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  #1  
Old 08-19-2020, 07:00 PM
Sen's Revenge Sen's Revenge is offline
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"Woke"

This has been on my mind for some months now, and I haven't really figured out the most effective way to convey what I need to say. So I hope I am granted some grace if what I am saying is clunky or not clear.

I've noticed on GC the use of the word "woke" to essentialy describe a particular kind of white ally of movements of racial justice.

First, I want to provide a commonly accepted definition of the word "woke" prior to this moment:

"...political term of African American origin, refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice."

There are specific songs, plays, works of art, etc, which use this word--all black art.

When I hear "woke" as a black man, I think of the black experience--my black experience--and my awakening, be it the deepening of my awareness of racial injustice and systemic racism, or my awarness of the issues facing black women or black transwomen.

Seeing the word "woke" used to describe the white people in your organizations that you disagree with... that feels really uncomfortable for me. 10 percent of that is that you're using a word from the African American tradition and you are not African American. 90 percent of that is that you're using a word from the African American tradition and turning it into a slur.

Listen, if there are white people in your organizations calling themselves "woke," they should not be. It grates my ears as much as it does yours. But to take it to the next level and call those people "woke" or even "fake woke" sounds, to me, a black person, like something I hope you're not intending.

Because what I am hearing when you type that is, at best "I am not open to learning about a point of view which differs from mine because I am holding onto my beliefs at all costs." And at worst, honestly? I am hearing you say "N***** lover."

Most of you reading this will not care. Some of you will be offended that I told you how I receive the words that you say. It is what it is. At least I've said it.

But know that because this is how you've decided to show up on GC, this is why I'm averse to participating in a Zoom call with you to celebrate GC's anniversary.
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2020, 07:23 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen's Revenge View Post
This has been on my mind for some months now, and I haven't really figured out the most effective way to convey what I need to say. So I hope I am granted some grace if what I am saying is clunky or not clear.

I've noticed on GC the use of the word "woke" to essentialy describe a particular kind of white ally of movements of racial justice.

First, I want to provide a commonly accepted definition of the word "woke" prior to this moment:

"...political term of African American origin, refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice."

There are specific songs, plays, works of art, etc, which use this word--all black art.

When I hear "woke" as a black man, I think of the black experience--my black experience--and my awakening, be it the deepening of my awareness of racial injustice and systemic racism, or my awarness of the issues facing black women or black transwomen.

Seeing the word "woke" used to describe the white people in your organizations that you disagree with... that feels really uncomfortable for me. 10 percent of that is that you're using a word from the African American tradition and you are not African American. 90 percent of that is that you're using a word from the African American tradition and turning it into a slur.

Listen, if there are white people in your organizations calling themselves "woke," they should not be. It grates my ears as much as it does yours. But to take it to the next level and call those people "woke" or even "fake woke" sounds, to me, a black person, like something I hope you're not intending.

Because what I am hearing when you type that is, at best "I am not open to learning about a point of view which differs from mine because I am holding onto my beliefs at all costs." And at worst, honestly? I am hearing you say "N***** lover."

Most of you reading this will not care. Some of you will be offended that I told you how I receive the words that you say. It is what it is. At least I've said it.

But know that because this is how you've decided to show up on GC, this is why I'm averse to participating in a Zoom call with you to celebrate GC's anniversary.
I'm white, and even I was uncomfortable with how it's been used here over the past couple months - it's certainly made me cringe on more than one occasion. But I also didn't know if my feelings were valid or if it was my place to call others out on it, because perhaps I was ignorant to the word's true meaning and history. Clearly I was.

Thank you for the lesson and for speaking how you feel. Of course those feelings are valid and should be listened to and learned from by all of us.
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2020, 07:32 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Thanks for sharing your perspective.
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2020, 08:09 PM
GreatGnat GreatGnat is offline
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Very well said! I am not African American myself, but I share your discomfort with the way the word "woke" has been used inappropriately here and the way some people want to make a fuss over why NPC organizations have to make changes that NPHC groups do not. If only people would more deeply reflect on their organization's histories and realize the long history of discriminatory policies and practice which were often the impetus for the creation of many multicultural organizations.

I am a POC and an immigrant, and when I pledged an NPC organization in the mid 2010s along with my pledge class full of diverse women, I knew that there would be alumnae of our sorority who would be opposed to our membership. It is extremely disheartening to see certain members of GC voice their displeasure at measures being taken to improve the NPC experience for all its members and future members, and has really validated all my insecurities about my membership.
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  #5  
Old 08-19-2020, 08:12 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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I know I did this today, Sen. I didnít realize it was this hurtful to you, and Iím sorry. Iíll edit my post and I wonít do it again.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2020, 12:33 AM
TXDG TXDG is offline
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Thank you for your post and your bravery. This white woman agrees with you: the use of “woke” on this forum (and especially by one particular poster, not you 33girl) is intended as a slur. As a mockery of white allies standing up for the black community. And as something that certain middle aged white sorority women most definitely don’t want permeating their sisterhoods. It’s disgusting and I agree at the very core, it’s racist.

No BLM supporting, equality pursuing sorority women are calling themselves “woke”, that’s for sure.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2020, 01:54 AM
robinseggblue robinseggblue is offline
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Thank you for sharing your perspective and the effort and time you took to write this post, Sen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TXDG View Post
Thank you for your post and your bravery. This white woman agrees with you: the use of ďwokeĒ on this forum (and especially by one particular poster, not you 33girl) is intended as a slur. As a mockery of white allies standing up for the black community. And as something that certain middle aged white sorority women most definitely donít want permeating their sisterhoods. Itís disgusting and I agree at the very core, itís racist.
I have noticed the same thing and I agree with you.

I donít mean to derail the thread, but I have to admit I have heard about things that caused me trepidation about posting different views on this forum. People who have spoken up have not just been mocked, but also completely silenced.
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2020, 09:38 AM
andthen andthen is offline
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Thank you Sen, you do have a good way of explaining things and also sharing your point of view in an honest and genuine way that sometimes can't always be conveyed via a screen.

I starting hearing the term being bandied about but never clearly understood the background/origins of it. I was never keen on using the word myself as a Latinx just because honestly its just isn't a term I use especially in this current era of social justice awareness.

I think there is a good takeaway that even though a word might be sort of be on trend in a way it is a good idea to really understand the context and the background.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2020, 09:47 AM
jwright25 jwright25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen's Revenge View Post
Most of you reading this will not care. Some of you will be offended that I told you how I receive the words that you say. It is what it is. At least I've said it.
I cannot thank you enough for your words, and I appreciate the very thoughtful way you presented the commentary. I have used the word "woke" (not on GC but in conversation, and never as a pejorative) to describe white people, as I was ignorant of its etymology. I am happy to have learned something new today that will change the way I speak/write in the future.
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2020, 07:34 PM
navane navane is offline
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Thank you for having the courage to speak up and sharing your message with us.
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  #11  
Old 08-23-2020, 09:31 AM
Sen's Revenge Sen's Revenge is offline
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Thanks everybody, and thanks for reading.
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  #12  
Old 08-23-2020, 05:28 PM
lake lake is offline
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The horse is out of the gate regarding the word "woke" used in ways you disagree with. Regardless of its origins, itís becoming a term used by many people.

The OP mentioned the word is used in songs, plays, and works of art - and emphasized black art. Although it wasnít explicitly stated, I got the impression the subject of ďcultural appropriationĒ was being approached or implied. I also got the impression that maybe I (and other non-black people) were being subtly told we canít use the word because of the color of our skin or our heritage.

Cultures and language evolve over time and influence one another. Cultures have been borrowing from one another (and their languages) since the beginning of all of us. It would be arrogant for any group to claim ďappropriationĒ because groups canít exert ownership over words, things or trends. To claim cultural appropriation is to claim your group is above the mixing and influence happening when cultures meet. And that is insulting to those outside of your culture.

Someone using a word from the African American tradition and them not being African American is allowed in a free society. Perhaps it is becoming somewhat of a slur, but again, once itís out there no one can possibly control how itís used. I bristle at disparaging terms used to describe me and others like me just because we have different (not better or worse) beliefs.

If there are white people in organizations calling themselves ďwokeĒ, they CAN (even if you donít think they should). Even if it grates my ears as much as it does yours (and it does). Being uncomfortable and annoyed sometimes is the price people pay to live in a free society. And unrestricted speech is allowed in a free society. And I am willing to die on this hill.

Calling people "woke" or even "fake woke" is probably not what youíre thinking, or what the other person is intending. It probably comes from a sense of annoyance, not racial hatred. Feeling constantly disrespected because we hold different (not necessarily better or worse) values and beliefs. Think micro-aggression.

Some may be offended that I disagree that certain people canít use certain words because of the color of their skin or their heritage. To me, this says, at best, "I am not open to learning about a point of view which differs from mine because I am holding onto my beliefs at all costs." And at worst, honestly? I am hearing you say "RACIST".

As the OP said, most of you reading this will not care. Some of you will be offended that I told you how I receive the words that you say. It is what it is. At least I've said it.
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  #13  
Old 08-23-2020, 06:55 PM
What? What? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lake View Post
The horse is out of the gate regarding the word "woke" used in ways you disagree with. Regardless of its origins, itís becoming a term used by many people.

The OP mentioned the word is used in songs, plays, and works of art - and emphasized black art. Although it wasnít explicitly stated, I got the impression the subject of ďcultural appropriationĒ was being approached or implied. I also got the impression that maybe I (and other non-black people) were being subtly told we canít use the word because of the color of our skin or our heritage.

Cultures and language evolve over time and influence one another. Cultures have been borrowing from one another (and their languages) since the beginning of all of us. It would be arrogant for any group to claim ďappropriationĒ because groups canít exert ownership over words, things or trends. To claim cultural appropriation is to claim your group is above the mixing and influence happening when cultures meet. And that is insulting to those outside of your culture.

Someone using a word from the African American tradition and them not being African American is allowed in a free society. Perhaps it is becoming somewhat of a slur, but again, once itís out there no one can possibly control how itís used. I bristle at disparaging terms used to describe me and others like me just because we have different (not better or worse) beliefs.

If there are white people in organizations calling themselves ďwokeĒ, they CAN (even if you donít think they should). Even if it grates my ears as much as it does yours (and it does). Being uncomfortable and annoyed sometimes is the price people pay to live in a free society. And unrestricted speech is allowed in a free society. And I am willing to die on this hill.

Calling people "woke" or even "fake woke" is probably not what youíre thinking, or what the other person is intending. It probably comes from a sense of annoyance, not racial hatred. Feeling constantly disrespected because we hold different (not necessarily better or worse) values and beliefs. Think micro-aggression.

Some may be offended that I disagree that certain people canít use certain words because of the color of their skin or their heritage. To me, this says, at best, "I am not open to learning about a point of view which differs from mine because I am holding onto my beliefs at all costs." And at worst, honestly? I am hearing you say "RACIST".

As the OP said, most of you reading this will not care. Some of you will be offended that I told you how I receive the words that you say. It is what it is. At least I've said it.
Sorry if it have screwed up the quote, but I could not agree more. The question becomes to you want a melting pot or a stew? I personally prefer the melting pot.
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2020, 12:19 AM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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You absolutely have a right to feel however you want or say whatever you want.

The word “woke” is positive in our culture. It’s about awakening. It’s about learning more about our culture, race, barriers, history and injustices. It’s what drives us to fight for equity and to help others to do the same.

In quite a few posts, “woke” has been used to describe sorority members who seem to want to see the equities and diversity in their organizations, except it’s a negative connotation. Additionally, some of the visual aids provided have shown people who have little to no desire to see equity for people like me in this country. That’s disappointing to me.

I come here because I enjoy learning more about my sister and brother greeks. Many of you have helped me be able to connect with students better and even some of my alumni colleagues. I’ve had some great conversations in the DM’s and compared ideas. It’s a commonality that we share. But it’s disappointing to read comments where “gangs,” are randomly mentioned, had people make comments alluding Black people being a monolithic group or where “wokeness” has been co-opted and used in a negative light. It’s simply not being used correctly and the way it was used was offensive. What’s more disappointing is why I attempt to discuss my feelings, thoughts or experiences from the perspective of a Black woman in conversations of race and diversity, I am often ignored and the conversation is instead centered in non-Black experiences or “I have a Black friend/coworker/neighbor” experiences.

Again, I can’t tell you how to feel or what to say. I can’t tell you what to do with your rituals or how to run your organizations. I try my best to give insight and perspectives in conversations because I know there are very few of us who are here or participating. And no, I don’t speak for all of us, but if I can bring clarity I certainly try.

In regards to a melting pot, it’s fine to find commonalities in people, but not when you ignore differences or histories. There are things that began in Black cultures and were adapted by other cultures, only to be used without any understanding of the histories behind it, and a prime example is the word “woke” that has been used on GC. There is nothing wrong with appreciating other cultures, but just like tik tok dances, badly researched articles, cornrows, hip hop and other music forms, many aspects of fashion, slang, NPHC Greek life and numerous other examples, it’s frustrating to see people use things without acknowledging, learning or even caring about the actual people who created it. Color blindness means not acknowledging some of the most important aspects of who I am and my history.

I don’t know any of you personally and I try my best not to judge, but I’ve certainly seen some comments that don’t always make me feel welcomed on GC.
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Last edited by PersistentDST; 08-24-2020 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 08-24-2020, 12:19 AM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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*Duplicate post*
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Last edited by PersistentDST; 08-24-2020 at 12:27 AM.
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