June 2023

Jonathan Isaac's Brand Launch wasn't Newsworthy Prior to Capitalizing on Extremism

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Jonathan Isaac's brand exploits clashing ideologies by creating a badge of allegiance capitalizing on the polarity of the new "anti-woke" movement.

In the midst of a politically charged climate where wokeness, anti-wokeness, and cancel culture dominate internet armies, NBA player Jonathan Isaac has taken a not-so-bold step by launching a clothing brand that aims to challenge the narrative and capitalize on the polarity of the "woke" movement.

If he wasn't an NBA player and played in a less "woke" league, would this even be newsworthy?

related: Ranking Sports Leagues From The Least To Most Woke

Jonathan Isaac announced who he was long ago, yet his brand launch has received substantially more attention and coverage than those of athletes of similar stature. Which his basically none.

Jonathan Isaac's clothing brand represents a well timed capitalization on the politicization of social issues and the perceived overreach of wokeness and cancel culture. By capitalizing on the polarizing nature of these movements, the brand has successfully brought the clashing ideologies full circle, intentionally injecting more fuel into the cycle of victimhood and counter-attacks.

Capitalizing on Polarity

Isaac's brand has successfully captured the attention of the news cycle, proving the volatility of the environment while skyrocketing his brand to the top of the news cycle. Had he left out the part about anti-woke, his brand would be relatively unknown. Polarization sells, extremism gets attention, and attention spans are nonexistent. If the objective was to make a splash, it is mission accomplished.

The irony is, as the anti-woke movement gains traction, it inevitably creates a new set of victims who feel targeted or dismissed by those who subscribe to the woke ideology, who've directed their anger at cancel culture and tuned their radars to capture everything that moves.

The truth is, diverse perspectives help to grow and balance society, and polarizing content definitely gets our attention. Something our news stations and politicians know all too well.

related: Cancel Culture vs. Critical Thinking: Ja Morant Proves Why We Must Embrace Diversity

What is woke?

The term "woke" originated in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and has its roots in the early 20th century, particularly within African American communities. read more: Handshake vs Dap And The Cultural Significance Of AAVE In Sports

Being "woke" was closely associated with social and political awareness, emphasizing a heightened understanding of systemic injustices and racial inequalities. It gained prominence during the civil rights movement and was further popularized in the 2010s as a result of social media activism. The term underwent a significant evolution, broadening its scope beyond racial issues to encompass various social justice causes.

In recent years, the term "woke" has undergone a semantic hijacking and has come to be associated with a variety of liberal ideologies and progressive social movements. It is often used to describe any and all individuals who champion social causes such as racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and other progressive values ultimately lumping unwitting individuals together as peas of the same pod.

The term "anti-woke" has emerged as a reaction to what some perceive as an excessive emphasis on political correctness, cancel culture, and identity politics. It has become a label used by those who criticize what they see as an overly sensitive and ideologically rigid culture, promoting free speech and challenging what they view as the encroachment of political correctness on public discourse. The divide between the woke and anti-woke camps has become increasingly polarized, leading to intense debates and clashes of ideologies in various spheres, including politics, media, and popular culture.

Is it anti-woke or anti-woke culture?

The situation of a cultural term being hijacked is comparable to insisting that champagne can be produced everywhere not just France. Champagne is a protected designation of origin, representing a specific sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region. Similarly, cultural terms often emerge within specific contexts and carry nuanced meanings tied to their origins. When terms are misappropriated or applied without respect for their original cultural context, it's akin to insisting that any sparkling wine can be called champagne regardless of its origin. So for the purposes of the article, we'll proceed with the meaning intended by the term's creators.

see also: From Bubbly Baths to Locker Room Spray Downs: The Wild World of Championship Champagne

Did Herd Mentality Bias make this newsworthy?

This bias reflects our tendency to judge individuals based on our preconceived notions and assumptions about their beliefs and actions. When someone deviates from what our biases have led us to expect, we may find ourselves quick to judge them rather than evaluating their actual behavior. This bias arises from our natural inclination to categorize people and fit them into predefined boxes, often overlooking the complexity and individuality of their choices.

We risk perpetuating a culture of misplaced assumptions and unfair judgments, hindering our ability to truly understand and appreciate the nuances of human behavior. Overcoming this bias requires introspection, open-mindedness, and a willingness to evaluate individuals based on their actions rather than relying solely on our biased assumptions.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Virtue signaling and performative activism have become prevalent in today's society, often leading to unintended consequences and potential harm. When actions are driven by the desire to be seen as virtuous or to gain social approval, the focus shifts from genuine efforts for positive change to mere posturing. This can create an environment where everything becomes a performance for social media, rather than fostering real, meaningful transformation.

The emphasis on appearances rather than substance can undermine the effectiveness of genuine activism, diluting its impact and diverting attention away from the core issues at hand. It is crucial to recognize that true change requires more than superficial gestures or public displays of support. Genuine progress emerges from authentic engagement, education, and sustained efforts towards dismantling systemic inequalities. By shifting our focus from performative acts to substantive actions, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

The truth is, the person who declines to kneel and yet actually supports a cause isn't dangerous at all, while those who exploit a polarizing environment and hide their wrongdoings by changing their profile picture to a rainbow are able to cause much more harm in plain sight.

Issa Hall, Esq

Issa has founded multiple ventures, is an author, and founding partner of Hall & Dixon law firm, with over a decade of experience in tech and law.

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