Do white people need to stop using the term 'woke'? | The Tylt
The term "woke" has been part of African-American vernacular for decades, and refers specifically to political consciousness of black oppression and liberation. But many say its pro-black political meaning has been diluted by mainstream misinterpretation and mocking or clueless usage by white people. Others point out that language evolves and woke is "not the first AAVE word to be taken up by the greater public...and it certainly won't be the last." What do you think?
Do white people need to stop using the term 'woke'?
Though among African Americans "woke" has been used for decades to describe being conscious of social systems of black oppression, many argue that it's been appropriated by non-black people. Like "social justice warrior," some white people use it sarcastically to ridicule people who are advocating against racism. Others use it with zero awareness of its origins or history. Is it an attempt at "performative blackness"? Maybe white people could just pick another word?
"Woke" originated within African American vernacular in the 1960s, and experienced a renaissance through the Black Lives Matter movement. It gets trivialized by white writers at mainstream publications, such as when the Guardian published a “wokeometer,” which featured zero people of color.
Mel Magazine argues wokeness is being packaged and sold, and thus "racially sanitized for a mainstream audience" for profit.
Others argue that in the age of President Trump and #MeToo, "woke" has expanded to encompass all kinds of civil rights struggles, not just racial ones. Language changes and evolves.
And others are perfectly comfortable using the term to describe non-black folks, as long as they are demonstrating genuine allyship and trying to have a clue.
Many people are color are tired of mainstream white folks appropriating black art, culture, style, and slang without respect for its makers or its history.
Remember that AAVE is policed when Black folks speak it but it’s suddenly cool when Connor and Becky use it....Much like “on fleek” our beloved word will be whitewashed, printed on Forever 21 shirts, overused and misused by white folks trying to be cool. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀While Black folks are routinely dismissed and discriminated against because of our hairstyles and AAVE in personal and professional settings, white people profit off of our styles, wear dreads and awkwardly co-opt our words and cadences for cool-points.