Take a moment to check out our woke quotes.
The idea of being woke has different meanings depending on which definition you choose to use.
What is woke culture?
For those who are unaware, historically, African American culture has been stolen or co-opted for centuries.
Countless positive movements or ideas created by African Americans are absorbed into popular culture.
Sometimes this has positive outcomes, and other times the results are negative.
The word woke and the ideas that come with the term originated in the African American community.
For many African Americans, to be woke means to be aware of the past and informed about current events.
Wokeness is not limited to political awareness; it applies to health, finances, and all aspects of life.
Check out these facts about wokeness:
- In African American culture, being woke means being politically aware.
- Stay woke became popular after the police murder of Michael Brown in Missouri.
- Some conservatives associate woke with cancel culture and political correctness.
Where does wokeness come from?
For several centuries, the African American community has used music to share messages about their conditions.
They have created some of the most famous protest songs and music that have served as the soundtrack to revolutions.
Some of the first iterations of wokeness in music began in the 1930s with Leadbelly’s song “Scottsboro Boys,” which used it to stay aware of the potential for racist violence in America.
The song describes the saga of nine African American teenagers accused of raping two white women in Scottsboro, Arkansas.
Why are some people anti-woke?
Today, some American conservatives use the term pejoratively as an insult.
They define the word as an agenda designed to make white Americans uncomfortable.
Former president Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron Desantis vehemently expressed their distaste for anything woke.
Desantis once said to a large crowd, “We reject woke ideology.”
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word gained more popularity after the events that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014.
Many see anti-woke policies as veiled racism.
Maurice Mitchell is the head of the Working Families Party, and he notes that “Because ‘woke’ is associated with Black people, it’s been a useful club for those who want to beat those seeking justice over the head with white grievance politics to win elections without deploying explicitly racist terms.”
Mitchel suggests that “woke” is a blanket term to describe people of color without using more prominently known racist language.
The world is full of complexities, and how wokeness is defined is no different.
For a deeper understanding of what it means to be woke, check out our woke quotes below.
Short woke quotes that celebrate the wisdom and learning
These quotes may be short, but they are full of knowledge we can all afford to learn.
1. “If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.” — Toni Morrison
2. “Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” — Rosa Parks
3. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius
4. “It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein
5. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” — Albert Einstein
6. “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” — Robert Frost
7. “We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.” — George Bernard Shaw
8. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” — Maya Angelou
9. “Education is not the learning of the facts, but the training of the mind to think.” — Albert Einstein
10. “Holding onto your anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” — Buddha
Deep woke quotes and sayings that will make you think
This selection of quotes includes some of the world’s greatest minds and thinkers.
11. “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.” — Søren Kierkegaard
12. “Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.” — Dr. Seuss
13. “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
14. “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” — James Baldwin
15. “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain
16. “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein
17. “There are only two great tragedies in life: one is not getting what you want, and the other is getting it.” — Oscar Wilde
18. “The two most important days of your life are the day that you’re born and the day that you find out why.” — Mark Twain
19. “Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.” — Elbert Hubbard
20. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” — Buddha
Woke quotes for people who see value in being aware
These quotes come from folks who identify being woke as a state of knowledge and accountability.
21. “I stay woke.” — Erykah Badu
22. “I fell asleep dreaming and woke up alive” ― RW Erskine
23. “I woke up this morning, I woke up this morning, to this woman she was fine as a motha.” — Killer Mike
24. “The people who are scared of the idea of a woke society do not want society at large to be made aware of their violent pasts.” — Anonymous
25. “Mending our errors to become civilized is not woke, it’s human, just like drinking water to stay alive is not woke, it’s life.” ― Abhijit Naskar, Hometown Human
26. “Do not think that you have to be woke to be kind. And do not think that because you aren’t woke, you don’t have to be kind.” ― Conor Barnes
27. “One day, I woke up and realized no amount of love, care, pain, hurt, anger, or retribution could ever transform those who are evil into good or kind people.” ― Ken Poirot
28. “I am no woke but only accountable. I know no paradise but acceptance. Taint, not the mind with a puny label. We are beautiful when we are indivisible.” ― Abhijit Naskar, Generation Corazon
29. “Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised some people prefer books.” — Julian Barnes
30. “Let me tell you this if you are kind, if you are compassionate, if you hold no discrimination towards people whatsoever; then you have no reason to worry about whether you are woke enough.” ― Abhijit Naskar, When Veins Ignite
Anti-woke quotes for people who think being woke is dangerous
Some people associate the idea of being woke as a threat to their existence. For people like this, wokeness invalidates their way of life.
31. “Wokeness is a cancer, and academia is the carcinogen.” ― A.E. Samaan
32. “Woke and cancel culture are both signs of a judgmental culture, not a mentally mature one.” ― Abhijit Naskar, When Veins Ignite
33. “I am not woke, I am just human – I am not socialist, I am just human – I am not wise, I am just human.” ― Abhijit Naskar, When Veins Ignite
34. “Being woke is good, but it will choke you until you are broken, and a broken soul does the will of its master.” ― Eduvie Donald
35. “You need something to be serious before there can be room for laughter. Nothing is serious in Woke World.” ― David Sinclair, Without the Mob, There Is No Circus
36. “There are no jokes in Woke World. Or, rather, the whole thing is a joke, which means nothing is funny anymore.” ― David Sinclair, Without the Mob, There Is No Circus
37. “Be human, my friend – beyond wokeness – beyond religiousness – beyond intellectualism and all forms of binarism and sectarianism.” ― Abhijit Naskar, Solo Standing on Guard
38. “At its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It basically gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.” ― Elon Musk
39. “American academia has abandoned empiricism to make way for wokeism. This does not bode well. Science without empiricism is nothing but religion by another name.” ― A.E. Samaan
40. “If you think four little alphabets, w-o-k-e, can define civilized human life, you are as dumb as those you consider un-woke. It is another way to codify righteousness, just like the church does with the term born again.” ― Abhijit Naskar, Solo Standing on Guard
Woke quotes for staying alert and aware in life
These quotes celebrate allowing knowledge to improve our quality of life.
41. “My Millennials, ‘stay woke.’” — Maxine Waters
42. “If I woke up and didn’t have Tourette’s syndrome, it would feel weird – not better or worse, just different.” — Tim Howard
43. “I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again.” — Annie Dillard
44. “I was angry and frustrated until I started my own family and my first child was born. Until then, I didn’t really appreciate life the way I should have, but fortunately, I woke up.” — Johnny Depp
45. “I would have dreams all the time about me playing in the NFL. Every day I woke up, I said to myself, you know, I’m going to work hard, you know, this day to get to that next level.” — Michael Oher
46. “I was a vegetarian for ten years and a pescetarian for eight. Then I woke up one day when I was 29 and craved red meat. I’m a big believer in listening to my body’s cravings.” — Chelsea Clinton
47. “This idea of purity, and you’re never compromised, and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly. The world is messy; there are ambiguities.” ― Barack Obama, Speech at the Obama Foundation Summit, October 2019
48. “Death row was the only place where I never witnessed racism. We all went to bed with a death sentence on our heads and woke up that way. We had to become each other’s support system.” — Anthony Ray Hinton
49. “The three touchstones that woke Buddha up – sickness, old age, and death – are a pretty good place to start when crafting a tragic tale. And if we need to get more specific: heartbreak, destruction, miscomprehension, natural disasters, betrayal, and the waste of human potential.” — Paul Di Filippo
50. “The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations. Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke.” — Bari Weiss
Just how woke are you?
The first time the majority of America was introduced to the term “woke” was during the Black Lives Matter movement.
When Missouri police murdered Michael Brown, people protested against police brutality.
As more people joined the protest, people encouraged others to “stay woke” against police brutality.
African Americans have been using the phrase woke and stay woke for much longer than in the 2010s.
Marcus Garvey encouraged all African diasporans to wake up to their conditions and become politically aware in the early 1900s.
“Wake up Africa!” and “Wake up Ethiopia!” were phrases used by black people to encourage others to make themselves aware of their history and current events.
Unfortunately, as the US struggles with culture clashes, more words may be redefined and expressed in contexts that do not always capture their true origin.
It is up to each of us to stay woke to their meanings.
Do you have any other favorite woke quotes and sayings?
Please, be sure to let us know in the comment section below.