Let me ask you a question. Are you woke? If not, does that mean you’re asleep?
America was built on cultural battles. From the Religious Wars of the 1920s to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s, culture wars have always played a part in the progression or regression of this country.
In recent years, a new cultural battleground has emerged in the U.S. called the “Woke Wars,” which has pitted folks who advocate for social justice and equality against those who push back on what they see as “cancel culture” and the erosion of traditional values. This conflict has sparked heated debate across social media and in corporate spaces. It has even made its way into America’s political arena.
What does it mean to be woke?
According to a USA Today poll, 56% of Americans said woke means “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices,” while 39% said it means “to be overly politically correct and police others’ words.”
The phrase “woke” is a hip-hop slang term associated with your understanding of social issues affecting you and the community around you.
Black Americans began using the phrase “stay woke” during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and the social unrest after the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014. As the Black Lives Matter movement grew, so did the term “stay woke.” Conservatives began to take notice of the popularity of Black Lives Matter and tried to create Blue Lives Matter as its counter, but it just didn’t have the same power. Conservatives then turned their pudgy, thieving hands to the term and saw it as an opportunity to the narrative on the culture wars.
The word was then hijacked by conservative talking heads who turned it into a cultural buzzword to represent the progressive movements they despise. Republican pundits use it as a rallying cry, to give their constituents a boogyman they claim is taking over schools, indoctrinating your children and making white kids hate themselves. These are all lies, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from fear-mongering. Conservative parents flooded school board meetings all over the country protesting woke culture and CRT barely even knowing what they meant.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken it a step further by adopting legislation to push back against what republicans call “woke indoctrination” and critical race theory.
According to Florida Senator Bobby Powell, DeSantis’ Stop Woke Act, which was signed into law April 2022, essentially prohibits instruction on race relations or diversity that imply a person’s status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin or sex. Fortunately, a federal judge has blocked the law on numerous occasions, but the fight to Stop “wokeness” is far from over.
Ideologies driving the “woke wars”
Progressives believe being “woke” is staying aware of the social injustices around you and speaking up when injustices are presented to you.
“To me, it’s not just woke. It’s ‘stay woke,’” Terri Givens, a political science professor at McGill University told USA Today. “The reason we have to ‘stay woke’ is because of exactly what these people are doing right now, which is finding very insidious ways to undercut our rights.”
Conservatives use the term to attack progressive social moments they are against. They also use it to attack cancel culture. The rallying cry has been slightly effective for conservatives who use it to rally their base. Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin successfully used it to win his election in 2021, using angry racist parents who were upset about certain critical race theory. If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, lemme school you. Whenever conservatives get irate over “wokeism” it usually has to do with kids learning about the history of slavery. That is not a coincidence.
The future of “woke wars”
There is no question that the woke battle isn’t going away anytime soon. As the political season ramps up, social issues will once again take the forefront of conservative arguments. As debates over race, gender and identity continue so will culture wars in America. But there will be opportunities for dialogue that could lead to a better understanding. These are the moments we need to amplify. Building a culture that values empathy and the commitment to social justice for all is the only way to win the “Woke Wars.”
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One CommentLeave a Reply
I choose to be WOKE every day! Which to me simply means knowing how shit ( the 🌎 ) works!