Help Us Understand: What Does “Woke” Mean to You or Anybody?

It appears that the word “Woke” or wokeness means different things to different people. So, depending on who you think or what your belief system might be, you may have a unique perspective on what it means to be woke.

Here are some assumptive definitions of “woke” according to general appearances based only on my observations as I try to unravel what it means to be woke, and I’ll admit, I am far more confused about wokeness than when I first started investigating what the meaning of woke might be.

So far, this is what I’ve come up with, please let me know if you have input or corrections to be made as we all try to figure out what woke means according to whom.

          1. Progressive Activists
            • Progressive activists often view being “woke” as a positive and necessary mindset. They see it as an awareness of social injustices, including systemic racism, gender inequality, and economic disparities. They believe in using their voices and platforms to advocate for marginalized communities and push for social change.
          2. Conservative Critics
            • Conservative critics may view “wokedness” with skepticism or concern. They might see it as a divisive ideology that promotes political correctness, suppresses free speech, and emphasizes identity politics over individual responsibility. They may argue that it threatens traditional values and undermines personal freedoms.
          3. Social Justice Advocates
            • Social justice advocates embrace the concept of being “woke” as a commitment to addressing societal inequalities and promoting justice. They focus on issues like racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, and economic redistribution. They strive to create a more inclusive and equitable society through activism, education, and policy advocacy.
          4. Mainstream Media
            • The mainstream media may cover the concept of “wokeness” from various angles. Some outlets might emphasize its positive aspects, highlighting movements for social change and awareness of systemic issues. Others may take a more critical stance, examining potential excesses, controversies, or conflicts arising from the ideology.
          5. Cultural Conservatives
            • Cultural conservatives may perceive “wokedness” as a threat to traditional values and norms. They may argue that it promotes radical social change, erodes religious freedoms, and imposes ideological conformity. They might resist what they see as the undue influence of “wokeness” in education, media, and public discourse.
          6. Academia and Intellectual Circles
            • In academia and intellectual circles, being “woke” may relate to critical theories and social analysis. Scholars and thinkers might engage with concepts such as intersectionality, cultural appropriation, and privilege to understand power dynamics and advocate for societal transformation.
          7. Corporate and Marketing Realm
            • In the corporate and marketing world, being “woke” can sometimes be seen as a branding strategy or a way to appeal to socially conscious consumers. Companies may adopt inclusive policies, support social causes, and use “wokeness” as a marketing tool to enhance their public image and attract a certain demographic.
          8. Libertarians
            • Libertarians might approach “wokedness” with caution, as they prioritize individual liberty and limited government intervention. They may be concerned about the potential for “wokeness” to infringe on personal freedoms, particularly when it comes to freedom of speech or free markets.
          9. Traditionalists
            • Traditionalists, who value preserving longstanding customs and beliefs, may view “wokeness” as a departure from established traditions. They might see it as a challenge to social norms, moral values, and cultural heritage, and may express concerns about the erosion of societal cohesion.
          10. Identity Politics Critics
            • Some individuals critical of identity politics may perceive “wokeness” as an ideology that places undue emphasis on identity categories such as race, gender, or sexuality. They may argue that this approach fosters division, suppresses individuality, and inhibits open dialogue on important issues.
          11. Skeptics
            • Skeptics may question the authenticity or effectiveness of “wokeness” as a meaningful approach to addressing societal challenges. They might express concerns about virtue signaling or performative activism and argue for a more pragmatic and evidence-based approach to social issues.
          12. Cultural Progressives
            • Cultural progressives may embrace “wokeness” as a transformative force for societal progress. They may advocate for dismantling systems of oppression, promoting inclusivity, and challenging ingrained biases. They see it as an opportunity to create a more just and equitable society.
          13. Populist Movements
            • Populist movements, which often emerge in response to perceived elite control, may view “wokeness” as an out-of-touch ideology championed by the political and cultural establishment. They might criticize it as disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people and a distraction from economic or national issues.
          14. Individualists
            • Individualists might be skeptical of “wokeness” if they perceive it as prescribing collective identities or enforcing conformity. They may emphasize personal responsibility, freedom of choice, and self-determination, and question whether “wokeness” allows sufficient room for individual agency.
          15. LGBTQ+ Community
            • Members of the LGBTQ+ community might view “wokeness” as a call for recognition, acceptance, and equal rights. They may emphasize the importance of challenging heteronormativity, cisnormativity, and advocating for social and legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals.
          16. Disability Rights Activists
            • Disability rights activists may approach “wokeness” by focusing on inclusivity, accessibility, and challenging ableism. They might advocate for dismantling barriers, ensuring equal opportunities, and promoting disability rights and representation.
          17. Environmentalists
            • Environmentalists may see being “woke” as an awakening to the urgent need for environmental conservation and sustainability. They might emphasize the importance of addressing climate change, protecting ecosystems, and promoting environmentally conscious practices.
          18. Immigrant Communities
            • Immigrant communities may view “wokeness” through the lens of cultural identity, immigrant rights, and social integration. They might advocate for fair immigration policies, combatting xenophobia, and celebrating the contributions of immigrants to society.
          19. Artists and Creatives
            • Artists and creatives might embrace “wokeness” as a source of inspiration for social commentary and cultural critique. They may use their creative mediums to challenge the status quo, provoke conversations, and bring awareness to social issues.
          20. Global Activists
            • Global activists, concerned with human rights and global justice, may see “wokeness” as a call for solidarity across borders. They might advocate for addressing global inequalities, promoting fair trade, challenging neocolonial practices, and supporting international cooperation.
          21. Religious Progressives
            • Some religious progressives may interpret “wokeness” as aligning with their faith values. They might see it as a means to actively live out principles of justice, compassion, and inclusivity derived from their religious teachings. They may view it as a call to address systemic issues within society.
          22. Catholicism
            • Within Catholicism, being “woke” may involve a commitment to social justice, advocating for the marginalized, and addressing systemic inequalities. It may include working towards the common good, promoting human dignity, and addressing issues such as poverty, racism, and immigration.
          23. Protestantism
            • Protestant denominations encompass a broad range of beliefs, but many may view being “woke” as embracing social activism, pursuing racial reconciliation, and engaging in efforts to alleviate societal injustices. This may involve working towards equality, addressing poverty, and advocating for the rights of the oppressed.
          24. Evangelical Christianity
            • Evangelicals may have diverse perspectives on “wokeness.” Some may embrace the concept as a call to address social issues through biblical principles, such as caring for the poor, standing against injustice, and promoting Christian values in society. Others may be skeptical of certain aspects they perceive as promoting secular ideologies conflicting with their faith.
          25. Islam
            • In Islam, being “woke” may involve a commitment to social justice, fairness, and compassion. It may entail advocating for the rights of the oppressed, standing against discrimination, and promoting social equality based on Islamic principles of justice and mercy.
          26. Judaism
            • Within Judaism, being “woke” may align with the concept of tikkun olam, which means repairing or healing the world. It may involve pursuing social justice, working towards equality, and engaging in acts of compassion and righteousness to address societal issues and bring about positive change.
          27. Hinduism
            • Within Hinduism, being “woke” may encompass practicing ahimsa (non-violence) and working towards social harmony and justice. It may involve recognizing and addressing social inequalities, advocating for the welfare of all beings, and promoting a sense of interconnectedness and empathy.
          28. Buddhism
            • In Buddhism, being “woke” may involve developing mindfulness and awareness of suffering in the world. It may include actively working towards reducing suffering, promoting equality, and cultivating compassion for all beings.
          29. Sikhism
            • In Sikhism, being “woke” may relate to the principles of seva (selfless service) and equality. It may involve actively engaging in community service, fighting against discrimination, and working towards a just and inclusive society.
          30.  Jainism
            • In Jainism, being “woke” may revolve around the concepts of ahimsa (non-violence) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). It may entail advocating for non-violence in all aspects of life, including social justice, environmental preservation, and the pursuit of equanimity.
          31. Native American
            • Native American religious and spiritual contexts, being “woke” or embodying “wokeness” may be understood as being in harmony with the natural world, acknowledging the interconnection of all life forms, and maintaining a deep respect for ancestral wisdom and traditions. It may involve recognizing the importance of land stewardship, honoring one’s heritage, and engaging in communal rituals and ceremonies to foster spiritual and cultural growth. “Wokeness” might also encompass a reverence for the spiritual significance of nature, the elements, and animal spirits, and a commitment to preserving indigenous knowledge and cultural practices.
          32. Shamanism
            • In the context of shamanism, being “woke” could entail having a heightened spiritual awareness, perceiving the unseen energies and dimensions, and striving for personal transformation and self-realization. It may involve engaging in rituals, ceremonies, or vision quests to deepen one’s connection to the spiritual realm and to gain insights into the self and the community.

Of course, you could be a member of any of these groups and have your own idea about what woke means to you, but remember this is just “in general.”

I apologize in advance, as this is the best I’ve been able to do so far, and I would greatly appreciate any input you might have to better understand what woke means to whom. At least, this is a start in an effort to find understanding. Please add your thoughts or corrections below.Thank you in advance for your help in our all having a better understanding of wokeness.