Using this definition of woke, I think I was half way there. I definitely am fully aware. I am knowledgeable about my community and the world. However, while I am willing to access and critique systems of oppression. I wasn’t really doing it. Not hard enough anyway. I tried for so long to do what the US constitution says about keeping church and state separate. In current day society though, that’s not really a thing. I used my Christian values to let a lot of things slide, but no more.
I don’t know if someone would have asked me would I consider myself feminist. I definitely am not the person blaming everything on patriarchy.
I didn’t really consider myself a feminist either until I heard Beyonce’ say she was. I always thought feminism was a white woman’s thing.
I don’t need to wear my blackness on my sleeve, its not something I can hide. However in light of everything that has happened lately I wanted to deepen my understanding around Black feminism, the patriarchy, systemic racism etc. I wanted to have the language to speak on things that were happening and use more than just my own experiences. So I have been reading/listening to more books, listening to different podcasts, joining book clubs, just trying to educate myself on some things I didn’t really know that much about.
The experience has certainly been enlightening to say the least. Its great to feel validated and know that you aren’t living in a vacuum. I have also discovered I have my own bias and privilege that I need to process. So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Olu has a whole chapter on checking your privilege that had me shook. Once again I am thankful for COVID-19 because I wouldn’t have time to read/listen to these books if I was going into the office. I would have never read Eloquent Rage by Dr. Brittney Cooper who showed me that the patriarchy is in EVERYTHING because I lean towards fiction when I do have time to read or religious books.
I have been living somewhat in a bubble recently. I used to work in a space a few years ago where I felt like I was the “black representative.” Constantly checking and teaching people how not to be racist is exhausting.
Once Donald Trump got elected it got even worse. The election of Donald Trump showed me that people are not REALLY ready for change. Once I left that place, I kind of checked out. I thankfully don’t deal with a lot of racism in my day to day interactions anymore. However, George Floyd’s death really changed my perspective on what I thought I knew. I don’t know why his death made things different. Maybe because we are in quarantine and I am at home. Maybe it was seeing the callous and causal look of the police officer with his knee on his neck.
Whatever the reason, I am glad for this awakening.
Books I’ve read so far/listened to:
I’m still here-Austin Channing Brown
Eloquent Rage- Brittney Cooper
So You Want To Talk About Race-Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragilty– Robin DiAngelo
Books I’m going to read
How To Be An Anti Racist-Ibram X. Kendi (reading this now in a book club)
Hood Feminism-Mikki Kendall
I’ll have separate posts talking about these books with what I’ve learned and what I thought.