“Woke” And 10 Other AAVE Terms Abused And Overused By The General Public
So, you’ve more than likely seen conservative writer Bethany Mandel’s viral “woke” moment by now — and, wow, was that entertaining or what?!
For those still catching up, the aforementioned Mandel was a guest earlier this week on The Hill Rising morning show to promote her new book, Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation. As the title might suggest, it spins the narrative that liberals are targeting children with “woke indoctrination.”
When politely asked by Rising correspondent Briahna Joy Gray to simply define the word “woke” as it came up in their conversation, well, just take a look below at the monstrosity that Mandel ended up digging herself into:
“Woke” is a black term that means – black ppl being racially & politically aware. White supremacist society hijacked it & use it as a catchall for their racism. Bethany Mandel, a member of the suspected white supremacist community, was asked what woke means & embarrassed herself. pic.twitter.com/iVs2qBHJ0Q
— Mute All Culture Vultures (@AllVultures) March 15, 2023
RELATED: Twitter Discusses The Hijacking Of AAVE, Debates Proper Usage
As she herself predicted, this was in fact one of those moments that went viral. Over the past 24 hours alone, many on social media have been voicing their opinions and allowing the moment to open up a bigger conversation surrounding AAVE, or African-American Vernacular English.
Y’all are so bad at this. Woke has literally never meant this and no matter how many Black folks tell you differently — cause the word came from us — y’all just gonna go ahead and dig deeper into making your own whiteness the centerpiece. Historically extremely familiar. https://t.co/4i1bIXvPTo
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 16, 2023
The term “woke” was created by Black people referring to being alert to systemic racial injustices. The first documented use of the phrase “stay woke” happened in the 1930s when Lead Belly ended his song by advising Blacks traveling through Alabama to “stay woke.” #Fresh pic.twitter.com/QPbVZXWCHt
— LanaQuest aka RosaSparks (@LqLana) March 15, 2023
You might refer to them more commonly as “Black terms” or “Black slang,” but AAVE has come to be adapted as the official way of describing a form of dialect that’s become extremely influential in mainstream culture. Many words and phrases used daily over the years can be directly traced back to being originated by Black people, be it individuals or whole communities.
Of course, it seems ludicrous to police the use of language, but what happens when a term like “nappy” gets used by the wrong person to diminish the physical features of another? What does it really say about society now that Gen-Z boys of all races are calling each other The N-Word as a “term of endearment”? Where, simply, do we draw the line as a culture?
Inspired by the painfully ‘unwoke’ Bethany Mandel, we put together 10 other terms that originated in Black culture that’ve been unceremoniously hijacked by the larger society at hand. Can we have anything for us?!
7. “BOUGIE” / “BOUJEE”