It seems that people are getting their knickers-in-a-knot over the concept of ‘WOKE’ or, put more understandably: being more aware/alert to injustice in society, especially racism and sexism. Some folks are upset ABOUT instances of racism, sexism, etc. and some are upset about THOSE who are upset. Weird.
We sit on the precipice of environmental annihilation, a life-crippling pandemic and, quite possibly, WW3 and many are actually working fervently to wash everyone else’s mouth with soap. Everybody is becoming a harpy named Karen.
Admittedly, every infraction, violation or unfairness levied against another person primarily because of their skin colour or gender is wrong – on some level – and we should try and fix it. Why not? If it’s obviously race or gender based, it is almost always prejudice, discrimination or bigotry at work. That so-called woke position should be easy enough to support but, it turns out, unsurprisingly, a lot of people resent being told how to feel and be with others. “It’s my first amendment right to be a bigot and it is my second amendment right to wear camouflage, wear my hat backwards and carry a gun!”
I hate to admit it but, as a free-speecher, I kinda agree that good manners and being nice cannot be legislated. Still, I side with the ‘woke’ side on most racist/sexist issues but rarely enough to light my hair on fire.
But, I digress. Back to being or not being woke……the reason ‘wokedness’ is being seen as ‘bad’ by such illuminati as Barbara Kay, Rex Murphy and Jordan Peterson is not so much that they are racists or bigots but rather that they do not want to be censored or ‘cancelled’ for some meaningless slip-of-the-tongue like referring to Chinaman’s Creek by the name it had for decades or calling a flush-on-the-street entryway a man-hole cover when everyone knows women can go into the sewers the same way. WOKE/ANTI-WOKE? It all seems so silly.
Barb, Rex and Jordan make their living by words and so their perspective is, perhaps, a bit more rarefied than others but, in their lack of defense, they get a lotta Bubba support for their anti-woke stance. The Bubbas hate woke libtards with a passion. Same kinda people didn’t like hippies with long hair, don’t like Muslims with hajibs and don’t like well, anyone they can vilify and make an ‘other’.
Frankly, I used to think it was all just a tempest in a big, SILLY teapot. Where REAL prejudice, bigotry, hatred and action-against-others is provably manifest, they are also clearly wrong and probably illegal (unless the cops do it, of course). And where it is NOW perceived insensitive and/or rude to use a historic name like Squaw Valley, Nigger Ridge or Chinaman’s Creek, well, names can be changed. No biggy. I say, ‘change ’em’. The names were arbitrarily chosen anyway. But where Vaughn, Russel and even Kitchener are being criticized because they were named after historic figures who, it turns out, had the common personal flaws of their era (slavery, lice, corruption, etc.) then it is getting pretty weird. Look for a historic political or influential person without major flaws and only Jesus comes to mind.
But, is that all there is to it? Karens preaching to Bubbas on proper etiquette?
Maybe. Maybe not. There is another point of view that I have slowly grasped…consider, for example, that of a single black man who got rousted and hassled by the police well over 100 times over the course of a year when just going to work. He worked at a convenience store. Over his four years working there, Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned 258 times, searched at least 100 times, arrested 62 times, and jailed 56 times by Miami police – every time while on his way to work, arriving at work or even, unbelievably, while AT work!
So, what has that to do with ‘woke or not?’ It’s all related. Sorta different ends of the same prejudicial spectrum but still related. Because I am white, kind of even look like a bit like a cop (it was the donuts) and act like I own the place, the chances of me getting stopped and hassled over those four years is virtually nil compared to Earl.
So, it seems I actually do have some sort of white privilege. Who knew? Well, that is, if one can say NOT being hassled is a privilege….? Clearly, Earl does not have even my lowly status (po’ white trash). Trust me when I say, Earl is likely a way better employee and a nicer, more pleasant clerk than I would ever be. Hell, there is a very high possibility I might have punched a customer or two in each and every one of those four years! It is in Florida, after all (even now I’d like to go down there and punch DeSantis and Trump). I am not a better man, employee, citizen or person than Earl. I am sure I am way worse.
In that sense, being ‘woke’ really just recognizes that being born any colour but white in this society (first world, North American) is a demerit point in the eyes of the police and, in some cases, with the whole system. Indigenous folks get a lot of that same hassle-crap in Canada. Being woke for me NOW means being aware that I am NOT being hassled because of my skin colour.
*WOKE: the word was borrowed from African American street slang. It has evolved somewhat these past few years to encompass other just causes and movements.