Woke. Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no wifi or data, you’ve definitely heard this term before. It means to be aware of the social injustices going on in your community and in this world. The term has been around for a while but has been gaining traction in circles that may not have been familiar with it before. I consider myself woke and I strive to stay that way by continuing to learn not only about the injustices directly affecting me but also those affecting other groups as well. While becoming woke has opened my eyes to injustices and allowed me to join the fight to make this world a better, more equal place, it also has its downfalls.
Being woke is literally to be aware of all of the problems you and your people are facing. And let me tell you, it is draining. With videos constantly popping up on your feed of innocent men and women being murdered at the hands of the police and crazed vigilantes, with members of the LGBTQ community constantly having their already limited rights continually put in jeopardy of being overturned because of some bigot in power, with the looks and comments you get simply for existing unapologetically in your skin, it can be tiresome. Yes, I am aware of so much more that is going on in this world which makes it easier for me to get involved in making things better, but sometimes seeing this world for what it really is can be upsetting and overwhelming.
It Ruins Pop Culture
Think back to before you were woke when you listened to music and watched tv shows. You were probably able to just enjoy them without thinking critically about the message any piece of work was putting out there. But now every lyric and every line is subject to be filtered through that woke brain of yours to spot all of the homophobic, racist, sexist things that creators seem to find amusing. While it is by no means impossible to find entertainment that doesn’t offend one or more groups of people, you’d be surprised at how many creators have at least some problematic content out there.
Friendships Are Affected
Not everyone becomes woke at the same time or speed as their friends and this can lead to issues to say the least. I began my journey to becoming woke before some friends, colleagues and acquaintances. So, when I began speaking out about the issues I had been witnessing for so long and those I had just begun learning about, some people took is very personally. I started getting messages asking why I, “all of a sudden, seemed to hate white people” (because apparently calling out the racial injustices of black and brown people is automatically associated to hating white people in their minds) or why I “kept playing the race card”(because apparently the issues I have personally faced and that I’ve seen others face aren’t valid in their eyes). Some friendships were lost, some were put on hold until they woke up, and others flourished.
Becoming woke is something that will change your life forever. It changes the way you see and interact with the world. While there may be some drawbacks, living with those is much better than willfully living in ignorance.