Wokeness was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017. Woke was actually a Black movement watchword that originated in the early 20th century as a call for Black people around the world to “wake up” to racial oppression.
The term gained wider usage to describe awareness of the continuing legacy of racial discrimination and systematic oppression. Woke actually meant a person who is typically considered to be sensitive to and aware of racial or social discrimination or injustice.
Wokeness encompasses the need to search for more knowledge, understanding and truth in order to challenge injustice and not just saying the “right thing.” The GOP has exploited the term and changed its meaning into another political ideology that challenges any attempt to make people aware of issues and problems in our society.
Woke is considered to be bipartisan, with each member following its party line. The GOP’s political spectrum’s definition of wokeness refers to the left wing of political progressiveness — those who are staunch social justice advocates and are abreast of contemporary political concerns; the right wing are those who agree with Gov. DeSantis that there are no systemic injustices in the U.S. and that their objective is to be overly politically correct and police others’ words; and the center, which has not been defined.
Barbara Jean Lee, an American politician and social worker from California, states, “We will only succeed if we reject the growing pressure to retreat into cynicism and hopelessness. We have a moral obligation to ‘stay woke,’ take a stand and be active; challenging injustices and racism in our communities and fighting hatred and discrimination wherever it rises.”