Woke is a slang term took birth in a dialect called African American Vernacular English (AAVE)
The term of staying woke became a watchword in parts of the black community for those who were self-aware and for those who questioned the dominant paradigm and strived for something better.
It was popularized as a call to action that went hand in hand with the black lives matter movement.
By the year 2010, woke became a term that was closely associated with left-wing politics, socially liberal causes, feminism, LGBT activism, and cultural issues, race equity culture issues, and more.
Definition in oxford dictionary says
‘Alert to injustice in society, especially racism.’,to ‘The act of being very pretentious about how much you care about a social issue’ as defined in the urban dictionary. Well, this says a lot about woke culture.
The Baby Boomers may grumble about these new terms that are taking over social media.
The literal meaning of the term 'woke' is a person who is awake.
They've gotten up from the slumber and are now aware and conscious. They are aware! Vigilant! These are the guys who can think for themselves. They can question the crap going on.
If you're seeing all these articles about woke culture, but you haven't the least clue what it means, it's normal!
Have you been questioning societal norms and the existing paradigms that plague your every-days? Are you being vocal about these and refusing to take any shit?
Congrats! You have been 'woke' all this time without even realizing it. The term 'woke' has evolved from being a common adjective to now identifying what a person stands for.
Why would someone be sick of the woke culture?
It's because the term 'woke' is losing its meaning. The term is being sloganised by a cult of social justice.
Rather than confronting bad ideas or race equity culture issues through discussion, debate or protest, woke people aim now to intimidate their detractors into silence.
This coupled with speeches of hate, and forcing their illiberal ideologies on others, is what sums up the woke culture of today.
These people enjoy concocting issues of race equity culture, political correctness, social injustice, racism, and more.
Cancel culture refers to the recent emerging popular practice of withdrawing support. Public figures and companies are 'canceled' after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.
Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.
How is this different from the woke culture?
While the woke culture involves people raising their voice and demanding an answer, the cancel culture involves boycotts.
This public backlash is fueled by politically progressive social media and then goes to 'cancel' the person.
People are made more intolerant by the cancel culture. Those who follow this culture, are quick to judge and banish those who even slightly disagree with them.
Critics say that this does not leave room for constructive discourse. Because social media users often deliver a quick verdict, based on a snap judgment.
This leaves no opportunity for the 'canceled' person to explain themselves and make their case against their own 'cancellation.'
This causes a tug-of-war situation. One group being those trying to make room for discussion between people with opposing viewpoints.
Comedians like Kevin Hart and Shane Gillis, who each faced public backlash after social media users unearthed homophobic and racist jokes they'd made in the past.
However, if it was this easy to end someone's career over social media backlash, several notable figures would find their work down the drain. But, some of those who did face this career crisis, rose from the ashes and made their name once again.
For example, in 2019, Kevin Hart withdrew himself from hosting the Oscars, but his movies and stand-up specials were still successful after the backlash against him died down.
Taylor Swift has been a victim of the effects of this culture. In 2016, Kanye West released his song Famous which had lyrics with references to having sex with Taylor.
However, Kim K posted a video, which claimed to show the opposite. Swift was then targeted by a campaign to 'cancel' her.
"I don't think there are that many people who can actually understand what it's like to have millions of people hate you very loudly.
The row gained a lot of attention across the media and led to hashtags including #TaylorSwiftIsCancelled.
El Jones, an instructor of social justice in Halifax, said
"Cancel culture can be good when it takes somebody powerful off of a pedestal, especially if they have a pattern of harmful behavior and are likely to cause more harm. "
When photos of Ellen DeGeneres with known homophobe George Bush went viral on social media, her fans started calling her out for being a hypocrite.
This was because while being a supporter of gay rights, she was also fraternizing with a former politician who actively advocated for people like DeGeneres not to have civil rights. The social media users called her out.
Is cancel culture or woke culture the new norms?
Whatever the case, if you don't want to be dragged into the controversies of the two, and neither be a silent spectator, here's a thought.
When you see something on social media, which doesn't quite fit your norms, instead of waging a war against it instantly, take a moment to think if it is impacting someone in a hurtful way.
If it is, then yes, go ahead and call out the person. But if it is just someone's personal choices you are criticizing, then it may be time for you to step back and follow the adage of living and let live.
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