I think that being “woke” is such a long awaited destination that not many of us have reached fully yet. When you’re woke, you have awareness of the society you live in, and are usually outspoken in what systematically oppresses people. You have an understanding about the world around you. I think that since being “woke” is a such a journey that not everyone is on, as beneficial as striving to educate yourself is, there are some cons to it especially when you’re young.
We know that while you’re learning about racism, sexism, injustice in general, you’re also unlearning problematic behavior. Those Internalized attitudes and beliefs that are a product of oppressive systems and conditioned mindsets. The more you unlearn the more you start seeing it in other people whether it is among family, friends, coworkers, etc. It’s a shocking realization but it also is so sad because it shows how bad of a shape you were in.
It’s sad to hear cringeworthy things from friends. But when you try to correct them, they don’t want to hear it. When you’re a teen with peers, you’re considered annoying,you allegedly “make everything about race”, and your friends might leave you…
Your passion for activism is usually shot down because you’re told that “you can’t save the world”. It’s just amazing to me that we praise historic revolutionaries and rebels, but when that one odd one out of the group shares similar revolutionary tendencies, they’re shot down.
God forbid your social media page becomes some activist encyclopedia filled with definitions of racism and posts about political affairs! To some adults, we’re just children who couldn’t possibly understand what governmental policies are, or any social issue. On one hand we’re blamed for being lazy and unintelligent, but if we can write full page articles on cultural appropriation for instance then we’re racist or just “too young to understand.”
There are educational pages ran by groups of 12-16 year olds on various social media outlets. Even with myself writing this as a 16 year old, it is clear that not all young people are clueless to what’s going on.
Youth lead revolutions. Young people for generations have led fights, movements, and changed policies. If anything we should encourage young people who show that we are cognizant of the times we live in, and want to make steps to implement effective change.
Don’t get upset with your friend for pointing out sexism in your jokes. Don’t discourage your family member who organizes protests and wants a good society to live in. Be happy that they saw something you didn’t, and actually accept the fact they want to know the truth, and want you know it too.
Stay woke, Fam.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)