What does it mean to be “‘woke’,” and why do so many people resist this idea? What began as a call to action within the Black community has become a symbol that right-wing conservatives have manipulated to impose specific viewpoints on race, sexuality, and American history within education. But it doesn’t stop there. The idea of what it means to be ‘woke’ has been stretched and redefined as more causes adopt it leaving many unsure of its true meaning.
On the latest episode of the Small Doses podcast, hosted by Amanda Seales, Tamika Mallory joins the conversation to shed light on what it truly means to be “‘woke’.” As it turns out, it’s not as complex as it may seem.
“For me it’s just a natural thing that I feel like most of us, even those who don’t do anything with it have a sense of ‘wokeness’. They are aware. And that’s what it means. It means to be aware,” Says Mallory, “and I think that the purpose of the use of the word ‘‘woke’’ at this point, and I’m not talking about the colonizers trying to take the word and change it. I’m talking about the origins that meant ‘know it and then do something about it’. Being wok means you know, and now you gotta do.”
Does Black Power = Black Financial Success?
Political pundits aren’t the only ones who have a misunderstanding of ‘wokeness’ not just political pundits who have a misunderstanding of what it means to be ‘woke’. During the episode, Seales highlights that even within the Black community, some fail to grasp why being “woke” is a universal call to action. She notes, “I feel like Black people, will look at the work you’re doing and be like ‘that’s for them’, and not really wrap their heads around that this is a universal terror that is encroaching.” Amanda says to Tamika, an award-winning social justice leader and movement strategist who has become one of the most influential voices of her generation. Amanda discusses this with Tamika, an award-winning social justice leader and movement strategist who has become one of the most influential voices of her generation.
Tamika explains that part of the reason why “wokeness” has lost appeal among some Black individuals is the association with Black wealth and the push for more Black billionaires. “That Black Power term, lost some of its power when people began to believe that because a few of us have become executives, and we had a Black president, that it is no longer a fight that is universal and a fight that requires all of us to be in the game”
Listen to the full episode of Small Doses: Side Effects of Side Effects of ‘woke’ with Tamika Mallory here.
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