I’m a Woke Bloke
16 June 2022 Hits:1888
Woke is a word that has enjoyed a revival in recent times, along with a significant change of meaning. It’s a word I’ve used for years to mean the progression of arising from sleep, as in, “I woke up.” But these days, it’s become an insult that is particularly popular with conservatives, including conservative Christians. So, let’s explore the meaning of woke and find out if I really am a woke bloke.
How it started
Woke was first used by Blues singer Lead Belly in 1938. Lead Belly’s “stay woke” encouraged black people to be vigilant to physical danger. The word was then adopted into Black slang from the 1940s onwards.
The expression “stay woke” became popular on Twitter about a decade ago as a hashtag encouraging people to stand up for those on the margins of society, especially the victims of systemic racism. Woke was also adopted by white people who wanted to stand with their black brothers and sisters in their fight for justice.
Woke gets hijacked
But at the same time, woke was being co-opted by other white people as a derogatory replacement for political correctness. And that’s the way woke is mainly used and understood nowadays. I’ve had this sneer thrown at me a few times when I’ve stood up for marginalised people.
When I speak out for refugees or the LGBTIQA+ community (or any other victims of discrimination), I’m woke.
When I wrote blogs to counter some bizarre conspiracies at the height of the recent pandemic, I was denounced as woke. One Christian leader dubbed me “that woke pastor from Melbourne.” The word has become a condescending insult to dismiss anyone perceived as being a politically correct lefty.
But I like Merriam-Webster’s definition the best, that woke people are “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” That meaning describes my worldview and how I live and should define any genuine Jesus follower. So yes, I truly am a woke bloke!