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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Being woke, what does it actually mean? It comes from the term of being ‘politically correct’. It is to be actively aware and attentive to important facts and issues, such as racial and social justice. However, today the word ‘woke’ is used to shame people for having such values. The ironic part is that these negative connotations often come from those who do not recognise how uneducated they are about social justice issues of which members in our society face on a daily basis. The thing that does not sit right with me is that often these people are proud of it, referencing those who are woke to be “snowflakes”. Since when is being aware and fighting for social justice a weak trait to have? 

Nothing boils my blood more than the weaponization of the term woke. If anything, it just doesn’t make sense to me. You have to put so much more effort into having old, traditional values which exclude certain social groups and ignore the injustice in our changing society than just picking up your phone and educating yourself about a social issue. This generation has the resources to be the most self-aware our world has ever been, yet not everyone seems to care about the fact that inequality kills every day. Pause for a second. Note how almost every person who has shamed someone for being woke is usually white and straight. What I’m getting at is it is always the privileged groups in society complaining about woke culture. 

You always get the same argument thrown at you; they have lived many generations without any problems so why should they change now? It seems to be everyone’s favourite reason to use. Well… did you live with flat screen tv’s and touch screen phones back then? Most likely not. Do you own both of those things now? Most likely yes. It is simply a whole notion of ‘if it doesn’t directly affect me, then why should I care?’ The anti-woke movement cares more about the fact they are being corrected than just learning and understanding the injustices of others. Yes, sometimes some things are complicated to understand, but if you have the time to complain about it, you also have the time to pick up your phone and do a proper bit of research on the topic. I don’t understand what’s so hard about this concept. 

This whole anti-woke movement emphasises the privileges of those who do not see a point in being woke. These are people who do not need to worry about being shamed about their sexuality, their gender, the colour of their skin, their religion, and the list goes on.  

I want to stress that I do not believe every white middle-aged or older person does not want to be educated and contribute to creating social change. I am going off of my own experiences. I have been shamed for being “too woke” and every day it confuses me. It lives in my head rent-free. The main issue is that there is no room to explain and educate anyone who complains about having to change due to social injustice. They will nag about the fact they have to change a small daily behaviour completely forgetting that those affected by the social issues are actually suffering.  

Why would you not want equality for all? Why would you want people to be closeted? Why would you want to ignore the racial injustice on this planet? And why would you want to overlook the fact sexism still exists? The anti-woke movement scares me to the extent as I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that others do not care that these social inequalities kill people every single day. Criticising woke culture has become a way of claiming victim status rather than acknowledging that others are more justified to hold that status. The sad reality is that as long as social injustices remain on this planet, so will new terms that shame those fighting for social equality. 

Esmee Johnston

Aberdeen '22

4th year Politics and International Relations student
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