On Merriam-Webster’s homepage, “woke” is frequently the most looked-up term. Kevin Ross explores the meaning of woke as it relates to whether Black people are finally ready to embrace all aspects of the community, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.
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Kevin Ross: Hi, I’m Kevin Ross and this is The Podcast. Are we going to be Woke, or Wokity-Woke?
Kevin Ross: According to Governor Ron DeSantis soon to announce presidential candidate for the Republican party Florida is where woke goes to die. Folks, the woke waters they’re about to get a whole lot rougher and there may not be enough Dramamine to go around. You understand what I’m saying? Why? Because woke now encompasses things seemingly having nothing to do with the terms original definition. It’s an adjective right derived from African-American vernacular meaning alert to racial prejudice and discrimination. But critics argue wokeness is nothing more than self righteous virtue signaling that must be destroyed. What you talking bout Willis? Well, for starters, Governor DeSantis’ Stop WOKE Act- Wrongs to our Kids and Employees, prohibits educational institutions and businesses from engaging in teachings which caused anyone anguish or psychological distress due to their race, color, sex or national origin. And DeSantis isn’t the only politician doing this. Some 500 anti-critical race theory efforts have been introduced at the local state and federal levels. Seven states have banned C.R.T. and another 16 are in the process of doing so, so the motivation is clear. If kids don’t know of institutional racism and the white supremacy that it upholds. Many simply won’t question it later and that’s why for Governor DeSantis woke has jumped the shark.
Kevin Ross: Thus the Florida Parental Rights and Education Act, aka don’t say gay act regulating public Florida schools by prohibiting class discussions and or instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity before the third grade. It also prohibits support forms maintaining any sort of confidential disclosures by students from their parents if you know they haven’t came out yet. Anything regarding their sexual orientation or gender identity yet here’s the thing. In a recent Gallup poll the percentage of us adults who identify as something other than heterosexual has doubled from 3.5% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2022. Now the increase is most notable in one in five or 21% of Generation Z adults those ages 18 to 25. If younger Americans continue at this pace. The proportion of overall adults identifying as L. G. B. T. Q. +, will soon exceed 10%. But check this out. Generation X ages 42 to 57 Baby Boomers ages 58 to 76. Along with the traditionalist anyone over 77. They’re the ones that vote. And the next presidential election is in 2024. So who cares about these Generation Z adults. Well those who want to win elections this is all that they’re focused on. Now Democrats have done extremely well keeping Black voters united but has racial prejudice been separated from issues L. G. B. T. Q. members face?
Kevin Ross: Yeah admittedly yes. Should it continue to be done? Now see that, that requires a deeper dive because broadly Black L. G. B. T. Q. members have more negative interactions with police. They face more workplace discrimination along with more economic difficulties. And and yet if you are experiencing prejudice as a Black straight Christian man, there is an expectation, a reasonable one, that a Black straight Christian woman will join you in that fight. Right? A Black straight Christian woman has seen that reciprocated not to the same extent, I’ll give you that. But they have seen it reciprocated by and large from Black men. Even if someone isn’t Christian Black woke-ism still activates.
Kevin Ross: This issue that I’m talking about. However, boils down to this, when it comes to gender and sexual orientation. Many Blacks, especially older folks, they just don’t want to go there. Silently, they actually agree with conservatives who feel Americans giving up too much ground in this area. Which leaves the Black community really between a rock and a hard place.
Kevin Ross: It’s easier for us to discuss whether singer Chris Brown should be disinvited to all future cookouts because of his still canceled status over that assault charge against Rihanna all those years back. See that’s considered staying woke. Now you bring up whether the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book by Roald Dahl, whether Black folks were depicted in racist terms, that’s woke to almost a little too wokity-woke. You know the fact of the matter is chocolate makers actually used enslaved people on their cocoa plantations and author Dahl saw nothing wrong with Oompa Loompas being African Pygmy people locked up forever in a factory where they labored for Willy Wonka’s empire. Right? In the 1964 book,
Kevin Ross: Willy Wonka finds the Oompa Loompas in this very dark deep part of the African jungle where no white man had ever been. They were near starvation, they were living on vile caterpillars so, he smuggles them to England for their own good. Yeah, okay. Now when plans were announced in 1971 for a U.S. movie version of the book, the N.A.A.C.P. said, nah bruh The movie went forward, the faces of the Oompa Loompas were still darkened, but it was clear that they were still white people or something other than Black. Now did I digress.
Kevin Ross: Absolutely. But see it’s, it’s not quite wokity-woke to point out the story behind the Oompa Loompas, see kids need to know that that relates to today because for every dollar earned by white men, Hispanic or Latina women earn an estimated 58 cents, Black women, they earned 63 cents. I mean, even white women earn at least 79%, 79 cents on the dollar as it relates to white men. So with the exception of Asians, Blacks. Latinos, Native Americans, all
Kevin Ross: Irrespective of gender. Make less than 80 cents on the dollar than what whites make based on data from the Department of Justice. So that’s some good woke. That’s what we want to talk about. We start talking about banning medical access for Trans youth, stopping doctors from providing gender affirming healthcare such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy to minors who are Trans. Eh? Too wokity-woke. Especially for some Black folks.
Kevin Ross: They would much rather talk about San Francisco in the 1960s. When the city demolished part of the Fillmore District, it was a neighborhood once known as the Harlem of the West. Over 800 businesses and 20,000 people mostly Black were displaced during that time. And then decades later the area became a predominantly white enclave of multi-million dollar homes. So to compensate for that and other things, the city’s African-American reparations committee recently has recommended that Black residents be paid $5 million dollars in reparations, each. That is what a lot of Black folks would prefer to talk about. That’s a conversation worth having. We want to discuss Attorney Benjamin Crump accepting the Social Justice Impact Award during the 2023 N.A.A.C.P. awards on February 25th because there he called to action, he made a call against discrimination demanding we put attention and pay attention to the silencing of Black history. We must advocate for our children and our culture when it comes to Black history, because Black history is American history. See just the right amount of woke.
Kevin Ross: Yet when former Miami Heat NFL basketball player, Dwyane Wade and his actress wife Gabrielle Union had their moment to discuss their Trans daughter Zaya, all while accepting the organization’s President Award, many Black folks wanted to start looking up at the ceiling. Quote from Wade talking to his daughter on camera, “You’ve made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be, our baby girl.”
Kevin Ross: He was referencing his child who at birth was in fact born a boy. Gabrielle Union, she was more probing in addressing the injustices the L. G. B. T. Q. + community faces. And understandably, so 2021 was the deadliest year on record for Trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming Americans.
Kevin Ross: The Advocate publication documented 57 members who died who were Black due to anti- L. G. B. T. Q. violence. Surpassing 2020’s record of 44. In 2022 Transgender people of colour accounted for 81% of known murder victims based on who they were. 59% were Black.
Kevin Ross: Quoting Union at the Image Awards. “Will we fight for some or all of our people?”I submit to you that that was a little too woke he woke for us. But should it be? Can all things Black fit under one umbrella or will the flames of hatred be fan because our folks as a whole,we just don’t want to go down that road? We don’t get down like that. Dismantling critical race theory, criminal justice, abortion, the Queer community.
Kevin Ross: That’s the blueprint for America’s revival. According to Ron DeSantis, he practically says so on the cover of his soon to be released book ‘The Courage to be Free’. Does our community possess that same courage to stand up for those who have earned a seat at the grown up table for being part of the struggle to make it where we are and achieve what we have? I don’t know about you, but when I bet everything on Black, it’s safe to say, I usually win.
Kevin Ross: I’m Kevin Ross and this is The Podcast powered by theGrio. Follow me @Iambossross on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.