California was “woke” before woke was “woke”. In fact, most liberals considered California as the epitome of progress and prosperity. But guess what happened? Everyone else went woke.
After every Tom, Dick, and Harry became woke, we now have a better chance of examining the trajectory of California’s woke culture.
What About the Cali Woke Culture?
The state's embrace of woke culture, marked by a fervent commitment to social justice, inclusivity, and diversity, has drawn both accolades and criticism. While the intentions behind the woke movement may be noble, the reality on the ground presents a more complicated picture.
Homelessness and Crime in Woke California
Well, according to Public Policy Institute of California, homelessness is on the rise in California whereby “As of 2022, 30% of all people in the United States experiencing homelessness resided in California”.
Major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are grappling with a growing number of homeless encampments, which in some cases, have turned into open drug scenes.
You will also not be surprised to find out that the woke culture of California has not done much to dent the crime statistics associated with homelessness. In fact, a piece in the LA Times notes that “Fear over crime and homelessness in California” was a major deciding factor in last year’s primaries.
Crime has surged to alarming levels, and many residents have stopped reporting incidents due to a sense of helplessness. The promise of a progressive paradise that is embedded in the woke culture is indeed overshadowed by the harsh realities on the streets of most cities in California.
State of Education in California
Well, the USNews ranking puts California at position #20 out of all American states when it comes to its state of education. This is indeed a fair ranking given that the same ranking puts California at #29 in terms of economy, #34 when it comes to infrastructure, #39 in fiscal stability, and #50 in terms of opportunity. Overall, California is #34 when it comes to average progress. So education is one of its better performing areas. That and healthcare.
Still, in its peak days, the state's education system was once heralded for its pioneering public education. Now, it faces significant challenges. For instance, less than half of California's public school students are proficient in reading, and even fewer are proficient in math according to a New York Times report. The decline in educational achievement has been precipitous, leaving minority students particularly vulnerable.
The Woke California Economy
The economic landscape in California also reflects the consequences of progressive policies. The state's strict business regulations have driven away industries that historically provided opportunities for upward mobility, particularly for minorities.
This is probably why the USNews ranking puts California at position #50 out of #50 when it comes to availability of opportunity within this once prosperous state.
For instance, the green agenda, while admirable in theory, has led to higher energy and housing costs that disproportionately affect the aspirational poor as noted in a report by The California Legislature’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor. Small businesses, many of which are minority-owned, are facing the biggest hurdles resulting from climate change policies.
What About Racial Equality?
Despite California's celebration of diversity, Hispanics and African Americans fare worse in the state than almost anywhere else in the country as per the report by the Public Policy Institute of California. Indeed, the report takes note of the recent mass exodus from California by African Americans who are migrating to look for greener pastures elsewhere in the country.
Notably, the two-tier economy predicted decades ago has become a stark reality, with a growing affluent class and a largely impoverished minority class.
It is likely that the woke movement's emphasis on identity politics and intersectionality has inadvertently created a hierarchy of victimhood, pitting communities against each other rather than fostering unity.
The focus on safe spaces and cancel culture has stifled free expression and intellectual discourse, creating an environment where open dialogue is increasingly difficult.
What Should Be Done?
The state's current challenges demonstrate that good intentions are not enough to create meaningful change. A balanced approach that considers the practical implications of policy decisions and acknowledges the diverse array of experiences within the state is essential for a successful movement.
California needs to address the underlying reasons for its decline if it is to reclaim its past prominence. The state's officials must put an emphasis on creating more opportunities and jobs for the middle class while avoiding politicized brainwashing.
It is essential to enable working-class people of all races to enter the middle class and to create an atmosphere that supports the growth of neighborhood businesses.
California's woke culture has had a profound impact on the state, both positive and negative. While it has drawn attention to crucial social issues, it has also contributed to a range of challenges that must be addressed honestly and constructively