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Keeping The POV: Being Woke

We live in very interesting and downright disturbing times. There's no shortage of things to speak of: racism, classism, gender bias, sexual assault... today is rife with troubles. There's one thing that's always bothered me though: the whole concept of "being woke".

The term came into popular use in recent times as a show of solidarity and personal awareness of the bad things going on in the world, even if those things don't affect you personally. A perfect example is a white person that stands in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. These are people that understand the underlying cause of systemic racism and are doing what they can to stand in support of changing these ways of thinking. They are also the ones that often are vocal and use their platform of privilege to make changes. The most recent of these I'd seen in the news was Anne Hathaway calling attention to white privilege, and that there was no possible equivalency for the violence and downright hatred that occurs against the black population. This is a prime example of the 'good' being woke.

And then there's the 'bad' version. These are the fakers that say "I don't see color" and "All Lives Matter". Yeah, all lives matter, but since black lives haven't mattered, that's a factually untrue statement. Get with the program. These are the same people that will call themselves "woke" while they spout off racist, homophobic or sexist jokes with their friends. If you aren't standing for what's right every moment of your life, then you are a faker. No - you are a LIAR. You are not even CLOSE to woke. You want people to look at you in a positive light while you continue to act badly. No. You don't get a pass. In fact, everyone needs to call people like this out because they do nothing for the cause to make things better.

The saying goes, the road is long, and there are miles and miles yet to go. Memories are unfortunately short. We need to remember, as it relates to black history, the underpinnings are deeply rooted into the fabric of this country and "freedom" is only about 60 years old. I'd be hard pressed to find anyone that really believes that black people are THAT free. You can't say that with a straight face, watching the police brutality, pejorative financial practices and devaluation of education in public schools that disproportionally affect people of color and the poor. Come on.

Women only got the right to vote in 1920 in the United States, and even then, they were held under the thumb of men for decades thereafter... and somehow we're still talking about whether or not a woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body. Last I checked, I never handed any man or entity an IOU or leased out my body such that it is owned by anyone else. Ridiculous.

And gay rights - that history is so brand spanking new that we're still basking in its immediate glow much like a supernova. The Stonewall protests were just in 1969 (!), and the advocacy that it took to get gay marriage legal took 40+ years... and it is still in danger of being overturned. (Heaven only knows what a long-term conservative Supreme Court will decide.) What business is it of anyone who you choose to be with? I never understood conservatives when it came to women and gay rights. Aren't they the advocates for small government? Don't they want government out of the lives of average Americans? Well, that's a great platform to keep your noses out of what women do and what LGBTQ+ people do with their personal lives. Mind your own business!

But no. Hypocrisy and lies have become the new 'alternative facts'. Joy oh joy. (Yes, my sarcasm is showing.)

All of this to say... don't act woke. Be woke. Live it. Speak on it publicly AND privately. Whether or not you personally experience something, it can and does exist. I quoted all that history because compared to the conquests of European settlers, the history for these groups is in its infancy as it relates to freedom. Colonizers were already deeply entrenched in their privilege from the moment they stole land from the Native Americans and other indigenous peoples across the Americas. They only continued that mentality and approach with every successive generation.

Break the colonizer cycle. Teach and embrace inclusivity. Let that inclusivity be reflected in the laws of the land. And maybe after a couple of generations, we stand a real chance.

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