David Rozado—Peak Wokeness?

Back in 2019, David Rozado published a chart he compiled of the frequency of 100 words associated with “social justice” and “woke” causes in the news and opinion articles of the New York Times from 1970 through 2018. This reminded me of the “Prime Radiant” developed by Hari Seldon from the science of “psychohistory” in Isaac Asimov’s science fiction Foundation series. Rozado’s charts provided a “dashboard” of contenders for the Current Thing among the “opinion leaders” of the legacy media and an early warning of events such as the “great awokening” around 2013.

Now, David Rozado, in a post on his Substack site, “New York Times Word Usage Frequency Chart – An Update” has updated the dashboard to cover the years 1970–2022.

Here, for comparison, is the original chart covering 1970 to 2018.

Note how many of the curves that appeared to be rising to the sky in 2018 now seem to have peaked and, in some cases, declined precipitously. Does this mean we’ve passed the point of Peak Woke and may now be headed toward a new constellation of Current Things which the Prime Radiant dashboard has not yet picked up as their own exponentials head for the steep and giddy part? Balaji Srinivasan offers an unsettling interpretation (click to read complete Twitter thread, including a discussion of “left-deviationism” in the Soviet Union).


Rozado notes that it isn’t just the New York Times, but a coordinated phenomenon across regime media.


What will be the next Current Thing?


No. It’s just gone to “Maximum Plaid” with new terms like “whiteness”* and “equity” being used (note the former has not dipped and the latter did not make the list). And there is no indication of absolute size. Thus, the increase in “whiteness”, “equity”, etc., may exceed drops in others.

Note they listed “hateful” twice in the first graphic.

  • I find the long use of “whiteness” odd. It seemed to have come out of nowhere, but I must be wrong.

David Rozado has just published a new analysis, “The Great Awokening as a Global Phenomenon”. His earlier analyses showed the stunning correlation across media in the U.S. and U.K. in terms related to “wokeness” starting after 2010 and accelerating in 2013, the “Great Awokening”. For example, here are prevalence of terms in four U.S. newspapers from 1970 to the present.

In the new paper, he has expanded the analysis to global media:

To do so, I quantify the prevalence of prejudice-denouncing terms and social justice associated terminology (diversity, inclusion, equality, etc) in over 98 million news and opinion articles across 124 popular news media outlets from 36 countries representing 6 different world regions: English-speaking West, continental Europe, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Persian Gulf region and Asia.

Results show that increasing prominence in news media of so-called Great Awokening terminology is a global phenomenon starting early post-2010 in pioneering countries yet mostly worldwide ubiquitous post-2015. Note that the frequency of each prejudice-denoting term in the figure below has been normalized using min-max feature scaling to the range 0-1. This is done to neutralize differences in frequency ranges for different terms and thus obtain an overall estimate of when the aggregate set of terms signifying prejudice is being used, on average, at minimum, medium and maximum prevalence.

He notes:

The previous analysis presents a picture of global news media increasing usage of prejudice denouncing terminology and social justice discourse. However, are all countries using these lexicons for the same purpose or with the same intention? A preliminary qualitative analysis of Russia’s, Iran’s and China’s state media such as RT, Sputnik News, Tehran Times, Islamic Republic News Agency, People’s Daily or China Daily suggests that this is not the case. While in Western news media, most mentions of prejudice occur in a context of denouncing prejudice, mostly within Western nations, mentions of terms signifying prejudice in adversarial countries of the West are almost never used introspectively to denounce prejudice within their frontiers but rather they are used to criticize (or mock, in the case of some Russian state-controlled media) alleged prejudice in the West.

I wonder how much this apparent co-ordination of messaging across a wide variety of countries can be explained by media in those countries picking up content from the big U.S. and U.K. wire services and republishing it in their markets.


Rozado actually looks at that in his piece and determines that available data do not support the hypothesis of US being first out the gate with wokeism.

The trend appears mostly moderately in sync across all of them. Plotting some of the countries that appear to peak first in their usage of prejudice signifying terminology plus the United States, shows that American news media, on average, was not a pioneer in the increasing deployment of references to terms that signify prejudice and that other countries such as Sweden, Canada or Australia began to increase the deployment of prejudice denouncing terminology earlier than news media from the United States. Similarly, when plotting some international news media outlets and the newspaper of record in the United States, the New York Times , we can also observe that the New York Times was not a pioneer in the increasing usage of prejudice signifying terminology.

If I get this right, his point is it emerged as an excrescence of machismo in Latin America, which over time mutated? grafted itself? into what we now call wokeism.


Rozado published an updated data set recently, which appears to provide further support to the peak woke hypothesis. Albeit not at the same rate across all dimensions (source)

Here, I summarize some quantitative evidence regarding usage of Great Awokening terminology in news media.

Much more on his substack, and while some of the dimensions are peaking, trans is still on the upswing, at least in the US.