Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
#Woke. This meme explores the issues, ambiguities, conflicts and contradictions hidden with the concept of #Woke. The hashtag is a reminder that #Woke emerged most recently in the production and circulation of social media. This meme features the juxtaposition of three images that convey #Woke, one a hashtag of corporate social media:
The second is the expression of Black Artist, Flying Lotus and his track, ‘Woke’:
The third is SNL’s “Wokes” as the cultural appropriation of ‘Black cool’ by white-dominant corporations, as a fashion statement, and a critique of #Woke as a cultural phenomenon.
What Does it Mean to be “Woke”?
According to Urban Dictionary, being “woke” means being aware and knowing what’s going on in the community.
Merriam-Webster “Words We’re Watching” describes it like this:
“Stay woke became a watch word in parts of the black community for those who were self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm and striving for something better. But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The word woke became entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement; instead of just being a word that signaled awareness of injustice or racial tension, it became a word of action. Activists were woke and called on others to stay woke.”
What does it mean to be #Woke as a white western Buddhist? How does #Woke correlate with “awakening” or “waking up” as the most common “Buddheme”, or meme of modern western Buddhism?
As a commentary on the graphic, I offer a republication of an article written by Christopher Raiche at Harvard Divinity School, on “#BlackLivesMatter and Living the Bodhisattva Vow”.