There’s a problem with wokeness
"Wokeness" is a term that has been floating around for the past couple of years since it arose out of the Black Lives Matter movement circa 2013. After the death of Trayvon Martin, #StayWoke accompanied social media posts about police brutality and systematic racism. Over the following years the term was adopted by feminists to symbolise an intersectional awareness, including knowledge of structural inequalities and a commitment to examining privilege.
In the viral video “The Problem with Wokeness” Akanbi takes issue with the way wokeness has been removed from its original meaning and the way it’s now used among feminist communities. She says “Wokeness has been co-opted by a type of moral superiority.. it reduces very complex issues, doesn’t leave much space for nuance”. Taking a human approach to conversations about identity politics is important to her
Akanbi is passionate about encouraging everybody to have difficult conversations about social and political issues. In this video she reiterates the same messages in her writing and speaking: there can be no forward momentum if people don’t feel like they can ask questions and be part of conversations.
“Unfortunately 'activism' is a loaded term now, often misunderstood and has taken new negative connotations. I'm not sure if I challenge other people, it feels like I challenge myself.”