Why I am awake, but not Woke

I am awake, I am not Woke.

Thanks to loving, kind parents, my sister and I were taught there was injustice in the world — racial, economic, and other — and we should do what we could to fight it. (My parents were a mother and a father, not a birthing person and a spectator or sperm donor. I guess you can see where I am coming from.)

(Graphic: Heritage Foundation)

Because I have used “Woke” derisively, I have been challenged to define it, especially among those who call themselves Woke, or who are flirting with it.

They think it is a good thing. It once was, but no more. It has become a parody of itself. (I recognize some holes in my education as I did not enjoy a drag queen reading hour in kindergarten.)

Woke, like  jawn, has many meanings. It’s always worrisome when words have multiple meanings and connotations. It makes sensible discussion almost impossible. 

The most recent definition, at dictionary.com, goes like this: ”Of, or relating to a liberal progressive orthodoxy, especially promoting inclusive policies or ideologies that welcome or embrace ethnic, racial or sexual minorities.”

That’s quite a mouthful, but it misses the mark, especially by using the word “liberal.” To my way of thinking, “liberal” is the antithesis of Woke, and I will soon explain why. 

A more generic definition holds that Woke sees the ways in which sexism, racism, heteronormativity, classism and other issues purportedly affect daily life, and how identity markers such as gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., impact how we are treated by American society. 

As if there were no other explanations for how we are treated — such as merit, personality, energy, drive, and personal hygiene. 

The Woke come upon a murder scene and bewail what forces compelled the murderer to commit the crime, rather than sympathize with the victim.

Historically, Woke was slang birthed by the Black community to mean being aware of racial discrimination, social injustice, and prejudice. 

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is even more than that.

Here are some lines from Erykah Badu’s “Master Teacher””

Even if yo baby ain’t got no money

To support ya baby, you

(I stay woke)

Even when the preacher tell you some lies

And cheatin on ya mama, you stay woke

(I stay woke)

Even though you go through struggle and strife

To keep a healthy life, I stay woke

(I stay woke)

Everybody knows a black or a white there’s creatures in every shape and size


(I stay woke)

Here “Woke” means a wider understanding of things, but enough of the academics.

Woke has been around since at least the mid 20th Century, but it gained revolutionary traction with the Black Lives Matter movement. There, it got sadly stretched out of shape and jumped the shark, as happens with many revolutions. Both the French and Bolshevik revolutions started out to correct injustice, then devolved into murderous score-settling.

Thanks to God, or the patriarchy, or whatever, that did not happen with the American revolution. That is one reason America is exceptional. Vengeance didn’t even happen after the Civil War, by order of President Abraham Lincoln, the same Lincoln who now is under attack by the Woke. 

What started out liberal, has become illiberal.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what liberal comedian Bill Maher told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a February interview:

“Woke, which started out as a good thing — woke to injustice, who could be against that?— but it became sort of an eyeroll because they love diversity, except of ideas. . . They have a trail of very bad ideas.”

These ideas don’t build on liberalism, he said, “They undo it. Five years ago Lincoln was not a controversial figure among liberals. We liked him. Now they take his name off schools and tear down his statues. Abraham Lincoln isn’t good enough for you?”

Some may say, “Oh, but that’s not what Woke means to me.”

But the loons inhabiting the Woke fringe have the loudest voices, and I do believe it is a fringe, a cult that forces its demands down everyone’s throat, backed by its cancel culture storm troops on Twitter. It punishes any deviation from the orthodoxy mentioned by dictionary.com.

Its efforts to control speech make it a clear and present danger to democracy.

As a current example, several women — wrongly thought to be the person who delivered a racist rant in a Hatboro pizza shop — were doxxed, and received threatening calls at their homes and vile messages via social media from Social Justice Warriors. Who would make calls like that — MAGAs? Conservatives? Liberals? No! The Woke.

If you are nonbinary and use the personal pronoun “they,” that’s OK by me. And it ought to be OK with you if I chose not to use it.  To the Woke, there is no objective reality. Science is rejected if it does not conform to some lunatic concept dreamed up in the faculty lounge of a liberal arts college five minutes ago.

Teachers and civil servants have been fired for failing to use pronouns for something recognized as mental illness a decade ago. (I refer to multiple personality disorder.) 

Today, Woke says people can select their gender from the Big Wheel of Fortune, get the DMV to reverse their gender on drivers licenses, men can menstruate, and white people can “identify” as Black.

And the vast bulk of Americans are supposed to nod and go along with it?

Old-fashioned liberals like Maher (and me) live by the credo that we may disagree with what you say, but we will defend your right to say it. That is liberal and that is not Woke, which believes words cause physical pain, they must be censored, and trigger warnings are required to thwart psychological harm from bad words. It is why many comics will not play college campuses, for fear of being cancelled for a joke.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is now so 20th Century. Apparently, so is free speech.

And once words are banned — as recently happened to “fat” and “ugly”  in Roald Dahl’s  work — next to go are  ideas, such as there are two sides to every story, merit hiring, the human race — or banning conservative speakers from college campuses, which are supposed to be lagoons of wide inquiry. 

When they strike speech and ideas, the Woke are a menace.

Here’s a short, incomplete list of Woke buzz words: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, classism, Islamophobia, male toxicity, cissexism, ableism, heterosexism, marginalized, underserved, misgendered, white fragility, white privilege, micro aggression, veto group, colorism, heteronormative, patriarchal.

White Supremacy alone has a large collection of trigger words. Take a look.

Woke believes that white people are irredeemably racist, and any argument that you are not racist is proof — to them — that you are. It is pure genius, in an “Alice in Wonderland” way.

There’s a new ism, a new offense, almost every week. It’s harder to  stay on top of than a rodeo bucking bull. This just in — Disney has banned “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Racist, or something. The offense machine never rests.

Liberals want a color-blind society, like the one envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King in his “I have a dream speech.” [Wokesters say “color-blind” is racist because it denies legitimacy to Black people.] 

“Woke makes race the most important thing,” say Maher.

Often, to me, the only thing. 

Full-blown Woke is the illegitimate love child of Political Correctness and Victimhood. It treats everyone — except straight, white, Christian males — as victims of oppression. 

It regards all history as an indictment of Western European whiteness, while remaining willfully blind to the evil performed by any nonwhite person, even believing there was no such evil.

George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” comes to mind: “Four legs good, two legs bad.” Meaning animals are good, people are bad. To the Woke, “whiteness” walks on two legs.

Some semi-Woke tell me I am being unfair, that not all Woke feel the same way. That may be true, as most Democrats don’t believe in defunding the police, but enough do, and their voices are so loud that the label sticks.

Many Democrats say “defund the police” doesn’t really mean defund the police. If you speak English, it does. If the label is inaccurate, find another label.

Here’s another example: Black lives matter.

If you respond, all lives matter, you are an instant racist, according to the Woke. 

The better war cry would have been, “Black lives matter, too.” That would have been inclusive.

Many white people heard it as, “Only Black lives matter.”

If a slogan creates confusion, it is a bad slogan.

Here’s one that is even worse: “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”

This came out of the justified-by-jury shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. 

The problem is that it is a slogan, a myth, built on a lie.

Again, don’t take my word for it. Black, liberal Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart bravely exploded the lie and was denounced as a race traitor by some.

Wokeism has a compulsive dislike for American history and American institutions, both of which have offered values that have been emulated by other nations for more than 200 years. 

Woke rejects most of that, focusing unfairly on the negatives of American history, which surely exist. But they exclude the positives, relying on a fetish worship of multiplying gender identities and pronouns that leave the average American with migraine headaches.

 The Woke can’t define what a “woman” is, but feel that biological males should be allowed to compete against biological women in athletics. If men can give birth (they can’t) and compete in women’s sports, it denies the centrality of womanhood.

They believe that race and gender are social constructs, but gender shifting is not. They offer more than 50 selections on the gender buffet, with the inherent freedom to change your selections on a moment’s notice — and God forbid some cisgender person should “misgender” them. 

They believe that laws and institutions uphold and support inequality and injustice based on race.

I have challenged the Woke to provide me of examples of federal laws supporting racial inequality, but there are none.

Discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, etc., are prohibited by U.S. law, which is the “institution” or the “system.” While there are examples of racism in American life, they are outside the system, or the institution. 

Identity markers shape how Wokesters think far more than how the average American thinks. 

People who have gender reveal parties go with blue or pink, male or female. They don’t go “whatever, we’ll find out later.”

Wokeism had a good run. It will be consumed by its ever-expanding insanity.

19 thoughts on “Why I am awake, but not Woke”

  1. Stu
    Excellent comparison equating “woke” with “jawn.” Both are meaningless words which do nothing to advance a discussion.
    (“Look out!! There’s someone with a mean-looking jawn right behind you!!!”)
    I was I’d thought of that. With your permission I will use it in my own pleadings for precise language.
    Keep on writing.

  2. I was a big fan of semantics in my college days, and this whole thing reminds me of that. The word is not the thing. What I feel or believe about these matters really could never be described by a single word in the English language. So let’s just say I care about truth, justice, and the America way and leave it at that rather than trying to pin down an entire belief system by placing it under a single word.

  3. Reading this once, makes the need to study this almost demading. Not disagreeing, just wondering , where the train left the tracks.

      1. I beg to differ. Academe has been seized by these WOKE crazies, and this insanity [lack of reason] is being taught to the littlest of children who make up the next generation. The snowball of craziness is rolling downhill, getting bigger and more threatening daily. There is no more pendulum.

      2. I think we have always had trains “that left the tracks.” It’s what people do. In the 30s – 50s we had communism on one side and McCarthyism on the other, not to mention actual fascism in the 30s such as the American Bund. As Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time.” Now we have “woke” and “MAGA” with most people not enamored of the worst antics of either of these vaguely-defined groups–both of which tend to be publicly defined by their most extreme and wacky, not to mention annoying, adherents.
        I think that Stu is correct (as he tends to be with distressing frequency) on this that the pendulum is swinging back, because the one thing you can’t do is “fool all of the people, all of the time.”

  4. “To the Woke, there is no objective reality. Science is rejected if it does not conform to some lunatic concept dreamed up in the faculty lounge of a liberal arts college five minutes ago.”

    And there is the root of the problem—the belief that there are many truths. You have your truth and I have mine. That is a VERY scary belief.

  5. How about we all follow the golden rule. That makes life easier for all of us with different views.

  6. I am glad you brought up the French Revolution. It seems like Robespierre has come back. Didn’t he also meet the fate of the guillotine?

  7. I find that the people who try to control my speech to be exceedingly tiresome. I encountered some of this nonsense when I taught at Penn and all it did was make me passive-aggressive and sometimes deliberately provocative. Don’t police my speech unless I am being hurtful!!

  8. I’m not sure how many species comprise the animal kingdom, but it appears only one wrestles with these issues.

    On second thought, some species ostracize their offspring due to things like size and pigmentation among other reasons. Maybe we should be thoughtful and provide sensitivity training for them. Life just ain’t fair no matter how much we want to make it so.

    End of sarcasm. Thank you for another great article.

Comments are closed.