What Does WOKE Mean? - Don't Ask DeSantis

What does woke mean? Being “woke” means having good manners, common courtesy, and the ability to show empathy and respect for others different than ourselves.


5/9/20233 min read

what does woke mean
what does woke mean
What is "WOKE"?

What does WOKE mean? Webster’s definition of woke is:” being conscious of racial discrimination and other forms of oppression and injustice”.

Being “woke” means having good manners, common courtesy, and the ability to show empathy and respect for others, especially those different than ourselves.

GOP's View on "WOKE"

Republicans, calling people and things “woke” is just their shorthanded way of derisively rejecting all the above-mentioned values in favor of their preferred values of arrogant rudeness, gratuitous cruelty towards anyone different than themselves, and complete selfishness.

It is an ill-defined term, co-opted from Black communities by the GOP, that can stand in for just about anything the GOP stands for in hopes that it will stir up and frighten voters. The co-opting of the word and the way it is used to hide right wing bigotry is nothing new. Conservatives have always been very good at changing words of their meanings and repurposing those words for their own goals. They use it to attack vulnerable communities or to fan the flames of small, everyday grievances into full-blown conflagrations.

“Woke” has been been used by former President Trump, several Trump-backed midterm candidates like Kari Lake and Mehmet Oz, and especially Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

What Do People Think About "WOKE"

A USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll found that most Americans see “woke” in a positive light and define the term as “to be informed, educated on and aware of social injustices”.

Yet nearly 40% of the people surveyed say the word constitutes something more negative, “to be overly politically correct and police others’ words”.

As an example, Americans by close to a 3-1 margin support teaching “the ongoing effects of slavery and racism in the United States” in public schools according to a survey. But when the same question was asked a different way, those surveyed by a little over half opposed the teaching of “critical race theory”, which holds that systematic racism is institutionalized in America to the advantage of white people. They both are essentially the same thing.

Florida's View on "WOKE"

Woke is defined by the DeSantis administration as “the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them”. But DeSantis does not believe there are any systemic injustices in the U.S., so people do not need to be “woke”. He views woke ideology as an attempt to delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions.

DeSantis has implemented policies in schools that have been criticized for limiting discussion and curriculum on race, systemic oppression, gender, and sexual orientation with his Parental Rights in Education Law.

DeSantis has stated that “We reject woke ideology”, and “We will never ever surrender to the woke agenda. People have come here because of our policies”. In a speech in Pittsburg he said, “We must fight the woke in our schools. We must fight woke in our businesses. We must fight woke the woke in government agencies. We can never ever surrender to woke ideology. And I’ll tell you this, the state of Florida is where woke goes to die.”

DeSantis Targets

Who and what has DeSantis targeted with his campaign? Here is just a small list:

  • Free Speech protection

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs at all public schools and universities

  • DEI programs in private businesses

  • New College in Sarasota

  • Walt Disney Co.

  • China

  • LGTBQ+ community

  • Drag Queens

  • Migrants

  • Blacks

  • Democrats

  • SAT, PSAT, and Advanced Placement

  • Hillsborough County’s elected State’s Attorney

  • Orange County’s elected State’s Attorney

  • Brevard County School Board

  • Duval County School Board

  • Hillsborough County School Board

  • Indian River County School Board

  • Miami-Dade County School Board

  • Pinellas County School Board

  • St. Lucie County School Board

  • Volusia County School Board

  • Sarasota County School Board

  • Abortion Supporters

What Has DeSantis Done for Florida?

Well let’s see:

  • Created a State Militia

  • Created an Election Police Force

  • Hid all travel from Florida’s open records law.

  • Hired conspiracy theorist to head up Public Health

  • Passed laws to help insurance companies, not citizens.

  • Forces immigrants out of the state

  • Weakened gun laws.

  • 3rd least-equitable tax system in the 50 states

  • Refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act

  • Almost bottom of list for teacher salaries

  • Almost bottom of list for public school funding

  • Gave public school dollars to private schools.

  • Almost bottom of list for long-term elder care

  • Almost bottom of list for health care

  • Created Anti-Riot bill.

  • Supported book-banning in schools and public libraries.

  • Changed Florida law so he does not have to resign to run for President.

  • Don’t Say Gay Law

  • Banning DEI

  • Is trying to take over Disney.

  • Passed one of the toughest abortion laws in the U.S.