Introducing The Next Generation Of Leaders And Thinkers

Stop Pretending That You Were Born Woke

artwork by Javier Jaén
artwork by Javier Jaén

Being socially aware on social media has become a staple for the younger generations of today. With social justice becoming trendy it seems like every day there is a new reason for “calling someone out”, and for the most part I actually do not have a problem with this. Some people just need to be told what is what. What I do have a problem with is the aspect of call out culture that doesn’t allow growth. The pulling up the old Facebook statuses, old tweets, and old Tumblr posts of someone who has clearly changed their ways and trying to use that against them as a way to call them problematic. That in itself is problematic, and this type of “attack” is not benefiting anyone or anything but yourself getting the attention on social media that you wanted to get for being that one person who put someone on blast, and that’s the side of calling people out that I refuse to enable.

The problem with call out culture is that intentions have shifted from genuinely putting people on the spot who deserve to be checked (usually famous, but not always) to just people in our generation being obsessed with “exposing” someone. If someone has truly done something that has offended you, a friend/family member, or a community then you have every right to call them out, but if you are just bored and don’t like somebody so you decide to keyword search through their posts for something offensive, that is not benefiting any social movement or any fight for equality, that is you living out your personal vendetta against a person for whatever reason you may have for wanting other people to dislike them as much as you do, and that in itself is problematic. Calling someone out, especially someone who is clearly trying to better themselves and is using their platforms on social media to spread awareness, just to crap on their growth and try to say “Didn’t you used to say this?” and things like “Oh now you are woke but in 2012 you were singing a different tune.” is just spiteful, unnecessary, and counterproductive to any social movement.

Lets all stop pretending that we were born woke. Nine chances out of ten the same people who are pulling up posts and tweets from the past were acting the same way on social media if not worse on that same date of the problematic post in question. We all weren’t automatically educated on the topics that we are now. Even myself every day I am learning new things, and learning new ways to address certain issues that I had no clue were wrong or offensive until I either read up on it myself, or had someone else explain it to me. No activist is perfect. You are going to make mistakes, you are going to piss someone off with something that you say, and you are going to confuse people with you words (especially with this generation because reading comprehension on social media is not a strong suit for most), and that is okay. As long as you address what you did may have been wrong and genuinely apologize for your past views, and show the world that you are clearly working to change yourself you don’t have to answer bored trolls who like to see people be attacked for no reason.

Growth is an important part of every persons life. We all learn and grow from past mistakes and to say the person you are today is the same exact person you were even a few months ago is a goddamn lie. There is nothing “woke” about calling out people who have clearly shown growth for something they more than likely apologized for, or have clearly shown everyone that they no longer believe in. What is interesting is how the same people who will praise their favorite celebrity or social media user for growing and learning about issues (and will be quick to mention how their fave used to be soooo problematic but now they are changing for the better) are the main ones attacking non famous people/people they just don’t like who are doing the same exact thing. Let people change. Let people move past their shitty selves instead of forcing them to wallow in who they were. Let people grow, and stop this facade that you came out of the womb socially conscious and everyone you don’t like has to sit shamefully in social justice purgatory until you are satisfied, because nobody was born with all the knowledge they have today, and nobody has to drown in their past if they’ve already apologized and shown society that they are ready and willing to move on.

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