Woke Up Call

April 10th, 2023

Happy Monday, y’all.

I haven’t been posting much this month and I can’t throw a dart on a board to pinpoint why; it’s a whole set of concentric circles, from all the work I’m doing, the day kind and the creative kind, to obsessively watching and reading Star Wars to maintain my emotional and mental health in a world that doesn’t always feel like it considers either.

I was also avoiding today’s topic.

I’m going to be talking about the term “woke.”

This isn’t (or maybe it is!) going to be fun. Everybody has a different definition of the word, which means it doesn’t really mean anything at all. But the original definition informs my book, Us, and that’s what brings us all here today.

Let’s start with that original definition: being woke is to be “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”

That’s it. It’s very simple. Being woke means being able to recognize how our systems oppress the humans who operate within them — it’s about us, basically, and how we imprison ourselves, and being able to identify the bars.

You can be woke about anything. Do you think the pharmaceutical companies are making money off our suffering? You’re woke. Do you think the chemicals used in our processed foods are killing us? You’re woke. Do you think politicians are less than honest and base their decisions on personal and party gain? Go home, you’re woke.

Waking up and not accepting the systems of the world as they’re explained to us without exception is woke af.

Raise your hand if you’re not.

Moving on.

Being woke means having to face (or not face) your own hypocrisy, and that is very hard for people to do, and it is the core of what Us is about.

In the book, I reveal where the aliens really came from, and it completely changes and challenges the notion of an invasion altogether.

Woke is often thought to be a principle that lives in the future: where society should go and how we can be better. But woke depends just as much on the past: our history can show us so much, and by learning it (and learning from it), we can be aware of mistakes, misery and tragedy, and avoid them altogether.

The next time a person uses the term “woke,” ask them to define it. We have hilariously seen this play out lately in different arenas (see: an author who dedicated an entire chapter of her book on “wokeism” was asked to define the word; she then spent an excruciating 45 seconds saying nothing at all, acknowledging out loud that her response was going to go viral, which it did).

Often, “woke” is a stand-in for something really uncomfortable or just awful to say.

“Woke” can mean “I’m not comfortable with diversity or stories that are not about me.” It can mean “I don’t have any smart reasons to defend this thing I’m saying, so I’m relying on a buzzword to bully others.”

We keep asking for a world where reasonable discourse — you know, talking to each other in a respectful, honest way — is how we communicate in our daily lives and enrich and strengthen our communities.

Until we stop using single words that have infinite definitions and do so with the intent to hurt and divide, that just won’t ever be an option.


Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

One thought on “Woke Up Call

  1. To me it is extremely sad that this, “”to be “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)”” has become a four-letter word that heaps shame on those who care!!! AMEN-I’m off my pulpit! Thanks for the sage words.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone Get Outlook for Androidhttps://aka.ms/AAb9ysg ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

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