To be woke or not to be woke, that is the question

Thinking about things “woke.” It certainly has nothing to do with rising from a good night’s sleep.

Definitions of the word are, at best, unclear. Wikipedia says it derives from African-American English meaning “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination.”  More loosely, it means someone who is open-minded and goes with the flow of political correctness.

We have the artfully named  ‘wokerati’ and the pejorative twang of the wokists and woke brigade. All of them are proponents of human rights, gay rights, democratic rights and therefore, generally speaking, leftist ideals.
But how can it be maintained? Woke only goes so far and gets bogged down in hypocrisy when it comes to the rights and wrongs of the Ukraine war, the political desires of the Palestinians and conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
It is right for NATO allies to supply weapons – and now fighter jets – to Ukraine. Yes/No. It inflames violence and escalates death. Or does it help the Ukrainians assert their rightful nationhood?
Russia is wrong to have invaded, yet it is permissible to say Putin stands against Western corporate agendas – the military-industrial complex of exploitative neo-imperialist capitalism.
It was morally alright to kill Saddam Hussein and pull down his statues. It was right to chase down Ghadaffi into a drain. Cruel, crazed dictators they were but look at their chaotic blood-soaked countries now.
It is right to accept tidal waves of refugees? See what I mean. Woke is a minefield.
The pendulum is swinging to the right everywhere. Italy’s new rightist prime minister has been described as “not a Mussolini, more a Trump.”  At least she’s better looking than both of them.
To say that, though, is sexist and mysogynistic. There’s a new word in America using the suffix borrowed from French: misogynoir, or racism and sexism against black women. Heaven forbid, Italy’s PM Giorgia Meloni is blonde, busty and definitely not black. But this is reverse mysoginy – mysogyblanc, perhaps. 
Poland  has decided to hand over MiG29 fighter jets to Ukraine, the first Western ally to offer warplanes. Four of the Soviet-made fighters will go to Zelenski this month.
Polish President Andrzeg Duda says “about a dozen” are on offer. The Polish word he used, according to the news reports, can mean anything between 11 and 19 fighter jets. All language can be obtuse when necessary.
Warplanes kill people while defending other people from their butchering aggressors. Being woke is surely confusing enough already.

1 Comment

  1. Bruce on March 18, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Yep, I am chronically uncertain. Call me awake to ambiguity and irony. One note, though: The political pendulum in Latin America seems to be trending more lefty than righty. Brazil, Chile, Mexico, for example.

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