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Has ‘Being Woke’ Become Toxic?

Has ‘Being Woke’ Become Toxic?



t’s almost impossible not to have heard the word “woke.” At this point, some individuals will give anything not to hear it anymore—for the fact that it’s being abused in recent times. If you know that Gen Z or millennial who is aware of the social and political issues that affect our world, yup, that’s woke right there. The woke culture has indeed been a blessing to our time — a time when everyone has an understanding of the injustices and inequalities that exist in our society and is actively working to fight against them. That’s the woke generation we all signed up for.

If you’re woke, you are aware of societal issues like systemic racism, gender inequality, feminism, and income inequality. You might be an advocate for social justice and use your voice to speak out against these issues. Being woke is not just about being aware of these issues, it also entails taking action where necessary. This could mean anything from volunteering for a social justice organization to using your platform to raise awareness about these issues.

The woke culture toxic twist

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However, the concept of “being woke” has indeed become toxic, primarily due to the extreme and sometimes aggressive ways in which people who are woke interact with others. One of the issues with the woke culture is the extremity, where individuals become so focused on social justice issues that they become intolerant of differing opinions and viewpoints. This can lead to a “cancel culture” mentality, where anyone who expresses an opinion that goes against the woke ideology is immediately criticized and often publicly shamed or canceled.

Another problem with being woke is people may adopt the language and attitudes associated with the movement without actually taking meaningful action to address the issues at hand. This can lead to a sense of smug self-righteousness, where people feel they are superior to others because they are “woke” or socially conscious.

The extreme adoption of woke culture can create a sense of division and tribalism, where people are divided into different groups based on their identities, and some groups are seen as more oppressed than others. This can lead to a lack of empathy and understanding between different groups and can sometimes even create a sense of competition within the movement.

Finally, being woke can often become so focused on identity politics that it ignores broader issues of economic inequality and political power. While issues of race, gender, and sexuality are undoubtedly important, they are not the only issues that need to be addressed if we want to create a just and equitable society.

Although this woke disposition is an important and valuable movement, we should recognize its limitations and potential pitfalls. We must remain open-minded, empathetic, and inclusive in our efforts to create a balanced society.

What are the positive effects of the woke culture?

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  • Increased empathy and understanding: It helps individuals better understand the experiences and perspectives of marginalized groups. This can lead to increased empathy.
  • Activism: This paradigm shift often leads individuals to take action to support social justice causes, such as participating in protests, signing petitions, and donating to organizations that support marginalized communities.
  • Awareness: Being woke can help individuals become more aware of how systemic oppression and discrimination operate in society. This can lead to increased awareness of their own biases and a greater commitment to working towards a more equitable world.
  • Community: The woke culture helps individuals connect with like-minded folks who are committed to social justice causes. The development of strong communities that support each other often springs out of this.
  • Critical thinking: With this new influx of enlightenment, we often question and challenge the status quo. Now, we are analyzing and evaluating information better than before. This is why we seem to be making more informed decisions.
  • Cultural competency: Unlike in times past when everyone was insensitive to the culture of others, woke individuals can become culturally competent. We’re seeing people who can understand and interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. This can be particularly valuable in professional settings, where cross-cultural communication is increasingly important.
  • Improved mental health: This mindset boosts feelings of empowerment. It’s easy to engage in their communities, which can have positive effects on mental health. Additionally, being part of a community of like-minded individuals can provide a sense of belonging and support that can help reduce feelings of isolation and stress.
  • Heightened creativity: The woke culture often challenges people to think outside the box and explore new ideas and perspectives. Hence, people tend to become more creative and innovative in their personal and professional lives.

How to achieve a positive mentality about being woke 

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  • Focus on the positives: No matter how many times extremity has hit the bases of the woke culture, there are lots of positive effects. By focusing on these positive aspects, you tend to develop a healthier attitude towards being woke.
  • Embrace self-care: Always learn to let your hair down and bring a little sunshine into your world. There shouldn’t be an occasion before you pamper yourself. Self-care can simply be taking breaks when needed to avoid burnout or feeling overwhelmed. This can also include activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature.
  • Practice self-compassion: This is a form of self-care but deserves a spotlight of its own. Remember we all have biases and blind spots, and it’s okay to make mistakes or not be a walking encyclopedia. Self-compassion can help you approach these issues with a growth mindset and learn from your experiences.
  • Limit cancel culture: This refers to the practice of publicly shaming or ostracizing individuals who express problematic views or behaviors. This can be a toxic aspect of the woke culture, as it can lead to a culture of fear and division. Instead, focus on engaging in constructive dialogue and working towards positive change.
  • Seek out diverse perspectives: Being on the woke side of life involves a commitment to understanding and promoting social justice for all individuals, regardless of their background. This means actively seeking out diverse perspectives and engaging with individuals from different communities. This can help you develop a nuanced and inclusive understanding of social justice issues.

There’s no going back to being ignorant of social, mental, and political matters—being woke is here to stay. Like many movements, there will always be people who veer toward extremism. By adopting a positive mentality towards this stance, you will promote mental well-being and continue to effect positive changes in society.

Featured image: salim hanzaz/iStock

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