The term ‘woke’ has been gaining popularity recently, and is often associated with causes like social justice and political correctness. It is primarily used in the United States to signify that someone is alert to injustice and discrimination in society, especially racism and sexism. It is no wonder that many people have started to adopt the term as a badge of honor.
At its core, ‘woke’ is about recognising that some people are disadvantaged due to their background, skin color or gender. It is about aligning one’s beliefs and actions with this understanding of inequality and striving for an equal society. For instance, it means promoting diversity in corporate America, or supporting policies that combat gender inequality. It also implies understanding and acknowledging the reality of everyday racism and sexism that still exists in our society, and to work towards its elimination.
Despite its positive intentions, ‘woke’ is often used by the right-wing in a negative way. They use the term as a pejorative to denote people who are particularly vocal in their support for progressive ideologies, such as advances in civil rights and gender equality, as well as their devotion to saving the environment. While ‘woke’ is associated with supporting marginalised populations in our society, conservatives often view the term as an indication of radical left-wing stances on a wide variety of topics, from climate change to the Black Lives Matter movement.
This conflict has been further exasperated by the growing usage of ‘woke’ – especially among the younger generations. There’s an increase in people – particularly from millennials and Gen Z – who express their support and desire for change through means like protesting, social media and online petitions. It is unsurprising that it has become increasingly difficult for someone to be labeled woke.
At the end of the day, ‘woke’ is all about empathising with and understanding the struggles of those who have faced discrimination in society. Although there are some negative connotations associated with the term, its ultimate intention is to promote equity and create an environment where everyone’s voice can be heard. Solidarity and consciousness are the ultimate goals of being woke, and it is up to each of us to ensure that these values remain pervasive in our society.