Special to the Mirror by Chas Cornweller
(Wayne – I began writing this article last Thursday, fully intending on explaining my vision or ideal of being self-aware of one’s personal racism. An unfortunate side effect everyone incurs from time to time. I use the term “Woke” because when I first heard it I was intrigued. I love words. You know that. So, what began as a minor exercise to excise my own demons and face a reality few us will even acknowledge became this diatribe. Little did I expect this past weekend’s events in Charlottesville to echo my words. Few us could have…I finished this on a Tuesday morning, spent, broken and ashamed. Ashamed that what I had written was true. Ashamed for the whole human race and the pain we have caused to one another. Ashamed for the silent tongues and the harden hearts. Ashamed that as I enter my golden years, the very same issues I saw as a child, I see today. I look to a blameless god, and ask…Why? Thank you for publishing. This is my heart. Chas Cornweller)
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” Malcolm X
So, what does it mean to be “Woke”? Dictionary: Past and past part of Wake. In African American vernacular English (sometimes called AAVE) woke is the derivative of awake, rendered as woke. As in, “I was sleeping, but now I’m woke.” But it’s intended content has a much, much more powerful meaning. As in, “I was asleep, but now I am woke.” Still not reaching you? Awake…dictionary: Awake adj. fully conscious and alert and aware: not asleep; synonym: see aware. Now put “Woke” in the context of knowing issues. Especially issues regarding the status of African Americans. Do you get where I am coming from yet? Woke is being not only aware of the strife between cultures (I refuse to use the word race because for me, its very own usage indicates division and better than/less than connotations) but empathic to these issues. The Washington Post recently did an article regarding Millennials and their take on major issues facing America today. Of whites, three percent listed police brutality as being a top problem in this country. African Americans, however, were at twenty-seven percent regarding it as a top problem. And herein, lies the problem. After fifty years of Civil Rights legislation and law. After fifty years of affirmative action and equal opportunities for African Americans. After fifty odd years of a dismantled Jim Crow system, we still have perceived disparages between cultures. Whites still fear blacks, blacks still fear whites and the wheel still turns against poverty. [Read more…]