Asleep? Awake? …. or just Bored? – Photo: Greville Edwards

– WOKE –

Hey, you don’t have to tell me that those little aluminium capsules from Nespresso are the pits. Or that Donald Trump is a great big blubberous pile of bigotry. Or that football teams with names like the Redskins should be run off the planet.

You don’t have to tell me – because I’m woke.

It’s the new pc, the politically correct way to say politically correct in 2017. And why is I woke? Oops: that doesn’t sound very woke. Well, it’s woke as a contraction of “woke up”, as in “I woke up to everything that is wrong with our society and now I’m going to change it, word by word.” I was sleeping, but then I woke up. I smelt the coffee, and it was from an ethically-sourced supplier, so I drank it.


“Woke” came to the fore with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, and that really grew legs after the shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2013. People weren’t saying “you should be awake to all these dreadful actions and attitudes”. That’s too cumbersome, too proper. The hashtag #StayWoke was used on tweets and other social media as a rallying cry against police brutality and racism. It was one of 2016’s Words of the Year compiled by lexicographers at Oxford. (The word of the year, incidentally, was “post-truth”.) And even more populist, woke also featured on MTV’s Top Teen Slang Words of 2016.


In an equivalent phrase heard on the US podcast On the Media, people who are aware of injustice, racism, anti-animal acts, environmental outrages are also described as “having taken the red pill”.

So now you have woken to the possibilities of being woke. Stay woke.

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