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Woke is an adjective derived from African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), meaning "alert to racial prejudice and discrimination.” Beginning in the 2010s, it came to encompass a broader awareness of social inequalities such as racial injustice, sexism, and denial of LGBT rights. Woke has also been used as shorthand for some ideas of the American Left involving identity politics and social justice, such as white privilege and reparations for slavery in the United States. Over time, it became increasingly connected to matters beyond race, such as gender and identities perceived as marginalized. Some commentators came to consider woke an offensive term that disparages persons who promote progressive ideas involving identity and race.


When I awoke from sleep this morn, I looked into the mirror,

‘Twas then I saw my smile was gone, arousing sudden fear.

The missing smile, I realized, was wholly symptomatic,

It woefully portends one’s mind as hyper-democratic.

To wake up from one’s sleep like so, is clearly not a joke.

For some might deem such foolery as elementary “woke.”

I all at once begin to care for lacking social fairness,

The ‘black lives…’ thing and ‘white privilege’ invaded my awareness.

I must deny my tendency to think like a progressive

To champion a social cause is obviously obsessive

I’m starting to accuse myself of truly being ‘woke,’

A snarly-assed pejorative when used by rightwing folk


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