Stay Woke! Stay alert to racial prejudice and discrimination

Being woke just means being empathetic. And tolerant. And willing to listen. And open to learning.

Florida is where woke goes to die.

Governor DeSantis in his November reelection victory speech
DeSantistan. The American right has gone to war with ‘woke capitalism’ Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, and likely future presidential contender, has opened up a new front in his party’s war on “woke capitalism.” He proposes changing the rules around how public bodies within Florida borrow from the markets by issuing bonds.

The woke mind virus is either defeated or nothing else matters

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2022

DeSantis’ lawyers were forced by the court to define “woke.” The lead lawyer described it as “The belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”

— Eλf Sternberg (@elfsternberg) December 4, 2022

DeSantis’ lawyers were forced by the court to define “woke.” The lead lawyer described it as “The belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”

— Eλf Sternberg (@elfsternberg) December 4, 2022

Woke is defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)” and identified as U.S. slang. It originated in African American English and gained widespread use in 2014 as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. By the end of that same decade, some applied it as a general pejorative for anyone who is or appears to be politically left-leaning.

the great challenge facing every member of this graduating class is to remain awake, alert and creative through this great revolution.

Martin Luther King Jr, In a commencement address at Oberlin college in 1965

According to The Economist, as the term woke and the #Staywoke hashtag began to spread online, the term “began to signify a progressive outlook on a host of issues as well as on race.” In a tweet mentioning the Russian feminist rock group Pussy Riot, whose members had been imprisoned in 2012, Badu wrote: “Truth requires no belief. Stay woke. Watch closely. #FreePussyRiot”. This has been cited by Know Your Meme as one of the first examples of the #Staywoke hashtag.

Like many other terms from the black culture that have been taken into the mainstream, woke is gaining broader uses. It’s now seeing use as an adjective to refer to places where woke people commune: woke Twitter has very recently taken off as the shorthand for describing social-media activists.

Stay woke became a watchword in parts of the black community for those who were self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm, and striving for something better. But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The word woke became entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement; instead of just being a word that signaled awareness of injustice or racial tension, it became a word of action. Activists were woke and called on others to stay woke.

Recently there has been a resurgence of movements across North America resisting anti-racist reforms such as the use of critical race theory in schools. These movements are often organized covertly, using social justice language and describing themselves as “anti-woke.”

Critical race theory: ‘Diversity’ is not the solution, dismantling white supremacy is

PEN America tallied over 2,500 individual book bans from July 2021 to June 2022.
Experts have attributed the extreme rhetoric accompanying book bans and anti-literacy laws to a rise in threats and acts of physical violence. This includes nearly 200 documented anti-LGBTQ+ events in 2022 – a twelvefold increase over 2020 – and bomb threats targeting historically Black colleges and universities and other entities serving communities of color.

“Leave our country go back to Israel”
“Heil hitler” “sir do you think you should be put in an oven”

These “GDL” nazi animals have been terrorizing & targeting Jews & Jewish communities with impunity

Police are refrained from doing anything. This needs to be stopped

— Baruch Sandhaus (@BaruchSandhaus) February 22, 2023

Stay Woke reminded me of the importance of telling stories of injustice by those most affected by it

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