The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for November 19th, 2023

“Woke”

At this point, many articles have been written about the term’s origins in Black vernacular; I recall “woke” taking off on Twitter in 2016 after Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay Mckesson was arrested during a protest in Baton Rouge. Mckesson (depicted and quoted in the first panel) famously wore a t-shirt with the #StayWoke hashtag. Within just a few short years, right-wing media and politicians had hijacked the word, which simply meant “awareness of injustice,” and deployed it as a turbocharged (and more racialized) version of “political correctness,” itself a vague insult that sloppily demonized all efforts to address inequality. (Yes, there are always people who take things too far, proposing well-intentioned but silly ideas or engaging in abusive behavior — which the left certainly has no monopoly on — but we can criticize such things without using authoritarian terminology. Always be specific in your criticism!)

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist seen on Daily Kos, The Nib, and in magazines and
newspapers throughout the US. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

 

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