General Question

SABOTEUR's avatar

Have you noticed that the word "woke" is the new way to disparage people with social consciousness?

Asked by SABOTEUR (13329points) 1 month ago

It’s like certain people are highly offended that they’ve been called out for the injustices inflicted upon people for generations. They get indignant that anyone would have the audacity to suggest treating all people with the dignity they deserve, flipping a more socially acceptable manner of treating humans as reprehensible behavior.

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34 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

There are two sides of everything. On one hand you have people who are uncomfortable with having their flawed morality questioned and resort to call anyone who demand a different treatment “woke”. On the other hand we have people who insist on special treatment and blame others for not “respecting” them, like the people who made this and this.

I’m not from the US btw.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@mimishu1995 Thanks for your reply. I don’t see either of those examples to be someone “demanding special treatment”. If anything, the author seems to be trying to change the negative connotation assigned to the word “woke” to encourage pride in oneself and to encourage racial harmony.

I find it interesting that you made an effort to divert the subject away from the practice of people using “woke” as a means to justify the continued mistreatment of others. It leads me to believe that “making America great again” refers to a time when no one bothered to treat people unlike themselves with the same respect and dignity they afford to themselves.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@SABOTEUR What do you mean by “divert the subject away”? I am merely stating my observation that there are two situations when the word “woke” is used. Please tell me what kind of information you want me to discuss.

And also I’m not from the US, so I am not speaking on the perspective of Americans alone.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like the word woke. I don’t like when woke people use it or when people who hurl it as some sort of put down use it. Maybe I’m old, but a lot of the new vocabulary often puts me off. The use of woke, snowflake, even privilege are over-used, and become redundant talking points and used as political weapons.

The way I see it is liberal minded people started using woke to describe themselves and so now the word is used almost synonymous with the left wing by the right wing. Actually, I think most recently BLM was using the term, so Republicans are using the term with that in mind I would guess.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I said “divert away” because the question addressed a very specific way “woke” is used and you offered me 2 examples that (a) didn’t apply to the question as I explained it, and (b) you misinterpreted the intention the word was used in the examples you selected.

Looked very much to me…and I could be wrong…like an attempt to divert the discussion away from how some people are using “woke” to disparage anyone working toward changing public consciousness toward something resembling equity.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie You get it; I’m in total agreement. There’s a more personal reason I find the use of “woke” offensive. There are people around the world endeavoring to raise their level of consciousness. These people often refer to those who have successfully done so as having been “awakened”. Those who are presently striving to master the difficult path of rising above self destructive attitudes, perspectives and behavior regarding themselves, other people and the world we live in casually refer to each other as “awakening”.

Hearing anyone blatantly use a pejorative of “awaken” for selfish and possibly destructive purposes is alarming and highly insulting.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@SABOTEUR OK. So you are talking about something I don’t think I have enough knowledge to discuss. I simply stated what I see.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Mimishu1995 You were just sharing your perspective. Agree or disagree, relationships strengthen through open dialogue. Another reason I’m wary of anyone who makes a concerted effort to use words to inflame hatred and division.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@SABOTEUR I don’t like that kind of people either. It’s just that they manifest as a different form in my country.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I’d say you’re fortunate then. In the US this type of rhetoric has gone beyond politics…our very democracy seems to be threatened and the threat is no longer veiled.

Scary times!

TJFKAJ's avatar

Here is a definition of woke from Wikipedia for what that is worth

Woke (/ˈwoʊk/ WOHK) is a term, originating in the United States, that originally referred to awareness about racial prejudice and discrimination. It subsequently came to encompass an awareness of other issues of social inequality, for instance regarding gender and sexual orientation. Since the late 2010s, it has also been used as a general term for left-wing political movements and perspectives which emphasise the identity politics of people of color, LGBT people, and women.

Lots of stuff in there about awareness. Nothing about disparagement.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@TJFKAJ Of course not. I was referring to the disparaging USE of the word, a tactic used primarily by United States elected officials.

seawulf575's avatar

I think we have to remember that “woke” was not created as a way to disparage anyone. It was created as a term for a new movement by those that were pushing their own morality on others. They used it as a badge of honor and self-righteousness…a way to look down on those that disagreed with them. If they now see it as a disparaging moniker, maybe they need to revisit their goals.

ragingloli's avatar

The term “woke” originated in the black community, as an encouragement to become and stay aware of injustices around you.

Over time, the word has been hijacked and corrupted by the alt-right.
Once you peruse the internet long enough, you will come to realise that alt-right, redpilled incels and other assorted ilk, do indeed use the term “woke” as disparagement.
Targeted almost exclusively, are TV and movies that have female leads that do not adhere to “tradtional” gender norms (for example, women with muscles), that have people of colour as the lead or in a prominent role (especially hated is, when it is a black woman, man do they lose their minds over that), or that address, no matter how slightly, contemporary political issues.

Prominent recent examples of tv shows and films decried as “woke”:
Star Wars, WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, She-Ra, and Masters of the Universe Revelation.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@seawulf575 I don’t know anything about that. If those people were using “woke” to look down on people they should be called out as well. In any case, it’s unconscionable that politicians use “woke” disparagingly as talking points to promote an agenda of denying people civil rights.

seawulf575's avatar

@SABOTEUR it was Maxine Waters in April of 2017 that made the term electric in the media. In a speech she told a group of black millennials to “stay woke”. That was basically the start. At that, the “woke” people and media took off with it, telling anyone that disagreed with them that they were not “woke”. They were using it to disparage those people. Actually they were using it as a way to silence differing opinions. Sort of like calling people racist to shut them up. If those same people now feel they are being disparaged by the same term they used, too bad.

seawulf575's avatar

@SABOTEUR But I will agree with you that when politicians disparage others to silence debate or discussion it is indeed unconscionable. And I don’t care what side of the aisle they are on.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@seawulf575 Excellent point. So instead of addressing the issues “woke” was seemingly used originally to address disparities, the response by so-called “non-woke” people is to double down on maintaining the status quo.


JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR That’s part of what bothers me, I should say bothers my ears. The word woke is conjugated incorrectly, or maybe woke is a noun instead of a verb in this case?

Awakening, or becoming enlightened, having an epiphany, opening ones eyes, gaining understanding, all sorts of synonyms to be used that would maybe have a harder time being hijacked by the other political side because they are standard English.

Either Democrats don’t care or they don’t realize how new terms and phrases can easily backfire. Defund the Police is another. That sounded crazy as soon as I heard it even after I understood the explanation it’s still a ridiculous set of words that gave the right ammunition. Actually, luckily, a lot of Democrats did say that isn’t a good choice of words, but the Republicans have no idea prominent Democrats, some who are Black, said that it was a bad choice, because it’s not on their news. Biden has actually increased funding for the police.

Another example, Democratic Socialist or pushing the idea that Socialism is good. Look back at what I wrote 5 even 10 years ago and you’ll see I was trying to get people to stop using the word socialism—going to lose FLORIDA!

Democrats need to stop latching on to every saying and term that more left parts of their party come up with. They need to take some classes in branding and marketing.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie There should be a lot less talking and a lot more action. Neither party places action as a priority. Their primary goal is staying in office. They’ll say whatever they believe people want to hear to distract from the fact they do very little to help anyone.

The old guard has effectively demonstrated they’re ineffective. They’ve been exposed as parasites. It’s time for real change.

JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR Ok, but which change? I’m just curious what changes or politicians you are looking forward too. We can bring it to PM if it will derail your Q. I wonder who in each of the two parties.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@JLeslie Excellent question!

The biggest problem in politics is allowing them to settle comfortably without actually accomplishing anything. They should take money out of the equation and limit the time politicians spend in office. Then the only people interested in running for office would be people truly interested in serving the American public.

JLeslie's avatar

@SABOTEUR I have mixed feelings on limiting time in office, but I agree some of the money incentive needs to be removed.

mazingerz88's avatar

“Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which derives from the word free. Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion, because those who were not with him were against him, and liberals had no use for Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium on the word … We must cherish and honor the word free or it will cease to apply to us.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

seawulf575's avatar

@SABOTEUR “The biggest problem in politics is allowing them to settle comfortably without actually accomplishing anything. They should take money out of the equation and limit the time politicians spend in office. Then the only people interested in running for office would be people truly interested in serving the American public.” YES! I have a huge number of ideas that would help limit the self-serving majority of our elected officials. It starts with term limits across the board, but only starts there.

Zaku's avatar

It’s not just the word “woke”. Conservative folk have been trying to turn almost every term about people who disagree with them, into an insult of some sort.

They think it worked for Communism and Socialism, and so also try to use it for liberal, left, social justice, woke, etc, and recently they’ve even tried it on with Critical Race Theory and Democrat.


SABOTEUR's avatar

@Zaku So true. What’s tragic is there’s no middle ground between parties. They’re so busy posturing, serving the interests of the American has become incidental. We desperately need another option before these two political extremes destroy us all.

Zaku's avatar

While our broken party system only offers us two big parties, it looks to me like there are now at least four pretty clear factions.

The Republican Party is fractured into the “Movement Republican” aka Trump/racist/lunatic faction, and the somewhat more reasonable Republicans, and the Democratic Party is divided into the centrist and Corporate/establishment faction, and the people who want actual progress.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Zaku You’re right.

I feel so much worse.

gorillapaws's avatar

My concern is how it’s being used for disingenuous virtue signaling. You have companies celebrating LGBTQ all over their marketing and social media, but then they’re donating to extreme right wing politicians who are trying their hardest to ensure they aren’t treated equally. It commercializes and undermines the intent behind the term.

Likewise, you have the rise in identity politics where politicians are marketed based solely on their identity to the exclusion of all else, including policies and voting records that harm the very identity group they’re supposedly representing. Note that this is always done to serve corporate interests.

kritiper's avatar

I’ve heard the word many times of late but I still can’t get it into the correct context. I’m still working on “WORD!”

rockfan's avatar

I think the majority of people who use the word “woke” are probably meaning “identity politics” or “virtue signaling”. I think it’s mainly far right conservatives who call anything remotely left wing as “woke”.

Someone actually called me woke for supporting police reform.

ragingloli's avatar

Also popular among them is the term “cultural marxism”.
Have a guess where they lifted that one from

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