What Does It Mean To Be ‘Woke?’

By Steven Yates

February  2023

     Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is carrying on his personal war against “wokery” in his state, with nationally publicized efforts against “woke” corporations such as Disney and race-conscious courses in Florida colleges and universities. Thus far DeSantis has weathered the heat, standing up to something that clearly has a great deal of cultural power these days.

   But what does it mean to be “woke?” The governor’s office was recently asked. It’s a fair question.  His general counsel, Ryan Newman, responded. “Woke” is:

   “The belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them…. To me, it means someone who believes that there are systemic injustices in the criminal-justice system, and on that basis, they can decline to fully enforce and uphold the law.”

   Awkwardly expressed, but essentially the right idea. Differential treatment under the law can be justified so that (for example) the book can be thrown at white Jan-6rs while the blacks who rioted following George Floyd’s death can be handled with kid gloves even though the latter were far more violent and did far more actual damage. Black Lives Matter was joined by more than a few white ANTIFA members.

   I ...

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