Ms. Marvel: being woke isn’t the goal


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

The idea of being “woke” has come up in the past several years, a term that was coined by millennials and older Gen Z individuals via Tumblr and Reddit. Essentially, the word means being politically aware, culturally sensitive, and a supporter of human rights amongst other progressive policies and movements. 

Even politicians use the word woke to try to describe themselves or their constituents, and it has become a staple of internet slang. However, it’s gone past that. Much past that. 

It would appear that in 2021 “woke” has become more than just a descriptor or popular term, rather a lifestyle competition of trying to prove to others how politically aware you are. Being “woke” has devolved into a social media challenge to see who can be the most morally superior, preach about the most number of social issues, and be the most cognizant of every single human rights violation being committed around the world. 

It’s performative, it’s unproductive, and it’s annoying. 

Becoming more politically aware and cognizant of your own internalized prejudices is incredibly important, but becoming anti-racist or forgetting microaggressions shouldn’t be paraded on social media as some self-help project.

Yes, it is important to hold people accountable for their prejudiced actions and misguided beliefs, but it simply isn’t productive to tear people apart for not being “as woke” as you think you are. Stop sharing graphic images of atrocities and guilt-tripping people by chiding them for not re-posting. Stop comparing the plights of BIPOC by saying “if you care about _____ then you should care about this.” 

Endlessly sharing Instagram graphics doesn’t make you a morally superior person, and there is no merit in pretending like doing so makes you better than a person who is not.

The goal shouldn’t be to “be more woke.” The goal should be to unlearn prejudice and work to make a better world for those who come after us. 

Call out racism. Call out homophobia. Call out Xenophobia. Educate yourself and others. 

Don’t berate people for smaller missteps if they provide genuine apologies in the name of “being woke.” It isn’t the activism you think it is.