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CNN: Question stumps conservative commentator, goes viral

Conservative author Bethany Mandel, whose new book is centered around the term “woke,” struggled to define it during an interview. CNN anchor Abby Phillip and the “Inside Politics” panel discuss the debate surrounding the term.

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Woke. Here is how Merriam Webster’s Dictionary describes it. Aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts, especially issues of racial and social justice. Now, it’s a word that we all hear a lot of these days. And Wolk was coined by black activists to bring attention to racial injustice. But these days, conservatives

Are working overtime to redefine it, to suit their political ends, so much so that it may very well have lost all of its meaning. Take, for example, this noted conservative who this week struggled to come up with her own definition Would you mind defining? Well, because it’s come up a couple of times.

I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. So, I mean, Woke is sort of the idea that I this is going to be one of those moments that goes viral. I mean, Wolk is something that’s very hard to define. And we’ve spent an entire chapter defining it.

It is sort of the understanding that we need to retool, totally reimagine and redo society in order to create hierarchies of oppression. So I it’s hard to explain in a 15 second soundbite. And she was absolutely right. It did go viral. But beyond that viral moment, the issue

Actually is what she said at the end, which is how complicated is it to define Wolk? Here’s her follow up tweet explaining her actual definition. She says, It’s a radical belief system suggesting that our institutions are built around discrimination and claiming that all disparity is a result of that discrimination. It seeks

A radical redefinition of society in which equality of group result is the endpoint enforced by an angry mob. Now, to me, one of the issues here isn’t so much that she couldn’t do it in that moment. It’s really that the definition that she’s putting forward is one that has been created by conservatives

In the last couple of I mean, let’s call it 18 to 20 months since the summer of 20, 20 And it’s been created in order to sort of attack the idea of social injustice as a concept, it seems I always understood. Well initially when this term came about, I understood to be understanding

Our nation’s history to inform us about societal barriers. Currently it seems, however, that sort of become a catchall to form certain politicians to appeal to the grievances and anger of certain voters. In times that are convenient to those certain politicians. I’ve heard it in debates ranging from why certain topics

Shouldn’t be taught in classrooms to why certain banks have failed in the past couple of weeks. Which to me says that you are kind of picking and choosing this word for when it’s convenient to you. I want to bring Ramesh in on this because I, I understand that you are probably more sympathetic

To Bethany’s definition then than some other people might be. But I think the question is if it’s so hard to define. Does it just kind of come to mean whatever anybody wants it to mean? Well, that’s the nature of a lot of political terms, right? I mean, conservatism and liberalism or ultra maga

Republicanism, as President Biden likes to say, all of these things are sort of fuzzy concepts and different people are going to give you different definitions of it. I do think that we should try to be as precise as possible when we’re arguing about a specific thing to talk about that specific thing

And not to go straight to this abstract term. I think, though, that that the the general phenomenon here that people who are complaining about wokeness or talking about is an actual turn that has happened on the left side of our politics towards a heightened sensitivity of course. There’s such a thing as oversensitivity,

And that’s what the criticism generally amounts to. And to your point about kind of the specificity or lack thereof, I just want to play for a little bit what we’re talking about when this we talk about a buzzword. I mean, this has become the ultimate buzzword on the 20, 24 campaign trail

We will end work. I think it goes back to this Woke Mind virus that’s infected the left and all these other institutions. This work self loathing has swept our country. It’s in the classroom, the boardroom, in the back rooms of government. He’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob

That can’t even tell you what a woman is. So putting aside the definition for a second. That to me says as we’re moving forward toward 2024. This is going to be a central component of that race. Oh, absolutely. And it already is. Right. As you were saying, it has become very much

This catchall pejorative term that conservatives in particular like to use. And particularly when there’s even just like a whiff of an issue having to do with race or gender or sexual orientation, inclusivity, diversity issues. Republicans in particular have been using the term to go after liberals and Democrats whenever they feel like

There is a situation where they’re sort of trying to meddle in your personal life. Right. So, you know, they’re trying to teach our children this or make our children eat this in at schools. So, yeah, it is definitely going to be a hugely defining sort of tool

That Republicans use heading into 20, 20, so that my curiosity will be as we go toward 20, 24. Once this gets beyond the Republican primary, what do real people who are living their lives think about this? Are they waking up in the morning and thinking, wow, my kid’s school is too woke?

I think that that’s just an open question. I don’t have an answer to it, but we’ll see how that turns out.




  1. White people again are attempting to control the narrative. They have redefined the word to describe what it means to them. To them it means that we’re afraid that you are attempting to teach our kids that we have profited from a history of doing underhanded, genocidal, racist shit and not merely by fortitude and merit. We need them to instead believe that they are inherently superior and not the recipients of centuries of that vulgar injustice. This ignorance is essential to us propagating the belief of White Supremacy.

  2. Republicans I am sorry in my opinion this Bethany Mandel is the D&m& person I have ever heard speak just doesn't even know what Wokeness is Republicians you need to kick her out of your Party she is so embarrassing to the Republicians Party WOW 😳😮😳

  3. Woke no longer carries it’s OG intent. It had a very specific meaning – spiritual consciousness of soul; KNOWING that there’s more to life than the mere physical realm. Then it morphed into an awareness of the social substratum we live in, and how it negatively affects some people more than others. About not being misled by what is presented on the surface; not being blind “sleep walkers”. Sometimes a cigar is a just a cigar, sometimes it’s not – woke is identifying which is what in a broader social sense. Now in the hands of conservatives it’s a weapon of misinformation. Stay woke.

  4. It means to wake up, and look what is happening with racial injustice in this country, instead of pretending it doesn't exist. Acknowledge others that don't look like you, are possibly being judged, or treated poorly. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

  5. Woke is … sort of … the idea that … umm … I … this is going to be one of those moments that goes viral, I mean… woke is something that's very hard to define …

    No, it's not. It's really easy. But your ilk regularly use that term as a catch-all for the bad-guy-libs. And you've used it to the point that, for you, it no longer has meaning.

  6. King George III and the people around him must have viewed George Washington and the Declaration of Independence as going "Woke"….!!!…LOL

  7. I can't define woke but I can certainly define what a woman is and what a man is.
    And it has nothing to do with feelings.
    I can also 100% say a male can not be a female and vice versa.

    Biology matters and so does common sense.
    I know what's needed in order to protect a females right to their own places spaces and thing and males rights to the same.
    To do that we simply need to put biological in front of male and female.
    Okay I think I'm woke, meaning I'm awake to know facts, truth and biology matters.

  8. 1:54 "A radical belief system suggesting that our institutions are build around discrimination, and claiming that all disparity is a result of that discrimination. It seeks a radical redefinition of society in which equality of group result is the endpoint, enforced by an angry mob."

    1) Sentence fragments hurt my soul.
    2) This sounds like a decent description of the American Revolutionaries in 1771. I was led to believe that the GOP folks were fans of their work.

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