As I said in Tao Te Woke – Part 1, there are levels to being Woke. The more you proclaim how Woke you are, the more likely you are to not be very Woke at all. Woke is something you should be about, not speak about.
Still, Wokeness is not a competition. Even the most conscious among us will have lapses and make errors. Even the least conscious among us will see injustices and microaggressions that call them to speak up and get involved in some way. Just like a clock, even a broke Woke is right a couple times a day.
The goal is to always be striving to become more aware — then turn your awareness into action to help dismantle systems of oppression right where you are and in the larger society where you live. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.
The 7 Levels of Wokeness
- Pillow Slobbers. People on Level 1 are not Woke at all. They don’t see microagression. They don’t hear dog-whistles. They don’t believe in systemic oppression. They are blissfully ignorant of it all in a deep sleep.
- Snooze Hitters. People on Level 2 are beginning to get Woke. They are beginning to see discrimination and disparate impact. They start noticing microaggression and dog-whistles. The alarm is ringing but Level 2 is not ready to wake up yet.
- Head Bobblers. People on Level 3 are Woke — but they doze off pretty regularly. They don’t feel the immediate impact of the oppression going on in the world so they don’t feel these issues are a problem for them to get involved with solving. They fall asleep from boredom and disinterest because they are disconnected.
- Crusty Eyeballers. People on Level 4 are Woke — but sometimes they miss signs because their eyes are still covered. They see the issues and have begun to get involved. However, they still have some habits and views which display a lack of awareness, consciousness.
- Caffeine Deprived. People on Level 5 are very Woke and very irritable. Seeing all the oppression, discrimination, microaggressions, dog-whistles, lack of diversity, lack of inclusion, limited opportunities and resources, lacking and mis-representation, violence, hatred, danger, hurt and harm around them makes them grouchy. They see so much to be done that they don’t know where to start. They are vocal in speaking up and speaking out but uncertain of what action to take.
- Wide A’Woker. People on Level 6 are also very Woke but not as irritable. They see all the same things as Level 5 — but they have decided where to invest their efforts to have impact. They have committed to supporting specific causes and intersecting appropriately with others. They know when to speak out and when to center someone else’s voice. They are actively seeking balance in how they live and in the media they consume and in the words they use/post so they represent well and show up as a whole, healthy person wherever they are.
- Chronic Wokelessness. People on Level 7 are very Woke, at times very irritable and they never stop never stopping. They have insomnia. They never take time away from their efforts in their causes or in the intersectional causes they support. They walk the talk all day every day without rest.
While most would think Level 7 would be the ideal, it is actually Level 6 that we should aspire to reach and remain on.
Woke working and woke living is heavy and hard. Looking out in the world and seeing all that needs to be fixed can be overwhelming. It is essential to take time to rest and recharge. It is essential to keep balance both in what you consume and what you exude into the world. You cannot be your best self when you are working from a place of anger or frustration; you cannot be your best self when you are working from a place of anxiety or exhaustion.
There is no shame in not being on Level 6 yet. There is no shame in being on any of the levels. We all have to start somewhere. Just be honest about your level. Don’t misrepresent yourself as something that you’re not. Don’t pretend to be more Woke than you are to look good or cool to someone else.
Tao called Tao is not Tao. Woke called Woke is not Woke.
Be sincere and authentic in whatever you do.