For Keri Smith, deprogramming from what she calls the cult of “wokism” didn’t happen overnight.
But the behavior of her former friends within the social-justice world during the 2016 presidential election, with their support of violence, censorship, and gaslighting, certainly sped up the process, setting off a parade of red flags.
Social-justice warriors (SJW) were advocating for acts of aggression against supporters of former President Donald Trump, contradicting what she said she understood the essential nature of liberalism to be.
“It was the first indication that I might not really understand what was going on in the world,” Smith told The Epoch Times.
Today, Smith fosters conversations with guests on her YouTube channel, “Deprogrammed with Keri Smith,” to examine and unpack the SJW belief system and its permeation into all spheres of power and influence, including pop culture.
“I want to understand the belief system better for myself, to untangle all of it,” she said. “What did I believe about it that was true? What did I believe about it that was false?”
Approaching the topic from all angles, Smith interviews a range of people, including comedians, artists, academic scholars, and authors, as well as others like her who have abandoned their wokeist ideologies.
Smith said she first encountered social-justice theories in the late ’90s when she was a biological anthropology and anatomy major, with a minor in women’s studies, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, when most people hadn’t heard of critical race theory.
She also worked with Amnesty International, the international nongovernmental human rights organization, which held a seminar on “dismantling racism,” she said.
‘It’s a Cult That’s Very Obsessed With Language’
“These have become very common nowadays,” she said. “We learn the new concepts they push, like ‘racism and sexism are prejudice plus power.’ Looking back on it now, I realize what was happening was that this was a belief system that I was getting pulled into.
“But at the time, it didn’t seem like a belief system; it seemed like progressivism. I thought I was learning how the world works and learning how to end oppression.”
But slowly, like a cult, words and definitions are changed, she said.
“Because if you want to control people, you have to control the way they think. And to control the way they think, you have to control their language,” she said. “It’s a cult that is very obsessed with language.”
Like many of her peers, she left college bringing with her the ideology that had framed her worldview.
“It gave me a lens through which to see the whole world,” she said.
She called it a mutated form of Marxism that took “wealth” and replaced it with “power,” and switched out the “oppressor” and the “oppressed” with the current identity groups.
Instead of distributing wealth to equalize society, the new, mutated Marxism calls for a redistribution of power among the identity groups, she said.
“Then everything will be utopia,” she said.