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Are We Too “Woke”?

Maia Popa, XI A

“Woke” is an adjective derived from African-American Vernacular English meaning “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination”. In a society in which more and more people have started adopting the “politically correct” way of expressing themselves and fighting for inclusivity, an increasingly soaring number of individuals have begun identifying themselves as “woke”. Fighting for equality and against discrimination is important, yet sometimes being too correct can have deleterious consequences.

To begin with, being woke entails being aware or well-informed in a political or cultural sense, especially in terms of issues regarding marginalised communities. It is, in its primary sense, a metaphor for describing a person who has just “woken up” to the issues of social injustice surrounding us. Nevertheless, it seems that this movement of emancipation from the minorities, in spite of its remarkably honourable first intentions, has led not only to an egregious increase in unjustified violences, but also an incessant excuse for the inadequate behaviour of some individuals.

Albeit this issue has started arising more and more throughout recent years, it is irrefutably not a new one. Perhaps the most significant time period in which the “woke” deployed their movement was during the Black Lives Matter Movement, when it seems that the protesters were woke enough to fight racial injustice, yet not woke enough to fathom the chaos and destruction they left behind. Similarly, one of the most recent school shootings taking place in the US was triggered by the shooter’s past issues with discrimination due to being a transgender man. Thus, the shooter decided to take revenge on the school and community that allegedly “wronged” him by killing 6 innocent individuals, among which 3 children and 3 teachers, and injuring many more. What’s more, after this event, an exorbitant number of people focused more on being “politically correct” towards the shooter’s gender identity rather than the victims affected by his actions.

It is patent that the majority of the movements dedicated to fighting social injustice and discrimination are well intended most of the time, yet they can also represent the root motive for calamitous consequences. All in all, it is tremendously important that one tries to be inclusive, respectful and politically correct to some extent, as long as one does not step over the reasonable boundaries of this issue and starts finding excuses for others’ unjustified and unwarranted actions.

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