Woke. One word, but its context is anything but singular and simple. To be woke is to have a certain sense of awareness to your surroundings, socially, economically, politically, historically. It is knowing what’s going in your community, and in neighboring our astray communities. Miriam Webster even added woke to their dictionary in September 2017. Their definition of woke is “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of social and racial injustice).” True!
We’ve made major strides with our evolution of wokeness, from the Black Lives Matter Movement and speaking on racial injustices and slain black men and women, to calling out bigotry and sexual harassment in entertainment and media, to calling attention to politics in a new and engaging way. It’s been a pure joy, and wokeness has even trickled down to our personal lives and self care.
We’re woke to what processed, gmo foods like McDonalds does to our bodies. We’re woke to what self care really means and how we plan to improve our wokeness to improve our lives.
But like anything in life, with wokeness has come rocky grounds of judgment. Part of being woke is calling attention to the issues that plague our community to those who are unaware. When gospel singer Tina Campbell wrote a public letter stating that she voted for Donald Trump because she initially thought he was a Christian, and asked that we pray for him to “have a change of heart and mind,” she received a wrath of backlash. CNN Political Commentator and attorney Angela Rye had some serious words for her.
“It is truly the last and evil days, saints. I ain’t gonna tell you that the man isn’t a Christian.
BUT I AM TELLING YOU WE KNOW A TREE BY THE FRUIT IT BEARS. Do you really believe his behavior is Christ like? Well, anyway … I am now boycotting ‘Mary Mary’ until Tina comes through with the GOSPEL TRUTH.
What in the FIERY hell is going on?! Jesus!!!!!! And yes, I’m calling on Him because I need wisdom and understanding. I am trying REALLY hard not to cuss … on a Sunday. Let me log off.”
She wrote on Instagram. Several other black women activists shared their dissatisfaction with Tina on social media. And though I must agree, while I found some of her comments in her letter to be outlandish, I wondered – are we being woke by spreading this knowledge of Tina’s open letter, or are we participating in the downfall of someone else because they have opposing views?
Tina shared her peace, and though we may disagree, is there another way that we could’ve let her know that we disagree? Could we have tried to educate her first, or digested her viewpoint internally at our kitchen tables – or did we need to put her on blast?
I began thinking of other ways in which we’ve been woke and publicly bashed someone for not being woke on a smaller scale. Here are five ways we (and I say we) have turned our wokeness and self awareness to judgement.
Straight hair/weave and wig bashing
We wear our hair in styles that feel comfortable to us, and compliment the way we look. Our hair is a form of expression, and all styles should be treated as such. While we can certainly give props to girls in twist outs, we can compliment our gal pal who’s rocking long weave extensions as well. Yes, we love that real natural hair – but it should not be an indicator that one is more “real” and “woke” than someone with a weave – and we shouldn’t judge people for wearing weaves as lacking self love either.
Unawareness of news bashing
No one knows everything that’s going on in the world..no one. If you find that someone isn’t as alert to the news you are, then encourage them to pay attention to the news more – but in a loving way. Share news information that you find in your group text and social media without referencing others as being dumb for not knowing it already. Sharing is caring!
We should all appreciate our natural beauty and be confident in our own skin free of makeup. But there’s nothing wrong with dolling yourself up if you please. Like hair, makeup is a form of self expression and art. However, it is important to have a sense of confidence without makeup.
Opposing views bashing
How boring would life be if we all thought alike? We’re not all the same, and though we can disagree with someone’s views, we don’t have to bash them and put them on public display for others to do the same. It is times like these that are perfect for educating and enlightening one another (again, lovingly). Think of all the times you’ve said something dumb, ignorant or just plain mean and people have spared you. Now do the same for someone else.
Education bashing (for people who did not attend PWIs)
There’s nothing like the HBCU college experience, but we should be accepting to all college experiences. Your friend who attended that small PWI in Missouri is no less cool than you are, and her schooling experience is no less valid than yours. Support her in that degree and that life milestone, no matter where it’s from!
We should strive to share or wokeness, be empathetic to others who may not be where we are mentally, and refrain from an exclusive mentality.