By Mahmoud Bennett (Social Media Reporter/Producer)
As the term “woke” gains increasing prevalence in the Republican political arena, a new poll suggests that Americans are divided on its true meaning. The phrase, which gained popularity during the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014, is being used by many on the right to describe the far-left.
A recent USA Today poll framed the term into two definitions and found that 56% of Americans associated the word woke with being aware of social injustice, while 39% said it means to be overly politically correct.
Conservatives have used the term to describe left-wing liberal agendas and policies, though there is no agreed-upon meaning within the GOP. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has called woke the new religion of the Left. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has described it as a virus more dangerous than any pandemic.
However, progressives, like talk show host David Pakman, argue the term has been hijacked. “The idea was challenge the status quo, fight against systematic and systemic oppression to try and create a better world,” Pakman said. “I don’t even know that anyone on the Left is still using the term in anything other than satirical fashion,” he added.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term woke as being aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues. African American novelist William Melvin Kelley is credited with first using the slang phrase back in 1962 in the title of a New York Times essay.