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The term “woke" was created by Black people referring to being alert to systemic racial injustices. The term was meant to uplift and empower Black people and to keep us informed about what was happening in the Black community. To be “woke” was to be Black. There are songs about staying “woke.” The first documented use of the phrase “stay woke” happened in the 1930s when Leadbelly ended his song by advising Black people traveling through Alabama to “stay woke.”

White liberals and progressive young people begun using the term. Specifically, during the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is when the word became politicized. It wasn’t a threat to Republicans until the term went mainstream. Once young white children started to understand what it meant to be “woke,” Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Radical Right crew saw it as a threat. It became the replacement boogeyman for CRT.

Ron DeSantis' goal is to deprive generations of youth, knowledge and facts through the banning of books; the banning of African American courses; through the banning of Black History. Ron DeSantis doesn’t want “woke” children, “woke” children would empathize, and they would ask questions. He is on a crusade against diversity and inclusion. He has started an anti-woke campaign, a culture war.

Not only are Republicans banning books; they are banning drag queen shows, taking away gender-affirming care, and whatever else they perceive as being “woke.”

Where’s the surprise, this anti-woke campaign was always going to happen in this country. Pew Research has reported that white voters will be in the minority by 2045. Boom! Therein lies the problem for the Republican Party. Democrats have become more progressive. There’s a push on the Left for racial equality while those on the Right want to “Make America Great Again.” We all know what that means, to take America back to a time when rights were few and far between. The root of this evil has always been race. Instead of wanting equality, Republicans long for a time when white men held all the power, and made all the decisions. You see, the more equal the playing field is, the less empowered white supremacy will be.

We cannot ignore nor can we accept the whitewashed history the anti-woke crusaders are fighting to preserve. Anti-wokers are nothing more than pro-racist, bigoted bullies.

It would be a disservice to gloss over the hypocrisy of Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Republicans. The same ones that complained about government overreach and their freedoms are the same ones that want to take freedoms away.

At its core, the anti-woke movement is a movement to normalize racism and bigotry. The roots are sinister and long reaching. We have to continue to call out Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Republicans that use bigotry and hate to intimidate. Throwing librarians in jail, defunding schools, firing educators, and arresting voters cannot be normalized.

We cannot be intimidated by Ron DeSantis or any other radical Right-Republican lawmaker.

Black Americans, activists, and allies have all been fighting the good fight to raise awareness of systemic racism and police brutality. Activists have also been fighting to raise awareness of the plight of other marginalized groups including the LGBTQ+ communities which have been the recent target of Republican hate and visceral. A right-wing organization, Liberty Alliance has launched a map targeting school districts' considered “woke hotspots.”

We cannot sleep, stay woke.

Lana Quest





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