what is wokeism

What is Wokeism? Understanding the Ideology and Its Impact

With more freedom to put their thoughts into action today, many advocates of social causes are fighting for their ideals and beliefs. Many have found support from other organizations, which has also led to the rise of the concept of wokeism, which aims to empower people and take a stand for what they believe is right.

But what is wokeism? Is this something that has been present before or is it a new idea that has recently been defined? Read on to understand this principle’s ideology and social impact.

What is Wokeism?


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Urban Dictionary defines woke as “a 21st-century leftwing sociopolitical movement inspired by various aspects of Postmodernism and Critical Race Theory, including but not limited to victimology, subjectivism, illiberalism, intersectionality, antiracism (reverse racism) reverse sexism, Marxism, cancel culture and safe spaces.”

According to Dictionary.com, being woke is a “promotion of liberal progressive ideology and policy as an expression of sensitivity to systemic injustices and prejudices.”

In general, woke is the term used to describe any political and/or social movements whose primary intention is to shed light on, address, and correct the social issues happening today. These can be issues about social injustices, discrimination, racism, or inequality, to name a few.

Aside from being aware of these ongoing social challenges, wokeism is also moving towards resolving or at least making a positive change geared towards a resolution to address different forms of oppression. Additionally, wokeism is also related to fostering and building a society that is inclusive, empathetic, and accepting of the different perspectives of people.

Brief History of Wokeism

The word “woke” comes from the expression “staying woke,” as indicated in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). And it means remaining aware or being vigilant to most, if not all, of your society’s political and social issues.

Today, wokeism covers a broader concept, including dismantling the ongoing inequality and oppression in society. It is no longer limited to just being aware of such issues but also doing something to take steps toward making a difference in society.

Surprisingly, tokenism is not a new concept. It can be traced back to the Civil Rights Movement, although it was not called by that word back then. It has gained momentum with a name associated with the movement, with several activities driven by its principle.

So, “being woke” or having that sense of “wokeness” means you are more aware of the unfairness and injustices occurring around you and try to exert some effort to do something about it. Note, though, that despite the word’s popularity, it is not an organization or even an official reference but a concept.

For instance, if you see someone being discriminated against because of ethnicity, your “woke” mindset may encourage you to speak up to tell the person concerned that what they’re doing is not right and try to help the person being mistreated.

What is the Woke Culture?

Woke Culture

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In a nutshell, woke culture refers to people becoming more aware and knowledgeable of the political injustices and social oppression happening around them. Examples of this include the denial of freedom of expression, education, voting rights, racial discrimination, and gender inequality.

But being aware is not the end of the woke culture, because the pivotal and defining point is being active participants to address these social problems. Thus, woke culture involves people who won’t be silenced and will always voice their opinions when it comes to standing for someone’s basic human rights.

Advantages of Wokeism

Advantages of Wokeism

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Like all principles or ideologies, wokeism is a concept that only some agree with. Others would rather not get involved and not rock the boat, while some will quietly go on their way, not minding the societal issues in front of them.

Wokeism simply means helping the fight against all injustices in the world and making steps towards making the world a better and fair place for everyone. Here are some more benefits of supporting wokeism:

#1. It Can Lead to Better Policies.

Policy changes can be promoted and approved with the awareness and action that comes with wokeism. For example, workeism has significantly contributed to removing various Confederate statues across the US.

In Canada, too, because of getting called out by woke people, the government committed to looking into systemic racism in its organizations. Although nothing has changed yet for Canada, it is already a massive start for the leaders to pause and take notice of the problems.

#2. It Promotes Inclusivity.

With wokeism, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and approaches in life, but ensure that everyone’s opinions are respected. Differences in points of view are normal, but wokeism can encourage more inclusivity among people to foster solidarity and acceptance among all diverse social groups.

#3. It Can Change Public Opinion.

The woke movement strives for awareness and action, and part of this is empowering people through education. Today, more people acknowledge that ethnic and racial discrimination is still happening all over the world, and more and more people are taking a stand against it.

With the help of woke people influencing others, many are no longer silent when they experience or witness any social injustice. Instead, people are stepping up and calling it out.

Disadvantages of Wokeism

Disadvantages of Wokeism

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Despite the advantages of wokeism, it is also facing plenty of criticism and drawbacks, which is somewhat expected given the goal of this concept is pretty far-fetched in a highly diverse society.

Some of the disadvantages of wokeism are as follows.

#1. Cancel Culture As a Norm.

One of the primary disadvantages of wokeism is the misunderstanding that cancel culture is acceptable. Since woke people tend to be quite outspoken, it can lead to opposing publicly shaming individuals and organizations, thus can further end up in a culture that instills fear instead of empowerment.

There are instances when wokeism can cross the line of simply taking a stand and going beyond insisting that people should believe the same outlook. And if they don’t, they are “canceled” and no longer part of the supposedly inclusive circle.

#2. Short-term Support For Advocacies.

Some critics believe that wokeism is not a long-term goal. They think that woke people only stand for a social cause based on what’s trending or currently happening, but in the long run, these will be lost when a new social issue arises.

The concept is perceived to be going with the flow, but no consistent follow-through is happening. For instance, one organization supporting LGTBQ+ can update its brand logos during Pride Month, but for the rest of the year, there are no policies in place for the members of this community.

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