the victim mentality that has plagued conservatives for generations. Before they were victims of the “woke” crowd, they were victim of the “PC” crowd. Before that, they were victims of the communists that desegregated lunch counters and schools.

The complaints about politically correctness arose when liberals, corporate America, and most of country decided that it’s not okay to publicly deride minorities, women, or people with disabilities. Conservatives believed their God-given right to make racist and sexist jokes was under attack. All those liberals just lacked a sense of humor. Victims in the PC era were people like Andrew Dice Clay, skits in Black face, and the right of men to refer to grown women as girls. 

Political correctness really reflected changing social mores in a country that is still emerging from a deeply racist past that included state-sponsored discrimination and terror to uphold the old social order. Belittling minorities in movies, stand-up routines, and private jokes just reinforced the old stereotypes that justified the most subtle feelings of White superiority. So-called political correctness made blatant racism more socially unacceptable. And it worked until the backlash of the Trump era. 

The so-called “woke mob” is being countered by the modern-day Know-nothings of the Republican Party who embrace anti-intellectualism, anti-immigration policies, and anti-democratic reforms. Republicans are banning books and passing laws to limit intellectual freedom in the name of combatting the imaginary threat of wokeness. Conservatives are petrified that they are going to wake up one day and find out that African American history in the United States is a story of struggle for liberation that occurred long after the end of the American Revolution and that their parents and grandparents were on the wrong side of the fight. They also don’t want to admit that the impact of that struggle still lingers today in ways that have impeded the ability of Black Americans to achieve the equality and the American Dream. 

The attack on wokeness or political correctness is not just a symptom of victimhood. It’s also the vehicle through which conservatives tie the most extreme sentiments of the left to the Democratic Party. Few Democrats ever embraced Defund the Police, but you would never know that watching Fox News or listening to conservative media. Because Democrats are the party that has stood up for the rights of LGBT+ community, they’ve been called “groomers,” despite the fact that widespread child abuse seems to occur more often churches than at drag shows. Democrats aren’t trying to change history; they just want a more honest reckoning of our national story that includes the role of people heretofore ignored. 

We are in the midst of an historical reckoning and the backlash to it. As women and minorities claim their place in the public sphere, conservatives are doing all they can to keep from having to contain their anger and entitlement. They don’t want the history of the African American struggle taught in our schools or universities, despite its centrality on our national story. They don’t want to admit their parents’ and grandparents’ culpability in denying African Americans and Native Americans the ability to share in our country’s economic prosperity and they don’t want the responsibility of righting these wrongs. And they don’t want people like Scott Adams held responsible for their abhorent views. 


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!