Letter: What does ‘woke’ even mean?

Whenever I hear a Republican complain about woke or wokeism, I hear echoes from the ’90s, when people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich complained about “political correctness,” used by liberals to beat up on poor conservatives.

It wasn’t politically correct to be mean or cruel or racist, or bigoted or unkind to others, like calling names or trying to insult people. And Republicans didn’t like to be called mean or racist or bigoted, so conservatives attacked the concept of political correctness as an infringement on free speech and the First Amendment.

Today, political correctness has morphed into the buzz word of “woke” or “wokeness.” And led by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, most everyone on the extreme right is complaining about woke curriculum, woke books, woke movies, woke organizations, woke policies and woke politicians on the Left.

Yet even with all this harping on the word woke and by implication, the desire to be anti- or un-woke, members of the Republican Party and the pundits of Fox and NewsMax have a hard time defining these terms.

So I’m going to perform a public service here and help you out.

Woke implies awareness of others, their history, the challenges they’ve faced or face today. Awareness, to me, implies understanding, compassion and kindness, which I do not believe are bad things, and you might have heard your Mom or religious leader have something to say about those ideas.

Bottom line, I think the concept of woke lines up nicely with the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you. That basic idea exists in every religion.

Trouble is, extreme conservatives, for all that they claim to be Christian, really don’t like the Golden Rule, because it interfers with hate, fear, racism and bigotry. They can’t directly attack the Golden Rule, so they attack the buzz word woke and exault anti-wokeism without really admitting that they are endorsing racism and bigotry.

I don’t think they should get away with this abuse of the English language or this dancing around the word “woke.” I’m going to challenge them to more closely define their terms and point out when their words and actions violate the spirit of the Golden Rule.

Brodie Farquhar

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.