First used in the 1940s, the term “woke” has recently become popularized in mainstream discourse and conversations, representing a ‘perceived awareness of social issues, injustice, and inequalities or inequities’.
So, I’ll ask again – are you woke? What kind of woke? And just how woke are you?
‘Posting every click-bait headline article on your newsfeed’ woke?
‘Advocating when it’s a popular issue’ kind of woke?
‘Hashtag madness’ kind of woke?
‘Sharing before researching and understanding’ kind of woke?
‘Standing up for justice unless it hurts your bottom line’ kind of woke?
Being woke should not be misunderstood to mean being actively committed to justice, in beliefs, words, and actions. In fact the popular definitions today indicate that being ‘woke’ does not require action. In 2017, the Oxford dictionary expanded its definition of the word “woke” to add it as an adjective meaning “alert to injustice in society, especially racism”.
So, all we need is to be alert to injustice? Right? That will definitely change the world. People’s lives will be transformed so long as I remain “alert” to their difficulties and oppression. Right.
When we examine the current injustices and oppression taking place in France – not something new by any means, but that has emerged again as a hot topic in the media, does being ‘woke’ cut it?
Or is a more active form of justice required? One that requires we be actively engage in anti-racist and anti-oppressive efforts?
President Emmanuel Macron of France recently stated that Islam is a religion “in crisis”, and pledged his commitment to fighting those forces trying to take over and influence Muslim communities in France. At the same time, French police have escalated their continued – yes continued as this is not a new practice –raids of Islamic associations and homes of ‘suspected’ extremists. French Muslims are no strangers to oppression from an inadequate system that collectively punishes their community for someone else’s crimes.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has stated that there are currently 80 investigations being conducted into online extremism and that he was looking into whether to disband about 50 associations within the Muslim community. 50.
“Police operations have taken place and more will follow, concerning tens of individuals,” the minister stated.
And, do you know what did not make news? The vicious stabbing of two hijab-wearing Muslim women in the park under the Eiffel Tower on October 21st.
The attackers were two women of European descent. They reportedly shouted at the woman that they were “dirty Arabs”; “go home to your own country,” while stabbing knives into the victims’ bodies. French police confirmed the incident, but have not recorded or investigated it as a hate crime. No raids of European homes, organizations, or the like. No call for disbandment of associations focused on France-first agendas. Nothing.
And so began the call for a boycott of French products. Get them where it hurts – the bottom line, their pockets. Several Muslim countries have joined the boycott since Macron’s comments. If you can’t stop the oppressors directly, at least don’t line their pockets with your hard-earned dollars.
As the boycott has grown in popularity and following, Macron has reiterated his stance, promising that France will not “give in, ever”.
“We do not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate,” he said on Twitter. “We will always be on the side of human dignity and universal values.”
Right. Actions speak louder than words. See: hundreds of years of colonization, decades of oppression and injustice, systemic racism and discrimination, and much more.
France has called the boycott of its products by several countries in the Middle East “baseless”, saying the move is being perpetuated by “a radical minority”.
If boycotting products from a country that has systematically and consistently oppressed and harmed our fellow brothers and sisters, along with countless other ‘minority groups’ is considered radical, then perhaps there is something we can agree on with the French government.
In a world where simply being woke is praiseworthy…
It is radical to withhold my money from an oppressive regime.
It is radical to instead put my money towards those communities you wish to destroy.
It is radical to believe that your agenda will fail.
It is radical to boycott dozens of products that I use every single day.
Don’t be fooled into thinking being woke is radical – it’s a cover that excuses one from meaningful work and action. And that is what is needed today – radically ACTIVE and MEANINGFUL advocacy and efforts that have the power to impact lives.
It’s happened before; all you need to do is take a look at history to know that money = power to these regimes.
So, wield your power. #BoycottFranceProducts