3 Ways to Stay Woke and Why You Need to
The term “woke” used to simply be the past tense form of the verb “wake.” But modern culture has turned the word on its head to represent something deeper and more powerful than simply rising from sleep.
Being “woke” means you are alert and aware of the truth about your social and political surroundings (especially in cases of racial injustices). With that awareness comes the power to protect yourself, connect with others, and inspire change.
What is Woke Culture?
Woke culture really took hold in mainstream activism after the murder of Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson riots. Social media became a tool for people everywhere to share evidence of police brutality, making the country – and the world – aware of the depth of injustice.
Woke culture grew into a movement of sharing, following, and digesting information that paints a full, constantly evolving picture of various social and political movements. Black Lives Matter, feminism, and DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill are a few examples of information everyone should be aware of.
Within this culture, the hope is that everyone – Black and beyond – will see the truth and act to change it.
3 Ways to Stay Woke
Follow Both Sides
Follow liberal and conservative activists and news outlets. Keep yourself aware of what both sides are saying about the same topics, find your way to the center, and understand things for what they are as you weed out bias.
Get Out of Bed
After you "wake up", get out of bed; use what you learn to decide how you fit into woke culture and social and political change. Volunteer, take classes (like Gender and Women's Studies or African American History), participate in protests, and “wake up” others.
Talk About It
Notice how the phrase is “stay woke” and not “be woke.” Woke culture is constantly evolving and tricky to keep up with. Acknowledge that wokeness is something you will constantly strive for.
You might find yourself in situations where you don’t have awareness. Just be open to being wrong. If someone calls you out, don’t get defensive. Let them educate you, find understanding, and stay woke.
On the flip side, don’t be afraid to call friends out when they’re ignorant and incorrect. Use that as an opportunity to “wake up others.”
Why You Need to Stay Woke
As an American voter, you have the power to question authority and facilitate change in your community. But to lead change, you have to understand what needs to be changed.
Attacks on Wokeness
An anti-woke movement has emerged, usually showing up in the form of anti-education and promoting ignorance. We mentioned the “Don’t Say Gay” bill above (note how the name insinuates censorship). DeSantis also proposed a Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act. Stop WOKE directly attacks teaching critical race theory in schools and workplaces (withholding impactful knowledge).
The recent vitriolic questioning of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Supreme Court nomination hearing is another example of the anti-woke movement pushing back.
Though the questions and accusations were baseless, the hearing itself is a source of material that can help you get woke. It covers some issues pertinent to the upcoming election that can equip you with the knowledge to make an educated, impactful vote.
You Can Lead Change!
Ultimately, knowledge is power, and it’s sitting on social media, in articles, on TV, in classes, and more, waiting for you to claim it. Use that power – your power – to make your community safer and just!