Is woke good, bad, or somewhere in between? In an online forum where commenters try to change people’s minds, one person claimed “wokeism” is a good thing. Commenters stated their cases for and against it, and things got heated.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: How Bad Can It Be?
The “pro-woke” original poster started the forum by saying the past few years have introduced a cultural shift of Americans paying attention to disadvantaged groups. “Mainstream and conservative folks have branded this ‘wokeism,'” they explained. “I’ve failed to see how this is bad.”
2: Wake Up
The original poster continued that for right-wingers, complaining about wokeism is essentially attacking something they’re incapable of understanding. For non-political people, it’s more about wagging their fingers at younger generations. “I’m open to examples that prove wokeism goes too far, but ‘drag show readings to kids’ seems like a nothing burger to me.”
3: Nothing New
One person explains that for the average American, “wokeism” is more like virtue signaling done by multi-billion dollar corporations like Microsoft making a video statement about indigenous land acknowledgment. “They’re one of the richest corporations in the world with tons of human rights scandals. The only reason for them to do this is to try and not seem so evil towards hyper-woke 20-year-old white girls.”
4: Triggering Topics
Wokeness is much more than people complaining about lending a hand to those who face difficulty, one person says. “Everyone would be fine with that. But instead, we have a continually shifting set of standards over which they can be outraged.”
5: More Harm Than Good
One person goes as far as to say wokeness actively hurts people, including the groups it aims to help. “Typically, it only helps the thought leaders,” they said. “It doesn’t read to me like it would actually do anything. Just throwing resources at people does not help people.”
6: Don’t Generalize
“Woke” can mean anything nowadays, and therein lies the issue, one person says. They’ve heard anything from affirmative action to firing a professor for Islamaphobia labeled as woke. “Some of these things might be good. Some of them might be bad. But lumping them all into one giant category of ‘woke’ and calling it universally ‘good’ is overly reductive.”
7: Who You Gonna Call
One person says the people who are loudest about professing their activism for underprivileged groups are just using it as a shield to block themselves from criticism. “For example, anyone who criticized the 2016 all-female Ghostbusters movie could be labeled and dismissed as a misogynist. That’s it. Discussion over.”
8: All About You
“At the end of the day, wokeism is all about self-indulgence,” one person observes. They even call it a new-age religion. “It is imperative for them to signal to others daily how virtuous they are compared to the rest of us heathens.”
9: Pushing Opinions
One anti-woke commenter agrees that wokeism is identity politics with dangerous undertones. “You have a right to your opinion, but you shouldn’t be shaming people for not agreeing with you,” they said. “The way you seem to take a moral high ground based on your political stance is pretty immature.”
10: Neutral Ground
One feels caught in the middle and thinks woke tactics can do more harm than good. “I like woke ideas, discussions, and activism when it balances effectiveness with minimizing the number of families broken up, people fired, communities broken up, and other damage caused.”
11: Guilty as Charged
An annoyed commenter calls out the original poster for close-mindedness that’s “typical of the woke left.” They said, “You accuse those who disagree with you incapable of understanding. I can tell by your post that nothing anyone said will change your view.”
12: Consider This
One bad apple doesn’t ruin the whole bunch, one person adds. But “It’s some of the people who call themselves woke that ruined it for the rest.” While some people use the term and mean it well, from their point of view, “If you do identify with it, you should consider how it looks from an outside perspective.”
13: Personally Peeved
“I get annoyed by ‘wokeism’ myself every once in a while,” one person says, adding that it seems to boil down to performative empathy. “If your ‘wokeness’ is about you, not an actual attempt to be considerate, then it’s gonna annoy me.”
14: Public Image
One person traces the public’s negative connotation of “woke” to those who claimed the term and acted “crazy.” They said, “Non-neurotic people noticed. It was a shift in public perception, not a calculated attack.”
15: Ruining Everything
“Woke is the worst,” another person says, adding that they think it’s the fastest way to ruin anything. “You can have a fantastic, Kubrick-style movie with you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Weave in a woke narrative into that movie, and immediately, the whole thing is trash.”
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