What Does “Woke” Really Mean?
To the Editor:
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to be “woke” means to be “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social injustice)”.
A woke person recognizes the world is not a simple place and that equality and justice are not the same for everyone. The woke person understands that there is a lot of work to be done and they are so concerned enough about the inequity that they feel the need to stand up, speak out, and do something about it, especially for people who can’t help themselves.
They know that if they don’t do something, our world will never change.
But conservatives have gone to great lengths to try to turn this definition around and make it something it is not. They reject being woke as “pretentiousness” and, even worse, “cultural elitism”.
People who turn this around to make the word have a negative connotation often claim victim status for themselves because they believe those who claim societal inequity are trying to gain special social status above them.
This feeling can be fueled by overt racism, sexism (women belong at home), homophobia (their masculinity is being threatened), justified by their understanding of religious teachings, or the growing realization that Caucasians are quickly losing their majority status in this country. The fear of imagined repercussions is real to them.
They hate that calling people by derisive names that were acceptable in the past is now “politically incorrect”. They feel it’s another “right” they’re being forced to give up and they don’t like it. These people should just “suck it up”. Of course, they don’t understand just how hurtful these names are because the name callers are not part of those groups themselves.
Don’t let the conservative right fool you about what it means to be woke. Woke people see the injustice and inequality around them and want it to end – for everyone. Period.
Landaff, N. H.