A lot of people are throwing their two cents into the national discussion on what George Floyd's death means to the nation. As part of all the noise, I keep hearing about something called "Woke." I keep hearing a lot of white people saying that white people need to shut up and listen and get Woke. I really don't understand, so I've decided I am going to write this piece as my plea for help in understanding this thing called Woke. And then I'll just shut up and listen, since that is what the Woke people are saying I should to do.
A little about me so maybe the Woke people can better help me. I'm recently retired and did pretty well in the corporate world. One of my bigger stints was with a Fortune 500 company where I worked in a group that had the same number of blacks as it did whites. We were all just regular cube-mates; we talked about the latest stupidity from the group across the floor, sports, restaurants, our kids, you know, just regular stuff. But I think that isn't what we were supposed to be doing if we wanted to be Woke. Plus, the white Woke people say that having a good job is because of white privilege. Given my cube-mates, I didn't think my job was because of white privilege, but I'm just an old white guy that doesn't have a clue about being Woke, so I'm not really sure. I need some help here.
Also, I enjoy friends that don't look like me. I think "don't look like me" is the correct term to use to be Woke. I'm not sure, but I'll go with it anyway. I also have neighbors that don't look like me and go to a church with people on the leadership team, the worship team, and members that don't look like me. Nobody thinks anything about it, and we all enjoy each other's differences, just like Alveda King recently commented. But apparently, Wokeness says we shouldn't be doing this. So, I'm guessing being Woke isn't really a race thing, because it looks like not only am I not Woke, Alveda King, my friends, my neighbors and my church family aren't Woke either. But we're all older, so maybe Woke is some sort of age thing.
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I recently viewed a video by Candace Owens titled "Confession: #GeorgeFloyd is neither a martyr or a hero, but I hope his family gets justice," which is one for the ages. Ms. Owens is a very prominent voice in the black community who promotes conservative thought. She was also shouted out by the president as a rapidly rising star in conservative politics. Every single thing she says in her video made perfect sense to me, but all the white people out there telling me to be Woke are telling me that Ms. Owens is dead wrong about everything and that she ain't Woke. And Joe Biden is out there saying she ain't black since she isn't going to vote for him, and I think Joe Biden is supposed to be Woke.
I think Ms. Owens is still in her 20s; hard to believe someone at her age could have such highly developed thoughts, but I digress.
Back to Wokeness. Now I'm left guessing Woke must not be a thing about age, and it isn't a race or privilege thing either. Can anyone who is Woke clue in this old white guy?
Then I thought maybe Woke was some form of patriotism or something. I saw where Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, came out saying he would never agree with the idea of kneeling for the national anthem because hearing it invokes vivid images of his family members' service to the country. But the white people telling everybody to be Woke lit Brees up like a Roman candle for standing up for the flag and honoring those who serve our country. And my theory that maybe Woke has something to do with some form of patriotism flew right out the window. So, Woke isn't a thing about patriotism, race, age or about privilege.
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But whatever Woke is, apparently it's pretty powerful. Brees apologized twice for his statement and now says he's good with kneeling and he wants to be Woke. But then I do understand pro football, and I understand that a quarterback is going to do whatever he has to do to protect his knees. So, I do get that much. But I still need some serious help in understanding what this whole Woke thing is about.
And speaking of kneeling, all the white people out there telling me I need to be Woke keep telling me I need to be taking a knee to show solidarity with Mr. Floyd. And don't get me wrong, I am totally on board with the country drawing a big red line when it comes to denying anyone, including people with rap sheets like Mr. Floyd's, their due process. All the more so when denying their due process involves killing them.
But I'm really struggling here with the imagery. The Woke people are telling me I need to assume the same position Derek Chauvin used to kill George Floyd? Are you kidding me?!? Maybe it's just me, but I just can't wrap my head around this one.
So, I confess I am 100% clueless on what this whole Woke thing is about. Well, not really, but for the sake of journalistic sarcasm I'll maintain my completely baseless claim of cluelessness. And (cough) this is my plea to the Woke for their help (cough, cough). Can anyone who is Woke explain this whole Woke thing to this clueless old white guy (cough, cough)? I'll sit back and listen now.