Whenever those old enough to remember life pre-WOKE meet for the first time, the concept is looking over their shoulders and causing confusion. We don’t really understand it.
WOKE is everywhere and 24-hour-media spreading but unless you are Generation Z and borne to it it’s extremely difficult to negotiate the minefield.
The dictionary defines woke as being ‘aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). It is used when talking about Black Lives Matter, Me Too and Time’s Up. Generation Z demand their educators and leaders be woke. They see it as addressing concerns about racism, sexuality, sexism and work life balance, as a yardstick for changing the way things were, a new age political correctness (PC).
Over 50’s understand PC. The boom in the eighties, though, was more a PR exercise about policing language - for instance you no longer said ‘disabled’ you said ‘physically challenged’. But the jargon never really stuck.
Today we see editors being fired for running controversial pieces, journalists who cannot write about certain topics, and teachers censured for quoting works of literature. Heads of organisations are castigated and dismissed for clumsy mistakes. However, there are signs that the woke posturing of corporate PR departments is coming to an end, or at least peaking.
The Great Awokening is over.
This is because the message is muddled. Rather than being the latest in a long line of vehicles for social justice, woke has has perpetrated a divisive ideology of its own. It encourages people to see minor interactions as conflictual and victimising, to respond massively, and to set up massive bureaucracies to deal with the disputes. It's evolution is as a self-perpetuating job creation ideology for those who feel unable to survive on their own merits. Many are now using Substack to publish content because of its hands off approach to content moderation and its respect for viewpoint diversity. TV shows like White Lotus and the Chair mock woke practice.
Take heart those of you who have never really got to grips with Woke, especially when embarking on a new relationship. It may live on in corporate filing cabinets but the extremities of mass induction are nearly over, and a balance of awareness which everyone can comfortably adhere to is in sight. Let us maybe welcome this balance with open arms.