What Patty Hearst’s Kidnapping Tells Us About The Rise Of Woke Culture

What caused the woke white woman to break onto the scene? For the sake of illustration, let’s revisit an extreme case of initiation, the case of Patty Hearst. Aside from being a newspaper heiress, Hearst was an average 19-year-old college undergrad looking forward to marrying her boyfriend. Within a couple months, however, she took part in a bank robbery while wielding an assault rifle. What happened in the interim?

Hearst was kidnapped by terrorists of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in February 1974. They isolated her in a closet and put her through Maoist-style indoctrination sessions, schooling her in “white privilege” and “systemic racism” even though those terms were not yet in wide circulation. They explained to her that “Amerikkka” was a racist and evil society. Day after day, they called her a privileged “bourgeoise bitch” and her father a “pig of the corporate fascist state.” She duly memorized the propaganda they assigned her, and though she was harassed and even raped, she was also fed and sheltered.

Isolation and predatory alienation were key to Hearst’s transformation. Separated from any familiar influences, she became totally dependent on her captors and bonded with them. Once cemented, that Stockholm Syndrome bond is not easily broken. When Hearst agreed to join the SLA after six weeks in captivity, she emerged with the new identity “Tania” and publicly disavowed her family.

…Granted, the typical woke white woman today is not Patty Hearst. But we ought to ask about similar forms of persuasion that are common in the constant propaganda that grooms her in K-12 and higher education, and from media and celebrities. After years of constant messaging — particularly with the vilification of the enemy “other” — certain psychological patterns and scripts are bound to sink in.

We should be able to discern several parallels between the indoctrination of Hearst and today’s woke white woman. For example, although not literally locked in a closet, the woke white woman is exposed to various types of diversity training and white privilege workshops. Similar gaslighting and guilt-mongering are common elements of struggle sessions, and themes such as “racist!” and “America is evil!” are common. Stark accusations against self and homeland are psychologically manipulative and destabilizing to one’s sense of identity.

Hearst’s experience included memorization and other indoctrination exercises typical of Chinese brainwashing of American prisoners during the Korean War. The “White Fragility” craze constantly imposes such exercises in academia, the media, and pop culture. The woke white woman even experiences a similar sense of isolation because exploring any different viewpoint could get her shunned and smeared. As with Hearst, the woke white woman is more likely to disown any friends and family who don’t get with the program. Read more»

Stella Morabito, The Federalist July 7, 2020.



  1. <<<>>>>

    I appreciate some of the points the author makes here. Extremism results from something, comes from somewhere, is the consequence of a process of radicalization. But the mistakes my friends make who are protesting are codified in the PCA’s 2018 ad interim report on race.

    Let me sketch out two of the points the author makes. The first is the loss of objective morality:
    The PCA Ad Interim Report on Race moves from creation as diverse, the fall affecting diversity, then redemption as uniting the diverse. There is truth to all this but reducing the elements of the story to comparisons of characteristics of people and things elides the difference between moral and amoral.

    For instance, it mentions that in creation diversity there are different types of fruit and snowflakes but there is no moral implication for our daily living. It mentions the diversity of marriage and its reflection of the image of God but do we mandate marriage to better reflect God?

    It speaks for Imago Dei and against colorblind theory, but they are the same thing without the qualification that shows the former to be in moral issues (sin, salvation, etc) and the latter refers to amoral issues (fruit, snowflakes etc).

    It very clearly suggests that being multi-ethnic is “our great hope” as well as “the proper ethical response to biblical teaching.” In short, multi-ethnicity is implied to be an issue of the law.

    The second point is related to the first. This misunderstanding of the law plays into the author’s point about psychological manipulation. Much of the teaching FOR multi-ethnicity is quickly followed with a true statement about the sin of racism. Most fundamentalisms add to the law the law by introducing the carrot of desire and the stick of the fear of sin. Stated differently, a good amoral thing like money is contrasted with an actual immoral thing like laziness: be rich to show that you’re not lazy; get married to show you’re not sexually immoral; don’t dance to show that you’re holy; be multi-ethnic to show that you’re not racist.

    So the protestors want to be visible and care for their neighbors and demonstrate their hearts with deeds, just like the report says: “We must wrestle with the reality that the PCA will struggle to communicate the heart of God to her surrounding neighbors if she does not have the heart of God for her surrounding neighbors. Inasmuch as we fail to love our diverse neighbors in both word and deed, we are rebelling against the Lord, contradicting our Christian identity, and working at cross-purposes with our stated mission. ….The message of racial justice is critical for the world to hear Christians talking about. …”

    That’s a carrot. Demonstrating love by protesting injustice. Being heard talking about something. But the stick is being called “racist.” Just as some teach that you should not drink because being drunk is a sin; just as some teach you should not dance because adultery is a sin; now some teach you must be anti-racist because racism is a sin. The missional and visible appeal to the people has also introduced an appeal to fear. This is very psychologically subtle and complex.

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