The attack on “wokeness” is misguided and racist. “Wokeness” is simply being aware of and fighting against racism and other social injustice. It is not a fad, or an identity politics trend, as some have suggested. It is a necessary and just response to the ongoing oppression of people of color in our society.
The “anti-woke” movement is a typical reactionary reaction. Remember a few years ago when someone thought it might be a good idea to oppose fascism, and named that ideology “anti-fa.” Of course, conservatives responded by trying to smear the entire movement as violent, crazy leftists. Then someone thought it made sense to protest racist murders under the banner of Black Lives Matter. The conservative response? To try to discredit the entire movement by painting it as anti-police.
Now, they’re trying to do the same thing with the term “woke.”
An active commitment to being “woke” is the only way to create real change in our society. Those who seek to undermine “wokeness” are simply trying to maintain the status quo of white supremacy. We must continue to fight for justice, no matter how difficult it may be. We cannot afford to let ourselves be complacent in the face of oppression.
What does “woke” recognize, after all? The simple fact that Black Lives Matter. That people of color have always been and continue to be disproportionately targeted by police violence, the criminal justice system, and economic inequality. “Wokeness” is a call to action to fight against these injustices. It is a call to stand up and say that enough is enough.
If you say you are against “woke,” then what are you saying? You are saying that you are okay with racism and other forms of social injustice. You are saying that you don’t believe Black Lives Matter.
This is not a stance that any decent human being should take.
Yet the campaign against “woke” has made real inroads in America. For example, in 2019, the intellectual dark web figure Jordan Peterson derided “wokeness” as a form of Marxist indoctrination. This is a dangerous and false claim. “Wokeness” is not about indoctrination; it is about education. It is about learning to see the world from the perspective of people who have been traditionally marginalized. It is about understanding that racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression are real and pervasive problems in our society.
The anti-“woke” campaign has also been taken up by conservatives, who use it as a way to attack liberals and progressives. They claim that “wokeness” is a form of political correctness gone too far. But this is simply not true. “Wokeness” means that you are not racist. If you are against “wokeness” you are in favor of racism.
Former President Donald Trump told Fox News that the Biden administration is “destroying” the country “with woke.” Senator Marco Rubio attacked “woke corporate virtue signaling.” But a “woke” corporation that is “virtue signaling” is merely saying that it does not tolerate racism.
Is that really such a bad thing?
The answer is clearly no. We need more “woke” corporations, and we need more people to commit to being “woke.” This is the only way to create real change in our society. Otherwise, we will continue to live in a world where Black Lives Matter in name only.
Look, let’s take the “anti-woke” crowd at their word. What would they have us do? Go back to the days when racism was institutionalized and people of color were treated as second-class citizens? That is not an option. We cannot un-ring that bell. The only thing we can do is move forward and fight for a more just and equitable society.
The “anti-woke” crowd likes to claim that they are the true defenders of free speech. But what they are really doing is trying to silence those who speak out against racism and other forms of oppression. They don’t want a dialogue; they want to maintain the status quo. This Juneteenth weekend, do not be silenced.
Content by Audere Magazine. Image by Pexels.