I’ve been thinking more about how we are developing and growing in our lives. Being awake or ‘woke’ to the difficulties we face in today’s world. Whether it’s how we grow our skills and talents. Or how we manage our emotions and mental health, there’s never been a better time to think about why we have to be awake and woke everyday. Read on and I’ll be using the words ‘awake’ and ‘woke’ interchangeably.
Staying woke to micro-aggressions.
To us Black people, we know that being ‘woke’ has come from the need to be aware of racism. We have to be aware of the micro-aggressions and subtle ways that racism are used against us. So for us, no matter how much the word ‘woke’ is demonised in a large amount of mainstream media and white society, we stay awake to the barriers, subtle actions and behaviours where racism is used to create problems for us. We’ve seen some of the right wing and mainstream western media twist the word ‘woke’ to mean anything that disrupts society. These media giants are using the term ‘woke’ for anyone who wants to change gender, change the rules on whichever public toilets they want to use. I have no interest in these arguments. All I know is that the true and original meaning of being ‘woke’ is to be against racism against Black people.
We stay awake to our culture and legacy
So yes you guessed it, by twisting the meaning of being ‘woke’, right wing media get to ‘silently’ accuse Black people of being the ones creating a problem. “Oh they’re being woke!” as in there goes those annoying Black people, talking about race again and causing problems. It’s an easy way to keep Black people ignored and seen as a problem in society. Why should anyone care about racism against Black people if we’re always causing trouble? If we are asleep in our lives, we have so much to lose. We have to stay awake or we at risk of spending our lives always being short-changed financially and economically. For us being woke is about racial equality. It has nothing to do with the transgender equality struggle. Or when a company changes the name of a product to avoid causing offence. Our woke is about being treated equally to white people in every part of society, with access to all opportunities too.
Develop and deepen our self-love.
Everywhere we look we see messages about self-care and self-love. It’s something I write about here alot, as I believe that slavery means we weren’t taught to love ourselves. But we have a chance to change this now. It’s so easy to think about the self-love as only trips to the spa or manicures. Yes I love being pampered too. The self-love I’m talking about here is about being honest with yourself about your bad habits. Or having the courage to speak up against bad treatment. It could also be the times we choose to walk away from people or situations we thought we could never live without. Wherever you might be on your journey, I hope you find a way to develop and move into deeper levels of love for yourself everyday. This is the type of self-love that keeps us awake to not only racism but the poor treatment or situations previously mentioned. When you are awake, you can pick yourself up no matter how tough the situation.
Be expansive in our thoughts and ambition.
In a world with obstacles and barriers for women, us Black women know how difficult it can be to keep our ambitions and goals alive. This is where we can feel like we’re in a vicious circle. The more ambition we have, then the more we are at risk of failure. But this vicious circle means we will always come back to ourselves, knowing we want more for our lives. I have been in situations where you’re ambition is met with racism and being side-lined. The feelings of being hurt, angry and deflated can never be fully explained. My advice to you is to look at where you are and if these invisible or silent barriers are holding you back create your plan to improve your life. No matter what, expand your ambition and never let your dreams and goals die.
Be vigilant for our health
We know there are some health conditions which seem to have a strong presence in our Black communities. Diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes are a worrying trend. For us Black women recent health reports have revealed the high mortality rate in childbirth. Fibroids and other serious illnesses like breast cancer also affect our women. Staying awake to managing our health and how external factors influence our health is important. Many health practitioners are doing more studies about the connection between the mind and body. Managing our stress is vital because studies have shown that extreme stress causes serious illness. Racism, pressures at work and sometimes financial pressures, all create the stress which leads to this serious sickness.
Yes I’m proud to be woke. I’m woke and awake to racial injustice and that includes the microaggressions, systems and decisions by society to continue keeping Black people from living full lives that we deserve.
As a Black woman, what do you stay woke for? Leave a comment below
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