Are You Really Woke?
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Politics and Activism

Are You Really Woke?

How to put action behind your words.

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Are You Really Woke?
Jezebel

On Urban Dictionary, the word "woke" is defined as "being aware of what's going on in the community, particularly pertaining to social injustice and racism." While this is a good basic definition, it makes me want to do a little bit of . . . prodding, so to say.

Once you're woke, you can't become un-woke. It's kind of like being born; you can't become un-born. You can die, but you can't un-born yourself — the difference is very subtle, but important. Once you're woke, you can't become un-woke, but you can choose what you do in your new state of woke-ness — you can choose knowledge or ignorance, but you must choose.

Unfortunately, however, being woke isn't just an addition to your Twitter bio — it's a responsibility. While the definition recorded on Urban Dictionary only obviously acknowledges personal awareness, the responsibility of the woke person is to encourage widespread awareness. But, I'll let you all in on a secret: if you're truly woke, you know that you can't just keep the knowledge to yourself. In fact, sharing everything you know about social justice topics has slowly infiltrated your life without warning. In fact, you've probably already spoken about things ranging from the problem with ethnocentrism dominating American foreign policy to the sexualizing of the female body without even realizing it. You want all of your friends to be as woke as you are, and there is not a single thing wrong with that.

But besides being a responsibility, being woke is a commitment. You have to decide that your discovered awareness isn't something you can turn on and off — though, I imagine you'd have trouble doing so. Once you've been enlightened and your worldview has shifted, it's hard to understand the world as you previously did. When you're affronted with the fact that the news outlets follow the sensation instead of the story or the fact that the wage gap is so real — like so real — you find yourself making connections between different situations and viewing life in a whole new way.

If you've read this article, and you can't help but feel as though you're not yet woke — the grammatically correct term is probably "awakened" — never fear. Becoming woke, like anything else, is a process. You can't know what you don't know until you know you don't know it, right?

The first step to becoming woke is opening your mind. Try to understand that other people's experiences differ from yours, meaning their life is totally different from yours. The more you realize the differences between your life and someone else's, the easier it is to ask: "Why? Why are things like this?" The more questions you ask, the more answers you'll seek.

And then, just like magic, you're woke.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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