“Woke” And “Wokeness” Are The New Buggerbears Of Prejudice And Bigotry

I’ve often thought that very vocal racists and bigots are really the most genuine people. Why? Because they tell you everything you need to know about them. Someone like white supremacist David Duke or far-right politian Pat Buchanan are the type of people who are probably the same in public as they are around friends and family behind closed doors. They’re very detestable people, but at least they’re not putting on a facade.

Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace who was also a Presidential candidate before being injured in an assassination attempt in 1972 may have not been the true racist he portrayed himself to be. Some people say he did it for politics, knowing that if he said, “Segregation now, segregaton tomorrow, segregation forever” it would garner him more support in Alabama during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement.

But politicians will tell you anything you want to hear to get you to support them. That’s what made Trump so popular. He has no censor. He called for the Central Park Five to be executed and never apologized when they were exonerated. He questioned President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and became the face of the Birthers before he became more popular in 2015. The problem is times change. It’s been almost 15 years this November since Obama was elected President.

During the 2008 campaign, the Republican Party came out full blast criticizing Obama based solely on his skin color and name. It seemed that you weren’t criticizing his skin color or name, but criticizing the fact that he wasn’t a Christian. Even though he is. Not that it should matter. It had been seven years since 9/11 and the Taliban and al-Qaeda had become the new bad guy to all the Reaganites who had been aching for a popular badguy since the fall of the Soviet Union since the early 1990s.

Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers grew up in a world where there was a Cold War ongoing. There was threat of a nuclear apocolypse. It became a constant threat in the back of our minds and one day President George H.W. Bush vomits in front of Japan Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and suddently it was a whole new world. The K-Mart John Wayne that Ronald Reagan tried to present himself was gone. The stink of the Iran-Contra Affair still loomed over Washington, D.C. and people were tired of the Reagan/Bush Adminstration, the first administration since FDR to last 12 years. Let’s face it, the elder Bush was just continuing Reagan’s legacy.

A new phrase “political correctness” appeared. This phrase and its derivative “political correct” was thrown around so much over the next three decades, you think the Republican Party or some conservative think tank had patent it and was passing our royalties and residuals everytime it was said, printed, published or broadcast. Bill Maher made the title of his show Politically Incorrect. By the beginning of the 2010s, PC as it was just called was becoming more and more a boogeyman of those on the right or center right.

Following the release of Tropic Thunder and the controversy in 2008, you couldn’t say the word “retarded.” It became the R-word. There now were two F-words you couldn’t say. And Isiah Washington, the actor who had been on Grey’s Anatomy, was accused of calling another actor the other F-word. Like most offensive slur, faggot originally had a basic unoffensive meaning for a bundle of sticks. I think I know why it was chose. And retard meant a hold back in progression. Yet, these words directed at people came slurs.

It seemed that people were tired that they couldn’t say these phrases to people. Eddie Murphy came out and apologized for jokes made toward gay men in Delirious and Raw where he used the F-word. It was commonplace in PG and PG-13 movies, but now, I think it wouldn’t be used slightly. Rob Cordry played a Fred Phelps-like pastor in I Know Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and was corrected by Adam Sandler on the proper word usage. And just a reminder that Sandler is a registered Republican.

The Presidency of Obama definitely had something to do with it as people were seeing a President who was half-black who had become popular with younger voters and proved to be a successful leader. His marriage to Michelle helped dispel a myth that black men can’t be husbands and fathers. As Trump came out in the 2015-2016 election cycle, it seemed that people could comment more about Hispanics/Latinos and even black people for decades.

The sad part is they knew they couldn’t keep dragging PC through their behaviors, so as the 2010s ended and the 2020s began, they created a new term – “wokeness” or just simply “woke.” Younger people were more accepting of the LGBTQIA community following the 2015 Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal in all states. Transgender people became more popular, not just in porn, but in the public.

But “woke” and “wokeness” became the words that everyone could use to voice their displeasure with anything they didn’t like or agree with. Don’t like gay people, blame “wokeness.” Don’t like black people or brown-skinned people, blame “wokeness.” Don’t like non-Christians such as Muslims, Jewish people, Sikhs, Hindus, atheists/agnostics, etc., blame “wokeness.”

They could blame “wokeness” for the push back against toxic masculinity and rape culture. For God’s sake, they used “wokeness” to blame it on recent mass shootings. Conservative legislators and politicians could use “wokeness” as a way to get bills or resolutions passed. They could ban books they didn’t like or even the teaching of CRT (critical race theory) in public education, even though it’s not taught, nor has it ever been taught. It didn’t matter.

Columbus Day is shunned and now is Indigenous Day in some areas. Damn you, wokeness! Ironically, Christopher Columbus was hoisted up in the early 20th Century as there was criticism of Italian-Americans. The same thing about against Irish immigrants. People even when said John F. Kennedy was elected President, he was going to make the Pope part of his cabinet.

People have been pushing back against any change they are used to for years. The biggest problem now may be it’s harder to do in the digital information age. Banned books are growing in popularity. The Missouri State Republicans are trying to defund all libraries in the state as part of a strong-arm tactics as the Missouri Association of School Librarians and the Missouri Library Association as some Missouri politicians are wanting to remove certain books.

The latest and probably most asinine “battle over wokeness” is Bud Light using Dylan Mulvaney as a spokeperson. Mulvaney is a transgender woman who has been getting a lot of attention as she has transition from a cisgendered male to a transgender woman. I see no problem with this. I don’t drink beer much anymore and when I do, I prefer Coors Light or Corona. I have drunk Bud Light in years. I can’t even tell you the last time.

But so many conservatives went batshit crazy over it. Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, and grew up in an affluent household, went online firing what appeared to be an AR-15 at cases of Bud Light he had purchased. Ritchie, who was originally a failed musician before he reinvented himself as a redneck Nu-Metal singer has become the Ted Nugent of Gen Xers. He’s upset over the portrayal of Mulvaney, even though he has been around drag queens in the past.

Travis Tritt, who hasn’t been relevant since the 1990s, came out against Bud Light too. And so did many other people who were angry at Coors, Jack Daniels, and so many other companies who using the LGBTQIA community in their promotions. I mean, the less they drink the better for everyone, especially if they have easy access to firearms. But what should it matter? This is the result of a free-market capitalism in which corporations can use whoever they want to pitch their brands.

Hell, Reagan himself was one of the first celebrities who prostituted himself as a spokeperson. Bill Cosby, the one black man accused of sexually assaulting white women who garnered support from the right, pitched Jell-O and Coca-Cola products as well as Del Monte and other items. The best part is you don’t have to buy Bud Light, Coors, Jack Daniels, etc. But reportedly, Anheuser Busch and Coors have reportedly better sales. This is what happens when someone says something bad against Chick-fil-A, their beacon of Christian morality.

I know it’s hard to realize the world is changing too quickly for us. Everyone has had that moment where they see the high school and/or college they graduated from is doing things differently. But most of these people had their commencement ceremonies decades ago and still lingering around like a 20-something always wanting to attend parties. Stop blaming “wokeness” for your own prejudices, sexism and bigotry.

I think some people are doing it for attention. Kid Rock’s heydays are over, which really bothers him. It’s the same for Tritt. I beg to differ they really are so adamant against a product that promotes diversity. They’re doing it for attention, because country-western music and Nu-Metal appeals to a certain section of our society that probably double-checks their car doors are locked when they see a bunch of black or Latino people walking nearby. You pass by same-sex couples or transgender people all the time and it’s likely you’ll never see them again, but just for a few seconds, you’re in the same vicinity. We have to coexist.

This is why the Karens and Todds out there have to make a big deal about it. It started with the mask mandates during Covid and now “wokeness” is their latest issue to use to criticize people they don’t agree with. And the irony is, they would never associate with these people except in a place like Target, Costco or a school. And while I’m sure most educators harbor their own prejudice and bigotry, they’re sly enough to keep silent because they can lose their jobs.

But they can blame “wokeness” on it. They’re not stupid like Georgia athletic coach Mark Taylor who recorded himself criticizing Atlanta for not having enough white people and then talking about lynching. He even uploaded it online thinking he was doing something great. This isn’t something someone recorded him saying. Taylor, who is a convicted felon, thought he was being bold and wise by doing this.

I don’t know. Maybe “wokeness” is another euphemism for ignorance. Because that’s what most prejudice, bigotry and racism is rooted in – ignorance.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: