Is The Woke Movement In The Sunken Place?

In Jordan Peele’s ground breaking and award-winning movie, Get Out, the main character, Chris Washington, an African-American photographer, is persuaded by his White girlfriend, Rose, to travel to the country to meet her family. One night, while in her family’s home, Rose’s mother hypnotizes Chris and sends him to a dark space known as the Sunken Place. The sunken place in the movie is a metaphor that, according to Peele, is “a brainwashing technique... The Sunken Place means we're marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.”

It is common to hear people who describe themselves as woke, utilize this phrase, especially against other African-Americans who they believe to still be in the sunken place. What does it mean to be woke? There are many definitions but they all agree on this simple aspect: it is to be aware of the social ills encountered in this nation by minorities at the hands of the dominant (White) culture through their people, systems, and institutions. To be Black and in the sunken place therefore is to either be unaware of this reality or to actively fight against this truth. I am a part of this group that call themselves woke. In fact, being a Christian should awaken us to the fact that sin has permeated and affected not only people, but every institution and system on Earth. This doctrine is called Total Depravity and to fight against the truth that minorities suffer unjustly at the hands of American institutions and systems that have White supremacist ideas deeply ingrained in them, is to deny this biblical doctrine. I am grateful that many minorities, inside and outside the church, are actively fighting against mass incarceration, the alt-right, wealth inequality, gender inequality, amongst other topics. However, I have a fear.

The woke movement, the movement I love, is still in the sunken place. The terrifying aspect of this truth is that many within the movement don’t even know it. That’s one of the dangers of the sunken place. You can be in it and not be aware of it. In other words, we are not woke to this reality.

How are we in the sunken place still? Either by accepting, advocating, or simply tolerating one of the greatest forms of racism and White supremacy in America to exist. It has taken the lives of many, including a heart-breaking amount of African and Hispanic Americans, in this country. The killer we face is abortion.

The Racist History of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, “In 1916, Planned Parenthood was founded…Planned Parenthood traces its roots back to nurse, educator, and founder Margaret Sanger—whose activism changed the world. Sanger had the revolutionary idea that women should control their own bodies—and thus their own destinies. Imagine that!” At first glance, this sounds fine. Women should be able to choose from many options concerning their lives. However, when Sanger’s ideas about what it means to control their own bodies and destinies comes into focus, one sees that it’s anything but fine.

Margaret Sanger was a firm believer in Eugenics which is “…the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans. The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow ‘the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable.’” To any competent student of history, her and others’ (i.e. Nazi Germany) view of a more suitable race and strain of blood was that of White Europeans, White Americans, and White Germans. The less suitable races and strains of blood? Africans, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Jews. Sanger wrote, “…the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”

In accordance with her views, she created The Negro Project. The Negro Project “…was initiated in 1939…For a eugenist, it wasn’t controversial, it was integral to the implementation of eugenics to eliminate the ‘unfit.’” She wrote in a letter in 1939, “The ministers work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Lothrop Stoddard, one of Sanger’s Planned Parenthood directors, said, “Non-White races must be excluded from America…The Red and Black races if left to themselves revert to a savage or semi-savage stage in a short time.” What is one way to exclude these minority races according to Margaret Sanger and Lothrop Stoddard? One way is what Planned Parenthood is largely known for: elective abortion or the murder of unborn children in the womb.

The woke movement is right in saying that America’s founders created this nation and imbedded their racist, White supremacist views into its fabric. In the same way, Margaret Sanger also imbedded her racist, White supremacist views into the creation of her wicked organization, Planned Parenthood.

Are the Embryo and Fetus a Human Being?

Some within the woke movement say that abortion is fine because the embryo and fetus in the womb is not a child until a certain point. Is that scientifically true though?

In his book, The Case for Life, Scott Klusendorf, writes in regards to this objection, “The science of embryology is clear. From the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings…the science of embryology establishes a set of facts about the developing human…” Klusendorf then quotes Robert George, professor of jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, who said of the established facts of embryology, “these facts are stubborn; there is no running away from them…Human embryos are not creatures different in kind from human beings (like rocks, or potatoes, or alligators), they are, rather, human beings—distinct living members of the species Homo sapiens—at the earliest stage of their natural development. They differ from human beings at later developmental stages not in virtue of the kind of entity they are, but rather by degree of development.” In an article titled, When Human Life Begins, the American College of Pediatricians wrote “The American College of Pediatricians concurs with the body of scientific evidence that corroborates that a unique human life starts when the sperm and egg bind to each other in a process of fusion of their respective membranes and a single hybrid cell called a zygote, or one-cell embryo, is created…(we) therefore, oppose active measures that would prematurely end the life of any child at any stage of development from conception to natural death.”

What about the biblical evidence, which is by far the most authoritative voice in this debate? God is not silent on this issue and has spoken clearly. He says in His Word that all life, including the life of the unborn, are created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). He says that children are a gift from Him (Psalm 127:3-5). He says that He knows us before He even formed us in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He says we are not to murder (Exodus 20:13). Also important is the fact that one of the few times Jesus Christ became indignant is when His own disciples sought to keep the children from coming to Him for a blessing (Mark 10:13-14). He also issued a very stern warning and threat for those who would harm a child and cause them to stumble in Matthew 18:16. The biblical evidence reveals the Triune God’s heart towards His little image bearers, both inside and outside the womb. How great of a sin it must be for a mother and father, alongside a “doctor," to murder one of His little ones in the womb!

During the times of Slavery and the Holocaust, the way enslavement and murder were justified was by saying that Blacks and Jews were not human. For those who call themselves woke and yet say the unborn are not human, they place themselves in the same category as our enslavers, Nazi Germany, the KKK and others. How is it woke to use the same arguments, despite the scientific and theological evidence saying otherwise, that these racist men and women offered in order to enslave and lynch you?

The scientific and biblical evidence reveals the truth that the unborn are, in fact, whole, living, and distinct human beings, created in the image of their Creator. For those in the woke movement who say that the zygote/embryo and fetus aren’t human persons, the evidence is against you and shows you to be very much asleep.

Planned Parenthood’s Assault on the Black Community

Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, has silently done much damage to the Black community. According to website, Black Dignity, “…almost as many African-American children are aborted as are born. A black baby is three times more likely to be aborted as a white baby.” It goes on to say that, “Since 1973, abortion has reduced the Black population by over 25 percent. Twice as many African-Americans have died from abortion than have died from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined.” Another shocking statistic from the website, Protecting Black Life, states, “Planned Parenthood…targets African-Americans by locating 62% (approx. 2 out of every 3) of their surgical abortion mills in Black and minority communities.” According to The Atlantic, “An African-American woman is almost five times likelier to have an abortion than a white woman, and a Latina more than twice as likely, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.” Why are these facts so disheartening? Because according to New York State Right to Life, “Approximately 35% of all abortions in the United States are performed on African-American women, while they represent only 13% of the female population of the country.” Even Planned Parenthood’s own research arm, The Guttmacher Institute, shows that the ethnic group with the highest abortion rates is Black Americans. In other words, we are killing ourselves to the point where our population has declined. Hispanic Americans are now the largest minority group in the nation. There is a truthful narrative being told that one of the most dangerous places on Earth for an African-American is their mother’s womb. It is time to change that narrative.

Now, many within my movement, the Woke movement, will say that the reason for the disproportionate amount of abortions within the Black community is because of lack of healthcare and insurance—that they’re working on the root of the abortions. I agree that lack of healthcare and insurance in our community due to racism and discrimination is part of the problem and needs to continue being addressed. This is where I applaud my movement for fighting for improvements and equality. But the root of abortion is not socio-economic problems. The root is an evil heart. It is a person in rebellion towards their Creator who needs to have their heart changed by the power of the Holy Spirit through the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf. Socio-economic issues, which again are very real and difficult, are absolutely no reason for intentionally taking the life of an unborn image bearer of God.

Some within the woke movement say that, although they are against abortions personally, they believe that Planned Parenthood should still stay open because of the other services they offer lower socio-economic women and men. On the surface, this sounds reasonable but when one remembers the origins of Planned Parenthood, its racist founder Margaret Sanger, and how they target minority communities, we see that it is very dangerous to allow and advocate for them staying open. It’s like saying that although Nazi Germany’s concentration camps murdered millions of Jewish men, women, and children, they offered other services and should stay open. Or during the early times of America, people saying that although slave owners unjustly held African-Americans, they also offered other services such as a place to eat and sleep. Those would be ridiculous statements! The critic says my comparisons aren’t fair. They’re right. We are worse than Nazi Germany and early American slave owners for we have legally oppressed and murdered more of our own citizens than they ever did.

There are other methods and ways for women and men to receive the other services that Planned Parenthood offers for free or low cost. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists some of those alternatives. Even for pregnancy related concerns, outside of abortions, there are alternatives. According to Greg Koukl, founder of Stand to Reason, “there are actually more crisis pregnancy centers in the country than abortion clinics.” One doesn’t need to go to this modern-day concentration camp and help fund them so that they can continue killing people of all ethnicities, but primarily Black babies. To advocate that these killing centers stay open although you’re personally opposed to abortion shows that you’re not woke, not pro-life, and are very much still asleep.

Some ask about the case of women who conceive through rape and incest. Of course, those cases are tragic indeed and the offender should be punished according to the law! The answer to a pregnancy created by rape and incest however is not murdering the child. The child should not die for the crimes of his or her father. Again, to be woke is to realize that there is never an acceptable situation (ectopic pregnancies are a different situation as this debate shows) where it is morally right to kill an innocent child in the womb.

Others ask about the woman's future. An unwanted pregnancy can derail her dreams and possible future. First, many women have experienced an unwanted pregnancy, kept their child, and still accomplished their dreams and goals although it was admittedly harder. It can be done. Second, the answer to fornication is not murder. Convenience is never a good reason to end the life of an innocent child. 

It’s Time to Truly Wake Up

It is impossible to be woke and pro-choice. If we in the woke movement stand for and fight for the flourishing of all people, but specifically the oppressed, then we must stand with the most defenseless among us: the unborn. One of the phrases the woke movement stands on is that Black Lives Matter. It is a way of saying that our lives matter too because of the oppression we go through as a people in this nation. I agree with that phrase and would like to expand it to all Black lives. As Black Christian artist Sho Baraka said in his song Excellence, “I know Black lives matter, and they should matter in the womb.” If the Alt-Right were murdering African-Americans every week, we’d rightly be in an uproar. So how come we aren’t in a righteous uproar about abortion since it’s tearing through our communities, killing our children? We must do something but what can be done to end abortion?

Some will work for better laws and programs that assist lower socio-economic women and their families so that they don’t feel the need to have an abortion. This is good. Others will stand in front of abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood and Family Planning Associates (FPA) and plead with abortion bound families not to murder their child, offer them free resources to help, and proclaim the Law and Gospel so that they might be saved. This is good. Others will work or volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers. This too is good. We all have different roles to play but what we cannot do is be silent any longer. We must speak out in love and urgency. And we must seek to destroy one of the largest and most deadly forms of racism and White supremacy in our nation today, abortion. This will come about through pro-life apologetics, the Body of Christ practically caring for these women and men who God loves dearly, and righteous laws based upon the Word of God.

Jordan Peele said that the Sunken Place means “we're marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.” Abortion actually silences the literal cries and screams of innocent image bearers in the womb. They are marginalized. It is time to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” (Proverbs 31:8) and tear down abortion, once and for all. It is time for the woke movement to truly come out of the sunken place.

There is Hope

If you have had an abortion, or have pressured your partner to have an abortion, please know that there is forgiveness and grace for you. We all stand guilty before the holy Law of God which says not to murder. Even if we have hatred in our hearts or are unjustly angry with someone else or utter a curse, we are guilty of murder. God sees our hearts and not just our actions. We therefore, all deserve His wrath in the Lake of Fire. However, God, in His mercy and love, sent the God-Man, His Son, Jesus Christ to Earth. He lived the only perfect life on your behalf, died the death you deserve to die, and rose again from the dead three days later. If you will turn from your sins (repentance) and trust in Jesus Christ alone (faith), God will forgive your every sin, adopt you into His family, and grant you the gift of eternal life. If you choose to do this, the next step is to find a solid biblical church to help you grow in your newfound faith. There is hope for post abortive mothers and fathers, and His name is Jesus Christ.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28


Lamont English

Lamont English is the assistant director of Mission to the World’s West Coast Office. He is currently enrolled at Birmingham Theological Seminary and pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Theology. He has a heart for evangelism and apologetics as well as teaching others how to share and defend their faith. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three boys and are members at Christ Presbyterian Church in Temecula, CA.