Black and Un-‘Woke’

Conservative talking points are no more convincing when — surprise! — the person peddling them isn’t White.

Jeremy Helligar
5 min readSep 10, 2021
2021 California gubernatorial recall election hopeful Larry Elder (Photo: flickr/Gage Skidmore)

I came a little late to the idea that to be socially aware is to be woke. I never even heard the past-tense verb used as an adjective until a few years ago while I was watching TV. A character on the New York City-set Younger — Kelsey, a successful twentysomething publisher played by Hilary Duff — dropped it as a millennial badge of honor worn by people, presumably like her, on the right side of progressivism.

I immediately detested everything about this strange new (to me) buzzword. First of all, it was ungrammatical, which, to me, was grounds for dismissal. Second, it was so easy to ridicule. I knew it wouldn’t be long until the un-woke started using it as a weapon.

Woke is basically the new “politically correct” — something it has become less fashionable to be than not to be. At some point, someone probably, um, woke up and realized that political correctness rarely actually has anything to do with politics. (Many of the folks rallying against racism and fighting homophobia probably couldn’t name the current U.S. Secretary of State.) Meanwhile, woke is compact enough to fit into pretty much any insult right wingers can hurl at liberals. It practically makes fun of itself. Like…

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Jeremy Helligar

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa” https://rb.gy/3mthoj