Jordan JaDella Smith 

Recently America has had many public figures like Zendaya, Colin Kaepernick, Yara Shahidi, Ciara Taylor, Jaden Smith, Jesse Williams, and Childish Gambino use their platforms to take a stand against America's harsh systems of oppression. Through the courage of these individuals challenging the problematic norms in our society, we as Americans, have created a "woke image" which has lead to the common use of the hashtag #StayWoke used vividly on various social media sites. Although I love the conspiracy theories, important discussions, and the life that "woke" individuals bring to the table, can black people be too woke? I decided to take my proposed question to Instagram and see what others thought...



If black people can be too woke, what is "being woke"? Oriana Koren best described "woke" as a coming of age, and to be woke is a specific sort of awareness, inextricably tied to the challenge of navigating America in a black body. No one fully understands what it's like to be black unless you too are black. To be unarmed and murdered, receive "additional screening" in public venues, called the N-word, become victims of statistics, attend a failing school, live in low income black communities, be ill prepared for life, and live in a country that supports the system of segregation and the industrial prison complex. Am I too woke for feeling this way or am I trying to help those who do not understand comprehend that we do not need to continue to close our eyes to prevalent issues and systemic inequities in our country?

  #StayWoke reminds readers to be politically aware of injustice and racial tension, to take action, and to be reminded of other realities of life in the United States. Staying woke, as Dianna Harris creator of BLK Proverbs relays, is a way for blacks to explain that black people are no longer subscribing to the hegemonic ideas about how we should live. #StayWoke is thinking for yourself and seeing how racism, sexism, and class-ism affects the lives of many and how we as a people live on a daily basis. #StayWoke is a call for vigilance at modern history's height of horror where blacks' home is still a hostile and dangerous place to navigate. Woke essentially describes an "informed, questioning, self-educating individual."

Being woke is apart of the black culture.