“Why in the world would you put ‘woke’ in your business name?” I’ve been asked.
It’s a legitimate question, especially as political conservatives have used it as a pejorative term for anything race-related that challenges the status quo.
But from the day I purchased the domain name, this is the definition of “woke” that I had in mind: To be WOKE is to be “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.” This was the definition of woke that I had always known. Even when the true definition of woke is obscured, I know when people see or hear “Woke Homeschooling,” there are no questions about what we’re about and the resources we provide.
In my mind, people who get it, get it. And I know you get it because you’re here. You are a part of the group of people that I wanted to attract to this community of committed, conscious homeschoolers.
It really is unfortunate that “woke” has come to have negative connotations, especially when the alternative to being alert and awake is being sluggish and asleep. That’s precisely what we don’t want for our kids!
Like me, you want your children engaged in the truth. It’s such a gift that we have the power to point out to the next generation how they can do better – for humanity and for the planet.
The status quo is harming all of us.
In 2022, let’s not hit snooze on important conversations. I hope you discover new reasons to wake up in the morning and homeschool with both eyes open! When we acknowledge the past, we can learn from it.
I’m so glad to know there are other parents with me unafraid to look back at hard history, eyes wide open.
Cheering you on,
P.S. I’m curious to hear from you-how do you respond when people screw their face up at the word “woke”?
8 thoughts on “WOKE is not a 4-letter word”
I explain that it’s about being conscious of one’s actions and words, and how those things affect, and even harm, other people. That so much of society said and did things without much thought to how it would make others feel, or how damaging it could be. But over time more and more of us have been listening to marginalized communities and people from other races and cultures, and we are more aware of the consequences of our actions, and being “woke” is making a conscious effort to do better. To be inclusive. I quote Dolly Parton from when she was asked why she changed the name of one of her entities that she didn’t realize had a negative and harmful connotation for Black people. She said, “It was harmful to some people. Why wouldn’t I chose to remove something that is harmful to others? When you know your actions are hurting someone, even unintentionally, you do something about it.” I am a Disney fan and someone in a Disney online group said Disney is getting “too woke” and then said “go woke, go broke.” I had quite the exchange with them. Ultimately there was no way for me to actually get through to them, because their opinion was that representation in movies for kids ISN’T necessary, that no one just deserves a seat at the table, that it has to be earned. I was like “we are talking about children…what on earth do you think children need to be doing to ‘earn’ seeing characters like them?!” But I will always keep speaking up, even when it’s clear that person is a close-minded lost cause. The other thing that drives me nuts is the conservative right’s whole campaign about “cancel culture.” I keep telling people who rant about that that they’re confusing those trigger words with “consequences.” That maybe there are some people who are too quick to judge and /or cut someone out of their lives, but that most people who are complaining about cancel culture are people who used to get away with saying racist, homophobic, hateful and intolerant things. But now more people are putting their foot down and saying “enough.” More people are telling relatives and friends that if they aren’t going to stop with the prejudiced language and actions, then they don’t have a place in their lives at that time. Mental Health experts have come out and advocated how important cutting out toxic people can be for one’s mental health, and the prejudiced people are not happy that it means them in most cases. They don’t like being told it’s not okay to say certain things. Basically they don’t like that now there are consequences to their words and actions. They want to cry over the fact that the racist status quo is being upset. To me it goes hand in hand with their war on the word “woke.”
I really appreciate both your and Delina’s thoughts. Thank you for helping me find coherent, confident responses to use myself.
Re: cancel culture. I just roll my eyes when conservatives rant about cancel culture. I grew up in a white, Southern, conservative, Christian home and environment and that demographic basically invented cancel culture. I guess they’ve all forgotten how we had to boycott Proctor & Gamble in the 80s bc the CEO had “sold his soul to the devil.” I was a child at the time, so I don’t recall exactly what it was that he’d done, but I definitely remember that phrase and that we were not to buy P&G products. Also, what on earth is “go woke, go broke” if not cancel culture?
This is a great response. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for your post. I have been shocked at how quickly a positive word was hijacked and manipulated into a silencing mechanism. Thank you for your resources. May the work you do richly bless children and parents across the nation. What one generation fails to share the next generation will not know. We owe it to ourselves and to our kids to be truth tellers. Thank you for your work.
I really hate hearing “woke” in the news because it’s always used in a derogatory or condescending way. It’s the epitome of turning something good into a joke to delegitimize it.
Cheering you on also. Way to not let people take a good word for a good thing from you. I will continue to stand proud and keep using the name, despite what people may think. But I agree, that those who get it, get it, and those that don’t, we’ll… they can see me still standing proud to seek after being woke!
I go back and forth, but, if I have the emotional bandwidth to engage and also especially if I think there’s a sliver of possibility that the person might actually be open to learning, then I would usually start with asking questions like “hmmm, I’m looking at your face and it feels like you dislike this. Would you mind helping me understand what’s provoking this reaction?”
For me, the only thing I don’t like about “woke” is that it’s kind of a binary. You’re either “woke” or “sleep,” when, in reality we are all blind to something. And even, say if we’re talking exclusively about racial injustice, there are so many layers to it that it’s more like a continuum of “wokeness” and we all lie somewhere on it. As a white person, though, I don’t think it would really ever be appropriate for me to claim to be “woke” wrt race. I’ll always be in a learning state no matter how far I progress on the continuum. Honestly, though, even if we were talking about sexism, I still think I’d always be in a learning state even though I’m a woman.
That said, what I do love about it and the way that you’re using it specifically is that it’s a quick, easy shorthand that lets me know right away that I’ve found what I’m looking for wrt curriculum. As homeschoolers we spend sooooooo much time vetting curricula and planning and all of this. (At least I do. I’m only 2 years in. Maybe this gets easier?) So to not have to dig in to various curricula, or, worse, buy them and be working through them with my children and hitting up against things like, well….let’s add some context here. Oh, again, let’s stop and think critically about what this author just said. Just seeing woke homeschooling tells me I’m not going to have to do that and that is a huge relief.