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What do A Christmas Carol, the CIA, and our “Racial Awokening” have in common?

By Kevin Botelho

Since the summer of 2020, the country experienced what some would call a “racial reckoning.” The Great Awokening was supposed to be our “come to Jesus moment” when we’d all gather to process our sins and somehow heal the nation of its ills. We even Christianized certain saints who become martyrs for the cause; “say their name” was echoed across America.  

Maybe some of this was due. It’s important for a country to reflect on how the past has impacted the present. Many Americans were forced to face these issues for the first time this summer. But as time passed, and the heat of summer and COVID restrictions lifted, most of this “racial reckoning” has been performative.  

It’s now the norm for racial grief sessions to take place during corporate Zoom meetings. Those who attend are directed to “do the work” without any instruction on what kind of work they need to do. They all want the participants to go on a “journey” to racial awareness even though it comes without instructions or where this should begin or end. 

Diversity training has become part of the work culture. It’s been normalized for elite institutions to frame their messaging in order to appeal to this new environment. Corporations, entertainment, and even the military all have the same themes running through their messaging like they’re subliminally channeling Robin D’Angelo and her teachings. 

To realize how strange this new racial crusade is, just visualize and go back in time for a second. Imagine if the Civil Rights protesters who walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 were sponsored by Coca-Cola. Imagine they wore t-shirts saying, “If I could buy the world a Coke then racism would end.” If that’s not enough, imagine forcing “Bull Connor” to take diversity training. 

One must look no further than the messaging from our Armed Forces to see how pervasive this messaging is. 

Earlier this year, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took questions from lawmakers about critical race theory and what he described as “white rage.” “I want to understand White rage, and I’m White,” Milley said, because of course he wants you to believe the Army wants passive participants during wartime. 

This is not to excuse the racist and segregationist history of Black troops who served our country with bravery and valor. That blemish on our history should be examined and taught to every citizen. However, to think that the military now wants to come to terms with “white rage” is rather confusing since the military’s only job is to potentially go to war. 

It doesn’t matter what color the rage is, you unfortunately might have to take someone else’s life during combat if ordered to do so. With that said, this new reflection by our military brass is no more than “virtue signaling” at its best. They might not do much to stop the war, but they at least want to make you feel good while you kill enemy combatants. 

And hey, when you get home with PTSD, at least you can say you did it with kindness and respect while acknowledging your “white privilege.” 

Even the CIA, not to be outdone by the Pentagon, has their own vision on how an institution can navigate through this new “woke” world. In their new recruitment video, which aired earlier this year, a young Latina intelligence officer walking through CIA headquarters declares, “I am a cisgender millennial, who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.” 

Then, they say, “I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise,” even though that is exactly what she does in the video by going through her identifiers. Of course, the CIA couldn’t fully demonstrate that they’re down with the cause without donning her with a t-shirt with a raised fist in the air. 

And of course, it’s important to point out that the CIA only supports revolutions that benefit them. It’s been well documented that, during the 1960’s, they intimidated and infiltrated Civil Rights organizations during this important time in our history. 

For those naïve to this, it might seem that the CIA wants to be viewed as a warmer and gentler intelligence organization, but it’s important to understand that many of their recruitments come from elite institutions and universities who use this new “woke terminology.” 

Therefore, the CIA is broadcasting to these potential employees that “we get your language, so we understand you” and that working for them can be a cause for good. The CIA is an expert at psyops, but this is an entirely new cynical approach. 

In a recent article describing their new focus on diversity, a former CIA official said, “One of the biggest barriers of recruiting those from diverse backgrounds is the stigma from the agency’s controversial history of alleged human experimentation, torture, and assassinations.” 

It doesn’t take an undercover agent to see what a great job the CIA has done historically to marginalized communities. A simple Google search and quick reveals their greatest hits and this is a list just on one page: 

  • Drug trafficking 
  • Overthrown Governments in Africa and South America 
  • Torture 
  • CIA’s recruitment of Nazis 
  • Project MKUltra 

Of course, the world of entertainment has been at the forefront of providing more performative actions than substance. It is important for art to evolve and be viewed through different lenses. But when the play “Hamilton”, which was praised a few years ago for its diversity, now looks like a relic of the past, you know things are changing quickly. 

A good example of this can be found in a review of the recent performance of Providence Rhode Island Trinity Repertory Company’s rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” 

Most everyone knows the timeless story of “A Christmas Carol.”  For over one-hundred and fifty years, the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his redemption story has touched everyone. The moral of the story is that society and individuals can be changed for the better through generosity, empathy, and compassion. Scrooge transforms himself from a grumpy miser to a person who recognizes his blessings and the intrinsic value of helping others. 

This is a valuable and universal lesson for every human being on earth to follow. You can replace the characters in the Christmas Carol with any race, gender, or sexual orientation and the story’s moral won’t change because it connects and exposes our humanity. However, after the “Great Awokening,” the high priests felt that this wasn’t good enough. We all needed a new lesson of redemption. 

Further in the review, the play’s director, Joe Wilson Jr., who is described as a “progressive and daring director,” could not leave the ghosts of Christmas past alone. He felt the need to update his play based on what he feels people need in order to cleanse themselves before the holiday season. Let’s call it an anti-racist holiday enema. 

In his opening monologue, Wilson invites people to remember the Native American tribes that once populated Rhode Island. He does this while also mentioning the state’s slave trade connections and urging support for people of color. Because you know, the universal message of the original play of empathy and compassion isn’t good enough without a good anti-racist slant. 

In one scene, the Ghost of Christmas Past escorts Scrooge to Mr. Fezziwig’s business where he sees himself as a youth during Christmas Eve festivities. In this famous scene, Scrooge is reminded that there were once things in his life more important than money, but his choices have left him lonely and his life meaningless. 

Again, this lesson is universal and timeless. But, of course, this new rendition wants us to believe we need a new-and-improved Scrooge. During this important scene, Wilson introduces lively dancing and a funky rendition of “My Favorite Things” with Black actors dancing while the white actors look on. The review describes Wilson’s choice with some interesting words, 

“While wisely advocating diversity in the show, Wilson has created a moment that splits the cast along racial lines, with actors of color dancing and white actors looking on. It seems divisive instead of inclusive.” 

The Ghost of Christmas Past doesn’t need to take Scrooge back to the year 1619 so he could learn the valuable lesson of racism. We also don’t need Scrooge to profess his “white privilege” in order to turn himself into a better person. 

The original message is there for everyone. Sometimes, being too inclusive becomes exclusive. We all know the famous words of Tiny Tim when he says, “God bless us, everyone!” 

It’s no coincidence that he doesn’t say, “God bless the woke, for they will inherit the earth.”

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Kevin Botelho

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