Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

America in need of an Awakening~

Written by: on December 8, 2022

John H. McWhorter, the author of Woke Racism, is a professor at Columbia University who teaches linguistics, American studies, and music history. He has published over twenty books over the years and in this book, Woke Racism, McWhorter argues the idea of new racial movements around the phrase Third Wave of Antiracism and the Elect. He strongly contends that “people of a certain ideology are attempting to transform this country on the basis of racism.”[1] And he argues that this new Third Wave of Antiracism is a new religion growing that is attracting many good people who will turn out to harm those oppressed under systematic injustice and racism in America. McWhorter explains the movements of antiracism into three waves:[2]


One can divide antiracism into three waves along the lines that feminism has been. First Wave Antiracism battled slavery and legalized segregation. Second Wave Antiracism, in the 1970s and ‘80s, battled racist attitudes and taught America that being racist is a moral flaw. Third Wave of Antiracism, becoming mainstream in the 2010s, teaches that because racism is baked into the structure of society, whites’ “complicity” in living within it constitutes racism itself, while for black people, grappling with the racism surrounding them is the totality of experience and must condition exquisite sensitivity toward them, including a suspension of standards of achievement and conduct.


The book is written around the author’s observations of recent events and the idea of the rise of Third Wave Antiracism in America and how it is affecting to disserve the black community in the name of the fight against racism, it’s Elect – the followers of this new religion under the name of antiracism in America, and that Electism is a new rising religion in America. The author writes and shares his perspectives on a vast arena of the Elect tenets and how it ultimately disserves the black communities. As I read through this book, I felt disconnected from much of the author’s views, solutions, and explanations because the voice in his writings felt a bit extreme. In my experience and personal view, America is a complicated and vast country made up of 50 diverse states. Within every state, the population and the compositions of rural areas to its main cities are made up of very diverse backgrounds of political and religious views. The roots of this systematic injustice and racial discrimination have been a constantly evolving matter of long history and these issues are changing rapidly as we speak in our modern age and are different from state to state. The view of assuming or categorizing people into generalized camps of the Elect and the others to me is too stretched and unrealistic in its arguments. The author does share many new insights into how this new religion is betraying and weakening Black America, but a more meticulous and in-depth resolution should be considered in answering how to work around them. One thing is very clear in America these days – it isn’t just this Woke Racism, a new religion is growing, there are many new religions that are growing fast along with many Elects who view that what they see is the ultimate truth.

[1] John H. McWhorter, Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2021), ix.

[2] Ibid, 4-5.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

7 responses to “America in need of an Awakening~”

  1. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, thanks for your insights. I know that recently there has been anti-Asian sentiments expressed in various ways, including the Bay Area. As you read this book, do you see more similarities or differences between the racism against African-Americans and that against Asian-Americans?

  2. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Jonathan, thank you for bringing your valuable perspective. I too felt disconnected and even irritated by some of McWhorter’s views. One of my irritations is the Woke views that racism only seems to exist if one is Black. What about the numerous atrocities that the Asian communities have suffered? Or other immigrants that were lower on the hierarchy of settlement? I am curious, what do you see are the key elements within the Asian communities that have enabled them to overcome?

  3. mm Henry Gwani says:

    Jonathan, thank you for your insights into the diversity in America and for sharing your sense of disconnection from McWhorter’s views. Do you feel like the race issue is real but exaggerated in the US, and if so, how may America achieve balance on this?

  4. mm Eric Basye says:

    Thanks Jonathan. His position does seem quite extreme. In light of his position, as an African American, how much credibility does this give to his position?

  5. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Jonathan: I also thought this book was helpful to better understand the motives and reasoning behind the woke mentality. The solutions put forth by the author at the end of the book were slim and one way to improve this book would be to strengthen his solutions.

  6. Elmarie Parker says:

    Jonathan, thank you so very much for your post and reflections on McWhorter’s book. You close with this statement: “…there are many new religions that are growing fast along with many Elects who view that what they see is the ultimate truth.” I’d love to hear you unpack that statement a bit more…who or what are the many Elects you are noticing emerge in a US context?

  7. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan: While you state that you feel his view is extreme, have you or the students you work with experience anything in light of views of racism in relationship to Asian Americans? Especially since COVID?

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