What Does it Mean to be “Woke”?
One of the most commonly used terms of the 21st century is the term “woke” which is the past participle of “wake” which encompasses its general meaning: to be alert, woken up to, or aware of social injustice, especially in the form of racial prejudice and discrimination in general.
The word is derived from African American vernacular and its origin within the Black Lives Matter movement and Erykah Badu’s 2008 song titled “Master Teacher” is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary. As stated in the dictionary, the phrase “stay woke” was a key part of the black community, specifically for “those who were self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm, and striving for something better.”
Furthermore, the phrase became even more popularized once it became intertwined with the Black Lives Matter movement, signaling not just the “awareness of injustice and racial tension” but “a word of action.”
Like a lot of words derived from African American Vernacular, “woke” has been taken to the mainstream and is applied and used to a broad range of situations. It is common to see the term used in posts regarding the prison industrial complex, police brutality, and other systemic problems.
In recent times, the term has become convoluted and has deterred from its intended definition used in the context of things such as “Twitter [urging] you to #StayWoke about everything from conspiracy theories to dating red flags” (Bustle) while it is also equated to the controversy surrounding political correctness.
Take a look at more insight into the definition of woke here!