8 Signs We Don’t Understand What Being Woke Really Is
Feb 16, 2023   •   Tim Henares
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Feb 16, 2023   •   Tim Henares
You’ve seen the think pieces left and right, for sure. You’ve seen how people call “wokeness” a disease and that it’s affecting the younger generations and making them all soft and so easy to offend and how it’s ruining everything that’s fun.
Except when people talk about “wokeness,” are we actually sure they know what they’re referring to? Here are 8 instances that make us question just that.
Climate change? Woke. Universal health care? Woke. Being against racism and sexism? Woke. Expecting that people’s actions should have consequences? Woke. If it’s left-leaning in any way, it’s totally woke – until it’s something they don’t disagree with. Worker’s rights? Totally cool, that’s not a woke thing. Child labor rights? Why would we allow children to work in the mines? That’s not being woke, that’s just being humane.
You can’t just lump the things in an ideology you disagree with as “woke” and those that you do as “not woke.” Otherwise, your definition is clearly suspect.
“Hey, look. I’m totally with you against racism and class injustice, but this is too much!” How often have we heard anti-woke people lead with that? Quite often, for sure. The problem with that is… what exactly is “too much?” Is it when people march on the streets? Is it when people boycott a product? Is it when they say anything at all?
Here’s the thing: would you know people had an issue with something if they just shut up about it? Or would you assume they’re just fine with it, and the minute you hear someone complain, you suddenly find it in you to say, “Hey, other people like you are quiet about it, so maybe you’re overreacting”? That’s circular logical reasoning 101.
There are extremists who believe in being woke. These are the types who are hypersensitive, make a lot of noise, and are pretty much just ridiculous and cringe-inducing, even when you’re on their side. That doesn’t make the crux of their point wrong: it just means they don’t know how to choose their battles.
Listen: those crazy stereotypes you see that people are so afraid of? They’re the loud minority. Extreme left-wing is no more representative of wokeness as the extreme right-wing (Read: Nazis) are the representative of good ol’ fashioned values. There’s middle ground for all where people share a lot in common.
“Watch out! The wokes are ruining comedy! You can’t joke about anything anymore!”
Except these comedians still make the same old hacky jokes about race, gender, religion, and sexuality. And they do it to a cheering audience. So where’s this woke mob that’s supposed to crucify them? Could it be that it’s not actually a thing, and it’s just an overreaction to the fringes? And hey, did you know it’s possible to make jokes about race, gender, religion, and sexuality without actually degrading anyone along the way? You might surprise yourself!
“I used to be woke, but because people got so uptight, I decided that white lives matter.” That’s how ridiculous it sounds, when you think about it. If you truly are woke, then you believe in things even if they’re hard to grapple with at the moment. And yes, that includes the merits of veganism, even if a lot of us would never consider being vegan in a million years. But it’s one thing to be a meat eater and it’s another to actively eat a steak in front of a vegan to spite them. That’s where the line is clearly crossed.
The SOGIE Bill debate is precisely what brings this to the forefront: people are up in arms that they can no longer refuse a product or a service to someone solely because they’re gay. But wait. Didn’t we have a problem before when Filipinos wouldn’t be served in certain establishments solely because they’re Filipinos?
Now that Filipinos in general have the ability to stand up to blatant racism like that, we now turn on one of the few demographics we can still pick on: gay people. And when that’s no longer okay, we’ll find a new minority we can pick on and blame all the ills of society on and try to wipe them out.
Like drug addicts. Oh. Right.
Some people would be disingenuous and say “hey, you can’t criticize me, because I’m a woman. That makes you sexist.” More often than not, these people are the least woke people around, and they just really say these things because they fundamentally misunderstand what it really means.
Ultimately, in a woke world, we can criticize people for their mistakes because they’re mistakes. Their circumstances may make things better or worse, but ultimately, a$$holes really just come in all shapes and sizes, and we are allowed to call them out accordingly when we see them.
Being woke is being progressive. It’s an attempt to be more politically and socially aware than those who came before us. But being woke is not a new thing. Every generation that comes after changes something about society, often in the direction of equality. From suffragettes to civil rights to marriage equality and now to trans rights, the flow of history has always been clear: despite massive pushback towards fascism, we are headed towards a society that wants to give everyone a fair shot at life, regardless of race, creed, gender, or anything else.
That road will always be fraught with resistance, but to be on the right side of history, we just need to keep asking ourselves: will it really hurt us if we were just a bit nicer than we currently are? At the core of it all, being woke is a bunch of steps in that direction. For us to understand it, we need to start with one.
What are your thoughts on woke culture? Sound off in the comments!
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