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mazingerz88's avatar

What is the accurate definition of being woke?

Asked by mazingerz88 (27518points) 1 month ago from iPhone

When is being woke a good thing and when is it not?

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31 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Being woke is being aware of what Black people (specifically) went through as slaves and what they go through now (discrimination) when it comes to how they are treated (or seem to be treated) by (some) White (generally) people. (A tricky subject.)
Being woke (aware) is okay but not mandatory. (IMO)

Caravanfan's avatar

Being woke means respecting everybody and treating everybody how they want to be treated.

janbb's avatar

^^ I’m on his team!

Jonsblond's avatar

It’s only not a good thing to people who boycott Nike, Disney, the NBA, NFL, Cracker Barrel, Target, Skittles, M&M’s…

The list goes on. I guess our choices are to be woke or triggered. Take your pick. :D

rockfan's avatar

Woke means different things to different people, so personally I think it’s a useless word. Conservatives use the word to describe virtue signaling, but they also use it to describe actual progressive policies. Go figure.

zenvelo's avatar

Being “woke” means you have hurt the tender feelings of a right wing snowflake by asserting self identity and not kowtowing to Tucker Carlson and his ilk.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like the word. The first time I heard it, it just sounded wrong because of the tense. I can ignore that now that I know what it means, but it still sounds so odd to my ear, and is still a turn off to me.

It’s supposed to mean being aware of racism and injustices that are happening in society. I’m pretty sure the term started in the Black community.

Conservatives use it as an accusation of liberals being ridiculous from the conservative POV. Ridiculous about being over sensitive to minority struggles. Similar to going too far with being politically correct. In fact I would say woke has replaced the term PC in many instances.

The word revived itself during the recent BLM uproar, and just like I never adopted Defund the Police, and always thought that was a destructive phrase for the Democratic Party, woke to a lesser degree also seems to me to be backfiring. Even though I agree with the necessity for society to change and acknowledge the racism in the past and that still exists today.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s cool being a bit older because you can see how the word changed over time.

It means many things, and like many things, context matters.

Being woke just means being aware or finally waking up to certain things.

Being aware of rampant consumerism.

A Christian realizing that their religion was improperly used by colonizers.

Being awake spiritually or achieving a better sense of self/self esteem/cosmologically e.g. “everything is all connected”.

Realizing the piles and piles of lies a particular society or country is built upon etc.

It’s important not to get wrapped up in what the news and whatever is current says, because society changes goal posts.

Like people realizing they actually don’t have to kill themselves for their employers. Hard work doesn’t pay off and is a really convenient lie to abuse workers, for example.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blackberry I like your answer. GA.

seawulf575's avatar

It doesn’t actually have a definition. At least not one that means something more than coming out of sleep. It is a word, like many words used by the left, that has whatever meaning the user wants it to have. It was created as a brand…a label…a rallying cry. And with so many of these kind of words they use, they get upset when the conservatives start using it back at them in the exact same contexts they were using them in the first place.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Being “woke” as it is currently used is not about being nice, thoughtful and respecting others. At. All. It’s derogatory for people and institutions who pretend to be nice and respectful of others for very selfish reasons. It’s only describing that situation and it’s especially relevant to corporations that use it for marketing, PR and general CYA but are not sincere about it in any way (Disney as an example). It’s really a form of manipulation through petty virtue signaling.

Kropotkin's avatar

As far I understand, the non-standard grammar is from African-American English, and its meaning was basically to be aware of racial injustice.

As with a lot of these things, they get co-opted by other ideological groups for different but sometimes symbiotic reasons. Liberals, typically white liberals, co-opt the language of the left in a santisised and performative manner that has more to do with subverting the original message and displaying a sort of excessive sanctimony for their own satisfaction. It becomes a sort of advertising excercise, sometimes literally as the corporate realm will use the terms and language to literally sell us stuff.

And conservatives, who think liberals are the left (they’re not), sometimes correctly identify the hypocrisy and performative nature of liberalism, and then use the terms and labels in a mocking manner to pour scorn on what they see as “the left”. Liberals are fine with this, since they want to marginalise and supplant the actual left anyway.

janbb's avatar

I think it is being used by the right as a pejorative more than being a useful term any more. I would never use it to describe anyone.

Kropotkin's avatar

@janbb I just read a comment on another forum that being against Elon Musk is “woke”. It really has been become a vague pejorative. I guess that makes me really woke, since I think he’s the world’s biggest con-artist.

There’s an irony that using these terms is often a ‘virtue signalling’ to one’s ideological in-group.

HP's avatar

From its arrival, I can only recall its use as derisive mockery of what the right regards as newfangled liberal fads. You know the list: anything not regarded as routine and the norm in rural Alabama circa 1924.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
jca2's avatar

“Woke” is not something I hear the majority of my friends use in every day conversation. I sometimes hear conservatives use it in a mocking and sarcastic fashion.

chefl's avatar

“Being woke means respecting everybody and treating everybody how they want to be treated.” (from @Caravanfan) That means If someone does something bad (whatever kind to whatever degree, If they want to be treated like royalty then that’s what they shoud get? Or if they feel unworthy and ask to be flogged, then that’s what they should get? (Edited)

chefl's avatar

I don’t know if this answers the question or not. (Jenner and Navratilova re. Thomas (last name) and swimming competition.

Zaku's avatar


My reply was inappropriately “moderated” as “unhelpful”, but it contained exactly what this question asked for: “the accurate definition of being woke”!

So I’m restoring it, this time quoting the entire entry, rather than only part of it:

past tense and past participle of wake

woke adjective
woker; wokest
chiefly US slang
: aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)

- from

WhyNow's avatar

Being woke has nothing to do with you feelings towards black, gay, trans etc. people.

Being woke is how loudly you champion the causes of black, gay, trans, etc. people.

Being woke is to publicly flagellate yourself over white guilt.

Being woke is how much money you can waste waste on black, gay, trans etc. causes.
As Patrisse Cullors said white people give us money because they feel guilty so don’t
blane me for stealing tens of millions. I paraphrase.

seawulf575's avatar

Lots of claims of this being a Conservative thing. I want to remind everyone that it was Maxine Waters that first made “stay woke!” famous. She said it in an effort to stir up insurrection against Donald Trump.

rockfan's avatar

“Being woke is how much money you can waste waste on black, gay, trans etc. causes.”

Well, if conservatives are going to try to overturn gay marriage, expect a ton of people to “waste” their money on LGBT causes.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 Maybe that’s why the Republicans say it more often then any Democrat I know. Maxine Waters said it once. Did Fox News repeat it a zillion times? I only hear Republicans use it like an accusation, basically name calling.

That to me is the same reason the Republicans don’t believe human beings are affecting climate change. Al Gore was the first to bring it to the public’s attention in a big way. That made it a Democratic topic in the eyes of Republican politicians and so it became a wedge issue.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think it was all Al Gore’s fault. While there were some issues with his “rollout” that the right used to pick it apart but in hindsight he did a great public service. The reason many far right republicans currently don’t believe in human caused climate change is for two main reasons: Democrats blame everything on climate change, often without any direct correlation. They have made it a catch-all scapegoat and bedrock foundation for almost anything they want. The other reason is there is a long-running disinformation campaign from multiple sources that work to discredit it. The end result of this is it has become politically polarized and is now planted in partisan team sport strategy.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I wasn’t blaming it all on Al Gore. It’s a combination of Gore and how the Republicans reacted, and then how the Democrats responded to the Republican reaction. That’s how I see it. If the Republicans had responded with, “ok, let’s try to work together to slow the climate change,” then there would be small arguments about how much regulation to put in place to help reduce CO2 etc. Instead, it’s a total denial by a large swath of people and a big wedge issue. Even people saying we should do nothing because other countries don’t do anything. How can people who are supposedly on high moral ground (according to themselves) use that as an excuse? SMH.

The Democrats, the politicians, like it being a wedge issue also probably.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie After Maxine first said it, all the parrots on the left echoed it. And they were all acting like psychopathic woodpeckers. Woke was being used as a badge of honor to show how progressive you were. After awhile, as with all these idiotic things the left does, the conservatives picked it up and started branding those that claimed proudly they were woke (and their ilk) with that same moniker. And just like with LibsofTikTok, when confronted with their own idiocy, the left got upset and started blaming the conservatives for making them feel bad.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Woke – - recognize people of color were not treated as people / equals. Definition

Antifa – – against Fascists like Trump. DEFIINITION

Rep/Con gobbledygook meant to be demeaning and derogatory

janbb's avatar

Maxine Waters was not the first person to say it. It sprang from the Black community. Maybe she was the first person the Republicans heard saying it.

It’s nothing I have ever felt the need to say and by now, I think we can tell from this confusing discussion of it, it seems to have become a pointless term that is best relegated to the dustheaps of past slanguage.

mazingerz88's avatar

Slippery word, woke. I also read it being used to describe movies wherein what was originally a character who was white in the source material, had been changed into a character that is black. The producers are being woke. Supposedly.

zenvelo's avatar

@mazingerz88 It’s more like a movie that was a white person playing an ethnic person gets remade with an actor of the actual ethnicity. Think of Mulan or Pocahontas being played by a white woman.

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