What Does “Stay Woke” Mean?

stay calm, be informed
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It’s an American slag term and an incorrect tense of the word “awake”; however, that doesn’t diminish its importance in modern-day society. If you look it up in urbandictionary.com, you’ll find a few different definitions. This is my favorite:

“Getting woke is like being in the Matrix and taking the red pill. You get a sudden understanding of what’s really going on and find out you were wrong about much of what you understood to be truth.” 😀

Essentially, it means “stay informed,” especially on topics that affect people in disadvantaged positions (like people of color, the poor, kids kept in cages by ICE, etc.) and topics that are of great social or global importance (think impact to our natural resources, global trade, abusive practices by Western companies in order to make a buck, etc.). Further–and this may be my own interpretation–it means shunning conventional means of getting your information because much of the information sourced through typical news channels Americans watch is influenced by money, biases and agendas. This information is used by the powerful as the means by which to control a population no longer taught to think critically for itself.

This is where my auditor skills come in. Auditors can be somewhat described as the “investigators” and “fact checkers” of the business world. We have to review and read through hundreds, if not thousands, of documents to confirm, check, validate and tie-out information businesses release to their stakeholders (be it investors, creditors or employees) to make sure everything is stated accurately, is backed by facts/evidence and is on the up and up.

Blogs like mine are a good source of information because everything I note in here is backed by credible sources (see my Resources page) and I have no other agenda than to inform and spread knowledge with the goal of creating awareness. In all news you consume, that’s exactly what you should look for–facts, sources used and be careful of extreme viewpoints in either direction (i.e. too far left or too far right). Relationships (think marriages), government and human interactions of all sorts are all governed from the center. No one person is every going to get their way all of the time–compromise is key. Extreme points of view in any direction mean there is no balance.

Mind you, we are not the only country who manipulates their own news. When I lived in the UK, the government in Britain controls all TV–hence, “British Broadcasting Corporation” or BBC. Given my powers of calling bullshit–or, auditing–I was astonished on how British-centric their own TV news was. Everyone else was shit (especially America) but everything was rainbows and unicorns in Britain. It was such bullshit. And the ‘free’ news papers that were available at every subway (tube) entrance? Oh man were those papers sensationalist and full of absolute bollocks (as they would say). I was appalled at the god-awful news everyday Brits were reading.

The only thing that was hardcore “real” was the weekly broadcasting of “Prime Minister’s Questions” whereby every Wednesday, when the House of Commons was in session, the PM spent 30 minutes answering direct questions from MPs (Members of Parliament). Dude…it’s fucking brutal!! I LOVED it. They yell at each other, interrupt each other (to call bullshit), no questions are off the table (from what I could tell) and it’s super aggressive! The PM has to be fast no their feet. I wish we had that!

In my view, the advent of internet has brought with it a tremendously positive byproduct of having a better understanding of what’s “really real.” In the past, knowledge and information was controlled by the powerful few. Some would say that’s still the case when you consider, for example, that the largest US media companies are controlled by only a handful of people. However, I would say, you’re partially right. The difference is that now, people like me and people like the folks who choose to start YouTube channels, people who Tweet obscure news stories (usually coming from small local papers) and even those who post their personal experiences on Twitter or Instagram are disseminating “information” at a rate never before seen or experienced. Information and knowledge have been democratized. Meaning, it is now made by the masses for the masses. This does create the issue of fake news but this is why we have to be informed and take information from credible sources and if we are following some YouTuber, follow them for a while–are their stories and experiences reliable and truthful? If so, it’s good info. For example, while the US wants to tell me Mexico is a third-world war zone, I follow American Youtubers who’ve been living there a year, two, three and they consistently post about their experiences; they take me around the country and show me everyday life and different parts of Mexico and the fact that they are walking around with expensive video camera equipment and they have been safe throughout all this time tells me that while Mexico has its issues (as does the US), it is NOT what US media has led me to believe. See how that works?!

As a side note, I dropped my cable provider in 2010. That used to be referred to “being off the grid” because so few people had done it back then but it’s now the norm, especially with millennials. I’ve been subsisting on Netflix, YouTube and Hulu (although I recently dropped them and now rent a movie here and there via Amazon). And look ma! I’m fine 😀 Save yourself a tremendous amount of money–drop cable. It is poison. Make yourself search out content and information that you want; it makes you appreciate it more and puts you more in touch with what’s really important to you, instead of passively consuming the garbage that 300 channels and never-ending commercials spit out at you. Trust me, do yourself (and your loved ones) a favor.

In short, I encourage you to be curious. Seek knowledge. Seek understanding. Seek fairness. Stay woke amigo!