The Characteristics of Woke Culture

by Leora Jasper


  • There is a specific set of terms that everyone must be well-versed in. If you do not know what a word means, you must never, ever ask someone the question unless you have investigated the identity of the person you are asking and you have ensured they will not be burdened by it. If you can, educate yourself using the internet before imposing your ignorance on another human being.
  • Being confused or having questions about jargon is a burden to others. You should not speak unless you have taken the time to educate yourself beforehand.
  • You must speak, because silence is violence. You must always be vigilant to make sure your voice does not crowd out the voices that need to be heard.
  • Mistakes mean you will be “called in” by others. You cannot be confused or have questions about this. You must immediately apologize and promise to do better.
  • An apology is never good enough. Mistakes must be held accountable.
  • You must reflect upon every interaction, word uttered, term searched, joke heard, book and article read, injustice witnessed to ensure you have never, ever had any proximity to racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, body shaming, poor taste, or a moment that may no longer be acceptable according to evolving social norms.

Sense of Urgency

  • All political goals must be achieved immediately with no compromise.
  • Everyone must remain educated and appraised of any changes in acceptable words and phrases. Sudden changes in the definitions or acceptability of words is not an excuse for employing words in an improper way.
  • All errors, past and present, must be immediately presented to the public for swift accountability and justice.
  • Certain words and books must be eliminated immediately to protect readers from harm.


  • All woke leaders must defend every decision they make. They are not to be criticized for any decision that is made in service of anti-racism or dismantling white supremacy.
  • If anyone questions the customs of the culture — affinity groups, definitions, arguments, etc — they must be disciplined and held accountable for their dissent. They need to be told in no uncertain terms that the work of anti-racism has been done by experts for a long time and they know what they are doing. Every DEI facilitator is a well-trained expert who uses practices supported by evidence. There is no basis for criticism whatsoever.

Quantity over Quality

  • You must maintain a bewildered sense that you are never doing enough. It is impossible to do enough, but you must dedicate the majority of your free time to decolonizing your bookshelf, watching endorsed television and movies, and investigating your social media for people in your social network who need to be “called in” for their erroneous positions.
  • Posts on social media should be frequent and draw attention to anti-racist messaging.
  • Look for places to draw connections to anti-racism and the work of dismantling discrimination. For instance, if you post a picture of a park, you can use that opportunity to tell your network about your privilege being able to walk outside. If are sharing about a movie you are watching, share how its themes connect to the insidious universality of white supremacy.
  • No matter what, remember: you are not doing enough.

Worship of the Written Word

  • There are certain books you must read. They are The Canon. You must read The Canon. You already know what books are in The Canon. If you don’t, educate yourself.
  • Everything in these books is incontrovertible. You cannot argue with them. If you are, it is because you can’t see through your privilege.
  • Once you know The Canon, you must tell others to read them. You need to make it clear to everyone you know that The Canon will reveal a new reality to them. They do not understand the world until they read The Canon.

Only One Right Way

  • There are certain people who know how to interpret The Canon. Once you have educated yourself, you will know the correct interpretations.
  • There are certain people who have made mistakes and need to be held accountable. They can never make correct points and claims unless they are endorsed by The Interpreters.
  • Anyone who doesn’t agree with The Interpreters and The Canon are guilty of blind capitulation to white supremacy. It is important that everyone you know understands that these people should not be listened to, read, or considered in discussion. They are wrong.


  • The Interpreters are experts. They are especially enlightened about the world, and their authority should be trusted.
  • When someone corrects another person in accordance to The Canon and the edicts of The Interpreters, they are doing it out a spirit of love and generosity. The Corrected are obligated to say thank you.

Either/Or Thinking

  • There is only good/bad, right/wrong, with us/against us
  • You cannot maintain relationships with friends, family members, or colleagues if they fail to educate themselves. To do otherwise is to behave like a coward.
  • It is not acceptable to describe white supremacy as one factor out of many. It is not acceptable to see complexity unless that line of thought has been approved by one of The Interpreters.

Power Hoarding

  • It is not always clear who has the power to compose The Canon and to be an Interpreter. That power is distributed horizontally in a community-minded way to ensure historically-marginalized groups are lifted up. Power is always shared in an equitable way.
  • The only relevant power structure is white supremacy. There are no other forms of power.

Fear of Open Conflict

  • The tenets promulgated by The Canon and The Interpreters is not subject to open debate.
  • When someone attempts to solicit answers to impertinent questions, it is essential that they are always directed to the writings of The Canon and The Interpreters.
  • Criticism of The Canon and The Interpreters is an act of violence. What some call free speech and a marketplace for ideas is a cover for camouflaged defenses of white supremacy. In these moments, do not engage in the arguments. Google search the interlocutor’s social media accounts and online information. Make sure to audit whether they even have the positionality to speak on the topic. Point out the problems with their subjectivity and the harm they are enacting on others by speaking.


  • All ideas have been written. Cite The Canon and The Interpreters at all times.
  • Cooperation with others serves only the undermine the goals The Interpreters have set forth.
  • Every person must been seen for their unique intersection of identities, and their specific, individual identities will determine the arguments they can espouse and the manner of their participation.
  • Every individual is responsible for educating themselves. No one else is responsible. You must hold yourself accountable, and you must stay vigilant at all times to suss out any other opportunities for accountability.

Progress is Bigger, More

  • Post on social media every day.
  • Talk to other people in your network every day.
  • Look for examples big and small — from institutions to daily interactions — to ensure you are calling in and calling out infractions.
  • You need to keep digging deeper. Reflect every day on what you need to do to improve. Assess ways to eliminate whiteness and white supremacy from your life. Remember, it doesn’t matter how you vote, where you work, how you treat other people, what organizations you donate to, whether you volunteer, or what you read. White supremacy is a demonic poltergeist haunting the systems of the world, and it can infest your life without your cognizance of the fact.


  • There are no objective positions…unless The Interpreters have blessed a certain position as an epistemic certainty.
  • People who react to anything said by The Interpreters with emotion are demonstrating fragility and are unable to understand their position according to an objective assessment. They need to face the facts.
  • Never cry.
  • Thinking outside the parameters set forth by the The Interpreters in unacceptable. It is, in fact, nonsensical and illogical to disagree with The Interpreters, who are objective experts beyond reproach.

Right to Comfort

  • Anyone who attacks The Canon or a position of The Interpreters is engaging in a violent assault. The Interpreters have a right to emotional safety without the harm inflicted by verbal critiques.
  • It is okay to equate questions and critiques with the real, lived, every day bodily harm experienced by real people. It is exactly the same.

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