The term “woke” has been in use in Black communities since the 1940s, but in recent years, it has become a flashpoint for a cultural schism.
Many White people have co-opted the term and use it as a derogatory slur, a cowardly way of spilling the beans while denying any beans were spilled.
The anti-woke movement is rooted in fear and ignorance, a mnemonic placeholder for the bigoted things most people wouldn’t dare say aloud.
It represents a push against the deadening status quo and the inclusion of Black voices.
However, instead of saying, “we don’t want books written by Black authors,” they can say, “we don’t want woke books,” for instance.
This has become a weapon in against the freedoms Black citizens should enjoy. The anti-woke crusade is an attempt to maintain, or in some cases, restore Colonised traditional, racist structure, even though it actively diminishes Black people and other racial and ethnic groups and religious minorities.
The anti-woke slogan has become a rallying cry for those who seek to oppose policies that promote inclusivity.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference, when reporters from The Independent asked people what “woke” meant, their troubling responses brought a cultural schism into focus.
A conservative activist, Marie Rogerson, said, “To me the word ‘woke’ is the antithesis of everything that America was founded on.”
To some extent, Rogerson is right. America was founded by White, landowning men, some of whom enslaved African people and others who were complicit in the chattel slavery system.
However, amending the constitution to include voting rights for women and Black people represented a shift away from the founding fathers’ intentions, many of whom only foresaw White men as full citizens.
It seems pretty absurd to limit America’s potential to the worldview of White men in the 1700s, but that’s what the anti-woke movement is all about – a misguided, lofty attachment to traditionalism.
The anti-woke crusade is a misguided attempt to limit America’s potential to the worldview of White men in the 1700s. Instead of embracing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, it seeks to replace them with racial homogeneity, inequity, and exclusionism.
If the anti-woke crusaders have their way, diversity, equity, and inclusion will be replaced by whites-only opportunities, inequity, and exclusionism. We’ll be left with a society where diversity will be viewed as problematic, where companies and schools no longer attempt to provide equitable opportunities to their employees and students, and where exclusionary tactics replace inclusion.
The problem with trying to assassinate “woke” is that you will end up obliterating democracy in the process. The only way to stop privately owned companies from casting diverse characters, educators from introducing books written by Black authors into libraries and classrooms, and companies from producing products that portray diversity as a positive brand addition is to limit the freedoms of people.
In a democracy, the rights of citizens are protected as sacred, and decisions are driven by their collective vision. American democracy for example is imperfect, but at least they have the mechanisms to make positive social change.
In contrast, in a fascist government, individuals must give up their private needs and rights to serve the needs of the whole society as represented by the state.
The anti-woke crusade is a cowardly slogan for a racist crusade that seeks to maintain the traditional, racist structure of society.
Instead of embracing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, it seeks to replace them with racial homogeneity, inequity, and exclusionism.
It is time for us to reject this cowardly slogan and embrace a more inclusive and equitable future.