Cameron says he’s fighting ‘woke’ – but he’s really just helping rich people get richer Skip to content

Cameron says he’s fighting ‘woke’ – but he’s really just helping rich people get richer

Gerth: “If Cameron hasn’t figured out that he’s fighting against the very principles that have allowed him to succeed in life by now, it’s doubtful if he ever will.”

4 min read
Photo by Michael Heuser / Unsplash

At least Daniel Cameron is consistent.

He’s still waging holy war on “woke ideology.” 

Kentucky’s former attorney general is the new CEO of the 1792 Exchange, an organization which “doesn’t want corporations to take positions on ‘woke’ issues,” explained Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Joseph Gerth. “It doesn’t want them to end business relationships with people who act like racist and homophobic jerks, or place a premium on doing business with companies that don’t harm the environment.

“It wants them all to stay neutral on controversial social and environmental issues. The idea is that the only thing corporations should care about is profits, profits, and more profits.” 

Northern Kentucky Tribune columnist Bill Straub also weighed in on Cameron’s new gig: “Apparently unable to find honest employment after his Failed with a Capital F gubernatorial campaign ... Cameron has hopped aboard the think tank gravy train that will undoubtedly pad his wallet nicely while simultaneously providing him with a plethora of opportunities to hit the links in his early retirement.” 

Cameron, the Trump-endorsed, ever-loyal MAGA Republican, must have figured that demonizing the “woke mob” would go a long way toward helping a Black guy like him win the governorship in a conservative, mostly rural, largely evangelical, Trump-loving, 85.5 percent white state. Beshear, the moderate Democrat, beat him by a comfortable five percentage points. 

Anyway, Cameron’s career shift, according to Straub, “presumably won’t keep him from running for the Senate in 2026 if, as speculated, his one-time mentor, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell opts against seeking an eighth term.”

In any event, wrote Straub, “Cameron vowed to fight for the American Way,™ which in this instance means making sure the fat cats signing his paycheck can continue to plunder society to their hearts’ content.”

Cameron seems cool with the fact that nearly all of the fat cats are white guys. 

Meanwhile, his new employers say their “mission is to develop policy and resources to protect and equip non-profits, small businesses, and philanthropy from “woke” corporations, to educate Congress and stakeholder organizations about the dangers of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) policies, and to help steer public companies in the United States back to neutral on ideological issues so they can best serve their shareholders and customers with excellence and integrity.”

Translation: help the rich white guys get richer. 

Gerth pointed out that the 1792 Exchange is named for the year the New York Stock Exchange opened. Coincidentally, 1792 was also when Kentucky joined the Union as a slave state.

Had Cameron lived in Kentucky or New York in 1792, he almost certainly would have been a slave. Slavery didn’t end in the Empire State until 1827. Human bondage was legal in the Bluegrass State until 1865.  

History instructs that when the stock market opened, more than a few investors owned slaves. Slaves were commonly used as collateral for loans to buy land and other property, including more slaves. (Under law, slaves were defined as chattel or moveable property.) 

Murray State University historian Brian Clardy wonders about Black conservatives like Cameron who are happy to be “white showpieces and useful tools.” 

He compares Cameron to the character Stephen, the loyal house slave in “Django Unchained.” The house slave, wrote Ritchie Carlyle in, was “historically ... the most despised person in black America and held in the lowest regard.” A house slave, he added, “would do anything to stay in the good graces of white folk, including selling out his fellow black people for extra benefits from the slavemaster.”

University of Louisville Professor Ricky L. Jones shares Clardy’s views on Cameron. He is “a Black man who, like James Weldon Johnson’s unnamed protagonist in “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man,” has abandoned all Black sensibilities and identifications,” Jones wrote in the Courier-Journal.     

Added Jones, who chairs U of L’s Pan-African Studies department: “Kentucky is an odd place largely defined by long-standing white socio-political power and Black passivity that is almost incomprehensible to outsiders. Daniel Cameron reinforces that dynamic. He is Clarence Thomas, Tim Scott, Candace Owens, and Booker T. Washington all rolled into one. He fiercely pushes Kentucky’s backwards agenda forward.”

Continued Clardy: “There are some African Americans who really don’t want to associate with other African Americans or who want to distance themselves from Black culture and from anything to do with causes connected to people of color.” 

Gerth suggested that if Cameron “hasn’t figured out that he’s fighting against the very principles that have allowed him to succeed in life by now, it’s doubtful if he ever will. That’s too bad because his constant attacks on ‘wokeness’ will help ensure that some young Black men in the future won’t have the same chances that he had.” 

Slavery may be long gone, but Cameron, according to Gerth, “is working to make sure businesses don’t adopt ‘woke ideologies’ that have given African Americans an opportunity to succeed and [that] could open more doors for them in the future.”

Gerth suspects that “the 1792 Exchange really believes businesses should be neutral only when they support liberal causes like social, economic, and environmental justices.”

You think?

He suggests that “Cameron’s history of working for [Sen. Mitch] McConnell and the fact that Citizens United Victory Fund has endorsed him should at the very least hint that Cameron isn’t opposed to allowing corporate money into politics.”

At the same time, Gerth proposed that “the last thing he wants is a do-gooder corporation telling us what we should think if it goes against his warped sense of what his 1792 world would look like. And that’s a world where it’s OK to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, to support policies that will turn our world into a Saharan nightmare, and to ignore the need for diversity that can not only give African Americans a better chance to succeed but also help the companies compete.”


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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Arlington, KY



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