The term woke can elicit strong responses from the political left and right, but what does it mean
“Woke” is a simple word that used is to describe whether a person is sleeping or awake. Today, it is a negative buzzword being tossed about by politicians. Campaigns are being run on stopping or advancing woke policies, but what exactly is woke ideology?
Does it refer to brands that support LBGTQ+ rights? What about Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid?
Florida’s pugilistic governor says he is waging a war on wokeism, but does he even know what he’s fighting?
We’ll take a look at woke ideology and what it means today.
The Origins of Staying Woke
Woke ideology isn’t new. The phrase staying woke has a history dating back at least 100 years. Woke ideology meaning is a little complex. The phrase “stay work” appeared in a 1938 song by Lead Belly in reference to nine Black Alabama teenagers accused of raping two white women.
“Stay Woke” is a call to Blacks to protect their freedom and liberty from perceived corrupt law enforcement officials.
A side note, “staying work” also refers to ending the practice of apartheid in South Africa.
Fast forward to today, and “Stay work” is an anthem in Black communities. The phrase is now an integral part of the Black Lives Movement.
So, how does the woke ideology meaning apply to today’s politics? Both liberals and conservatives are incorporating wokeness into their campaigns with surprising results.
While left-leaning liberals commonly use the phrase, it often meets with derision from the Black community. They are accusing the left of using “woke” to highlight their progressive politics while ignoring the meaning and history of the term.
Conservatives with anti-woke messages are fairing better. According to Google Trends, the online search for “woke” is at an all-time high as of March 2023.
So What Does “Woke” Mean Today
“Woke” means various things to different people. Often, its meaning depends on what side of the political aisle you identify with. Some liberals see “woke” as being aware that certain phrases can be harmful or derogatory to others.
On the other hand, conservatives view being “woke” as a way to change the status norm. The change is not viewed as positive. In other words, being “Woke” signals you are open to taking away rights perceived as belonging to other ethnicities.
What are Examples of Being “Woke”
A flashpoint in politics is woke gender ideology.
What is woke gender ideology? The answer is both simple and complicated.
“Wokeness” applied to gender, typically targets the LGBTQ+ community.
The terminology addresses basic questions and rights belonging to parents, students, and adults.
Should children be allowed to gender transition? In some states, the procedures associated with gender transition are being viewed as a form of child abuse.
Do parents and their children have the final say, or should it be left up to the government?
What about trans athletes? This is another flashpoint discussion. Should trans athletes be allowed to compete in sports, and which gender should they observe?
For example, a teenage boy transitions to the female gender. Does he or she play on a men’s or women’s team?
Bathrooms are another sticking point. Which designated restroom should trans people use?
These are all points being debated on the campaign trail.
Being “Woke” on the Campaign Trail
With an incumbent Democratic president, all focus is on the Republican campaign.
2023 is seeing the term “woke” take center stage, and potential GOP candidates are not on the same page.
This especially applies to the two GOP frontrunners, former president Donald Trump and Florida’s current governor Ron DeSantis.
Former President Donald Trump made an interesting statement recently in Des Moines, Iowa. During his campaign stop, the former president is quoted as stating that he doesn’t like using the term since “half the people can’t even define it”.
He has a valid point. As mentioned earlier, the term “woke” means various things to different people.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis is quoted as defining “woke” as “putting merit and achievement behind identity politics, and it’s basically a war on the truth.”.
GOP candidate Nikki Haley has her own definition. The former UN ambassador defines “woke” as “biological boys playing in girl sports” and “gender pronoun classes in the military.”
“Woke” is Here to Stay
Whether or not you agree with “wokeism”, it is here to stay. At least through the 2024 elections.
Navigating the various definitions is confusing and exhausting. The best advice is to support the candidate who reflects your views.
This article has been created and published on behalf of the Real Clear Marketing Team.