I’ve decided I want to bow out. It was fun while it lasted. However, after careful review, I’ve concluded that The Woke Olympics just isn’t for me. I can’t compete. These carefully constructed tweets have me sweating at my desk on the regular, and baby, I’m tired. One slip of the finger, one well intentioned tweet gone bad, and just like that, the Woke community has turned their backs on you, and there you are, all alone-Un-woke.
You can kiss your Twitter mentions goodbye. You can wave goodbye to your Facebook and Instagram feed, too. It’s over for ya, pleighboi.
In a time where Black death is state sanctioned, and we’re forced to relive our collective trauma via YouTube on a daily basis, I understand the importance of being “woke.” What I can’t really explain though, is the need to outdo each other when it comes to social justice issues and Black consciousness.
Let’s look to social media for example, the Woke Olympics hub. Here, we can find people of all backgrounds, using their platforms to “spread knowledge.” And while a lot of the time, they are in fact doing that, much of the time, they are using their platforms to humiliate and shame the un-woke, as opposed to enlightening them. Some have seemingly made a career out of taking good natured statements or jokes and turning them into debates, sending out a series of tweets consisting of nice nasty pet names like “sis,” and “sweetheart.” When that’s not enough, some of them just simply spread false information to their followers-let’s not forget the young brother who insisted menstrual cycles were a result of European doctrine. He also contends that white people are from Mars. See below.
And just like that, after Jesse Williams, a well-known actor and activist who consistently uses his platform to speak out against social injustice, tweeted that people should go see “The Birth of a Nation,” he lost favor among the Woke. Nate Parker, producer and star of the film, was accused of rape in 1999 and went to trial. Parker was acquitted, but the resurfacing of the case, court documents, and his publicist's-worst-nightmare addressing of questions surrounding the case led to a boycott of the film.
Following his tweet, a full fledge Twitter “Get Jesse Outta Here” campaign was launched and I’m still not sure he knows exactly what hit him.
Sure, some things are non-negotiable. I can think of a number of things that I simply won’t tolerate-racism, bigotry, sexism, misogyny, rape culture, willful ignorance, and shuckin’ and jivin’ to name a few. But we have to be able to separate ourselves from certain issues and have productive conversations that empower, elevate and enlighten. Otherwise, our Twitter wars are counterproductive. Great entertainment, but counterproductive, nonetheless.
We’ve become a population that engages in incessant policing, who are demanding perfection-holier than thou brats with keyboards. There is really no good reason why the Planking phenomenon triggered an onslaught of thinkpieces linking it to slavery. No good reason, at all.
Yes, I want to stay woke. I want the same for my family and friends. Educate yourselves. Do research. Be heard. I want us to call people out on their racist behavior, and make it clear that we won’t stand for it, not for another damn day. But what I’m not willing to do is participate in meaningless, mob mentality, faux Black consciousness debates via Twitter, or anywhere else.
I don’t want the Gold medal. I want the liberation.
Karma Jonez is a 29 year old Howard graduate, born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia. She is now making somewhat of a living in Atlanta, GA, where she relocated 3 years ago. She is a Public Relations Specialist who drinks too much wine, and watches more Love & Hip Hop than she'd like to admit. She has her own blog and weekly podcast where she says a lot of funny things and talks to super cool people. Her work has been featured on sites like XoJane, Blavity, For Harriet, WETV, BlogHer and more.