Is You … Awake or Is You “Woke?”

Lafe Tolliver

By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
Guest Column

Have you begun to notice that there is emerging a hot political word that will be used by the GOP to attack the Democrats and to foment another culture war and that is the word, ‘Woke.’ Depending upon what source you utilize, some pundits opine that the word, ‘Woke’ was in play, ‘back in the day’ and it simply meant that a Black person was knowledgeable about the virulent racism that terrorized many Black communities.

It meant that she or he was circumspect in how they could size up a room regarding the racial themes being manifested at them. It meant that you were not easily deceived or placed in harm’s way by knowing the current racial temperature.

‘Woke,’ in the aggregate sense of context makes correct understanding, also indicates that community of people recognize that systems, programs, or policies can be manufactured to maintain racial separations; and those persons being the object of Woke, are reasonable to assume that such a word equals oppression, overt or covert.

Being ‘Woke’ is having your social or political antennae finely tuned so that when there is  a game being played on you, you counter with appropriate conduct to show those malefactors that you will not be part of their victimology scheme.

The GOP is now enthralled with using the word woke because it gives them a false sense that they are knowledgeable about Black people and people of color and their means of exposing America’s racial aggressions.

In order to try to get the conversational high ground, GOP podcasters and influencers want to throw the word woke around like an infected blanket with smallpox and thus create a backlash against people who effectively use the word.

Of course, we know how Florida Governor DeSantis is falling over his feet trying to project the image of a strongman who says that ‘woke’ comes to die in Florida. Translation: Any positive talk of progressive politics or those who support such things as railing against discrimination and lack of fairness in jobs and housing, will find Florida not receptive.

Imagine this…the recent failure of the SVB (a large bank in California) is now being attributable to a ‘woke’ policy that caused the banking officials to lose to their perspective on properly overseeing depositor’s funds.

So, envision a banking business failure and in order to deflect blame for risky banking practices, your public agenda platform is hijacked by certain GOP members who say due to the banks focusing on diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI policies), that is the real reason for its failure! Twisted logic to be sure, but in some right-wing GOP caves, it works for them.

It is akin to saying a bank cannot do two things at a time: It cannot engage in safe and risk-free financial undertakings and at the same time, provide a banking culture in which people of color, women and others are afforded both a welcome and ongoing mentorships and constructive job evaluations.

So for the immediate future, the public will have to endure half-wit commentators trying with a straight face to decode for you what they mean by ‘woke.’

Make no doubt about it. Using the word ‘woke’ is a pejorative and is meant to be a cudgel against any public person, teacher, politico, or media personality who uses the word in its proper context.

Just to illustrate how devious and history bending this wokeness concept is in the hands of people like Gov. DeSantis, there is the proven story that a book publisher, in order to curry favor with the governor, has submitted a historical revision of Rosa Parks in which the issue of race has been whitewashed out!

Image, telling the story of one of the early pioneers of the civil rights movement and you re-write history and take out her race and why she was protesting being told to move to the back of the bus.

It would be akin to saying that Genghis Khan was not a famous Mongolian warrior. It would be saying that Anne Frank was not Jewish. It is like saying blueberries are not blue.

Ron DeSantis yearns for a sanitized white society in which the irritants of Black protests and Indian removal and the discomfits of civil rights are quietly banished to the corner of history for fear of offending white citizens.

If Ron DeSantis would wave a magic wand and say the three magic words, Abra-Ca-

Dabra, the following would vanish in an instant: (1) issues of civil rights, (2) LGBTQ issues,

(3) reparations for Indigenous Peoples, (4) Black sororities and fraternities (yes that was being discussed!), (5) all Democrats, (6) any books that challenge or offend white people when it comes to issues of fairness, inclusion, and diversity, (7) affirmative action and any other

program, policy, or position that champions limits on arbitrary governmental authority.

I have said it before and will say it again, America has entered a grim period of history in which too many Americans are willing to surrender their protections and rights to authoritarian people, whom, themselves are filled with anxiety, hate, bitterness and are conflicted about ‘playing fairly in our mutual sandbox.’


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