If a person is woke, he or she vigilantly follows world events and recognizes imbalances in the unequal treatment of people – usually based on identity characteristics. In doing so, wokeness is concerned with combating sexism, racism and xenophobia, homophobia, Ableism, anti-Semitism, antiziganism, violence against minorities, classism and much more. This is done by woke people raising their voices – be it on the streets or in social media.
Woke, then, refers to a state of consciousness about the state of the world. Even though the ideals espoused by the wokeness movement are shared by many people, it is also subject to criticism. This is because wokeness entails a number of pitfalls: for example, there is a constant renegotiation of what is acceptable and what is not. Accordingly, there is no fixed canon of behavioral standards to which individuals can orient themselves. This makes wokeness an opaque and amorphous entity that is difficult to grasp. At the same time, the constant shifting, the ever new balancing and questioning of one’s own behaviors, shows ambiguous and discursive characteristics that are to be welcomed, even if they are more difficult to grasp.