Anti-Wokeism as a Cover for Anti-Blackness

Clare Xanthos, PhD
3 min readOct 8, 2022

Staying Woke to the Strategies of the Anti-Woke Movement

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Those who describe themselves as “anti-woke” tend to couch their distaste for “wokeness” in terms of a general dislike of left-wing causes; but make no mistake, the anti-woke brigade’s primary obsession is an aversion to racial justice.

Indeed, the word “woke” originates in Black America; it has and continues to be used to express the idea of staying aware of anti-Black racism in society. It therefore follows that anti-wokeism evolved as a backlash against Black-led anti-racism efforts.

The Need for Code Words

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Fortunately, at this time, society considers that racism is a bad thing and that (overtly) racist individuals are “bad people.” Therefore, it is difficult for racists to openly say, “I’m against anti-racism,” because it will (correctly) be assumed that he or she is pro-racism.

It is much easier for the closet racist to use code words and declare, “I’m anti-woke” because (at this time) mainstream society doesn’t equate being anti-woke with being a racist. Indeed “anti-woke” is such a good cover for racists, that there are now an increasing number of anti-Black liberals who are starting to make it known that they too are “anti-woke.”

Trashing Anti-Racism

The ultimate aim of the anti-woke crowd is to taint and obfuscate the very concept of anti-racism, and accordingly make racism acceptable once again — as it was in the “good old days.” For example, one of their goals is to convince everyone that racism is largely a thing of the past; that any racism that still exists is negligible, and not worth addressing; and that anti-racist efforts will result in non-Black people being oppressed.

Furthermore, anti-woke individuals put a significant effort into denigrating and trivializing the anti-racist movement. For example, in the case of the word “woke,” they have maliciously co-opted a positive Black American word, with the aim of making it into something ugly. Additionally, they have concocted ridiculous buzzwords such…



Clare Xanthos, PhD

WRITER. AUTHOR. SCHOLAR. Interests: Racial Equity, Racial Health Equity, Racial Justice. Co-Editor: Social Determinants of Health among African-American Men