'It's gone too far' - Is 'woke' a dirty word?

Senator Lynn Ruane has suggested woke 'is really not the insult you all think it is'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.39 1 Apr 2023

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'It's gone too far' - Is 'woke...

'It's gone too far' - Is 'woke' a dirty word?

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.39 1 Apr 2023

Share this article

The word 'woke' has gone too far and people are now "finding discrimination in everything."

That's according to one Lunchtime Live listener, who was weighing in to a debate started by Senator Lynn Ruane.

Earlier this week, Senator Ruane said woke "is really not [the] insult you all think it is."


"I’d rather be woke than a racist," she wrote on Twitter.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines 'woke' as being "aware, especially of social problems such as racism and inequality."

Lunchtime Live listener Alan said being aware is important, but he thinks it has gone too far.

"I think like most things it's gone too far and it's being used too much," he said.

"The problem nowadays is we're finding discrimination in everything.

"The name of buildings, the name of birds - you name it, we're finding discrimination in everything.

"You can be aware of prejudice and discrimination... but we seem to want to apply today's rules to things that happened 100 years ago, 200 years ago whatever it may be."

Referring to Senator Ruane's suggestion that she'd 'rather be woke than racist', Alan said you don't have to be either.

"Nowadays if you're not left-leaning on a lot of things, you are either right-wing or racist," he said.

"That's the way this country has gone, it's gone too far... we over-correct in this country for everything".

'Depends how you say it'

Another listener, Neil, said it's more a term used on social media.

"It's a bit like the intent of the word; it depends how you say it," he said.

"If someone says they're 'woke' generally, they're the least woke person in the room.

"It's something thrown around on social media.

"None of my friends call each other 'woke', we don't call other people 'woke' - whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

"It doesn't actually mean anything to most of the world, it's a way of shutting down conversation".

'Used as an insult'

Graham said the word itself is a good one, but he doesn't pay any attention to it.

"It generally means you try and be understanding of other people [and] be accepting of others.

"On things like Twitter, it is just used as an insult.

"But anyone who uses that as an insult, it's not someone whose opinion I really could give a monkey's about.

"It's not an insulting term".

Graham said the term is being used as a tool to end discussions.

"It is an attempt to shut down discussion; 'I'm just going to call you this thing - which is actually a compliment, but you can tell by my tone that I don't mean it as a compliment'.

"It depends who says it, and it is very much the tone," he added.

Listen back to the full segment below:

Main image: Split-screen image show the definition of 'woke' on a dictionary page, and a shocked man using a smartphone. Picture by: MBI/Anton Dos Ventos/Alamy Stock Photo

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