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Woke Twitter Claims “Woke” Doesn’t Exist If You Can’t Precisely Define It

Woke Twitter Claims “Woke” Doesn’t Exist If You Can’t Precisely Define It

Denying reality by arguing over definitions: “One of the most powerful ways to defeat your enemies is to control their language, deny them the ability to even name that which they oppose much less defeat it”

The word “woke” in the context of social/political commentary has a long history dating back to the early 1900s, but the term was popularized in 2014 during the Ferguson riots in the aftermath of the officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown.

Author Joanna Williams explained how the word became a mainstay in the activist left circles in a book she wrote about how “woke” had allegedly “won”:

In 2014, protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri following the police killing of Michael Brown. Activists rallied around the slogan Black Lives Matter. The phrase ‘stay woke’, popularised by Badu, quickly became associated with the Black Lives Matter movement through the sharing of the hashtag #StayWoke online. This was a call back to the 1930s warning to black people to stay alert to the threat of racist police brutality, but it rapidly expanded to encompass the broader sense of being aware of all forms of social injustice.

On Wednesday, another book author, conservative commentator Bethany Mandel, went on The Hill’s “Rising” program to talk about the recently released book “Stolen Youth” that she co-authored with fellow conservative commentator Karol Markowicz.

During the interview, Mandel used the term “woke’ and was then asked by “Rising” co-host Briahna Joy Gray how she defined it. Mandel struggled for a moment before she gave her short definition in a clip that has, as she predicted, gone viral:

“Would you mind defining woke?” Gray asked. “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,” Mandel said, as she paused and looked for the right words.

“I mean, woke 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 totally reimagine and redo society in order to create hierarchies of oppression… Sorry, it’s hard to explain in a 15-second sound bite,” she said.

Reading it, her answer sounded fine. But because she paused a few times while thinking of what to say and looked uncomfortable after she answered it, self-styled progressives had a field day.


Predictably, the Washington Post declared that the moment “reinforces the hollowness of ‘woke’ as an attack.”

In fairness, outside of that moment, Mandel did well throughout most of the back-and-forth with the hosts, as seen in the full video below:

In response to the leftist pile on of Mandel, which included one of the Queens of Woke, Jemele Hill, conservatives and other independent-minded people weighed in with their thoughts on what woke means, with others correctly pointing out how the left loves to play word games with their own words and slogans and then declares the same words off limits for conservatives to use when their games start to backfire:

But even if one can’t explicitly define “woke,” it’s something you definitely know when you see it, as Professor Jacobson noted:

[Video courtesy Andrew Marcus]

“Because you’re a f*cking white man, aren’t you quite aware by holding that video camera on me that you are surrounded by your privilege, right? Take your privilege somewhere else please because your privilege is not welcome here. So unless you are here to dismantle your privilege, please find somewhere else to go!”

The face of “woke,” ladies and gents. A privileged white leftist using her iPhone to film a white man and accuse him of having privilege becuase he’s filming her berating him (during a Trump protest in Chicago in 2016). Never forget it.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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But the interviewer is a woman, isn’t she?
And the left can’t define what a woman is.
Therefore, she doesn’t exist, either.

All the interview proves is that a particular interviewee is less than agile when it comes to thinking on her feet… a trait I share, moreso as I age. This is why I write rather than make speeches.

Had this interviewer asked the same question of, say, Jordan Peterson, or Matt Walsh, or Ben Shapiro, she would have gotten her lunch eaten.

    Whitewall in reply to henrybowman. | March 17, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    A shot at it from elsewhere:
    “anti-civilizational wokesters are not just against merit, they are positively for anti-merit, dysfunction, incompetence, stupidity, corruption, malevolence, and more. Qualifications don’t matter; ‘wokifications’ matter: being black, female, lesbian, cognitively impaired, truth-insensitive, reality-denying, physically feeble, morally corrupt.”

Mollie has it, it’s the insanity of Cultural Marxism and going against western civilization.

being woke is nothing more than being willfully ignorant

It’s easy to define:
It’s the Fundamentalist Progressive Inquisition.

Woke is a virus that escaped from Karl Marx’s lab, and has evolved into an effort to coerce unvaccinated individuals to comply and inoculate the sick into bullies and virtue signalers.

healthguyfsu | March 17, 2023 at 3:29 pm

Do women exist? Define woman.

Do Blacks, Asians, etc. exist? Explain your definition to a member of those races.

Shut up and take your L

Just like so many other times with other terms, the left has realized just how poisonous the term ‘woke’ has become to the normies.

Just like ‘global warming’, ‘defund the police’, ‘hands up don’t shoot’, just to name a few, leftist slogans tend to have a very short shelf life because they’re insane and they go crazy with them.

And when their slogans wear out, they discard them or just lie and claim that it was conservatives all along.

E Howard Hunt | March 17, 2023 at 3:37 pm

I could have easily answered this question as follows – “As Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, I will not attempt to give an elaborate or exhaustive description of the absurdities that fall under the woke heading, but I know it when I see it, and I am seeing it before me at this very moment.”

I define “Woke” as “sanctimony about all social issues with zero self awareness”

2smartforlibs | March 17, 2023 at 3:52 pm

“woke” is anything the left is willing to fund with your money and goes against norms.

Okay, just to clarify: neither “woke” nor “Antifa” really exist?

U of Chicago philosophy department is famous for making you define your terms.

It would work except definitions are actually outputs, not inputs.

Woke is being at the forefront of virtue signalling.

    rhhardin in reply to rhhardin. | March 17, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    You can find woke on the right. It’s different virtue signals, but the same principle and the same wokeness. Clickbait depends on it.

      rhhardin in reply to rhhardin. | March 17, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      Example, just to be provocative: there’s always been flag etiquette wokeness.

        henrybowman in reply to rhhardin. | March 17, 2023 at 5:01 pm

        And the humor is that many of the Flag Nazis (if you excuse the mixed metaphor) get it wrong, because the etiquette has changed since they learned it. For example: US flag used to need to be highest in a multiple flagpole array; now it has to be the same height, but on the right.

Wokism is the denial of difference. If you look at a disparity between groups or individuals and can’t imagine a reason for those inequities that doesn’t involve oppression, systemic discrimination or privilege THAT is woke.

If you deny difference, between sexes, races, cultures, individuals or whatever else then all inequity is injustice. Those perceived as disadvantaged must be favored and those perceived as advantaged must be brought low. It is the universal answer to all questions and a woke person is someone who holds to this idea with religious fervor.

What you toking about, Woker?

A dysphoric, dissonant psychiatric state.

Lesson: Don’t go on national television to talk about being “woke” unless you can define the term concisely in 10 seconds or less. It’s called preparing for your interview.

The Gentle Grizzly | March 17, 2023 at 6:14 pm

Huge man-glasses: check.
Smug facial expression until cornered: check

Woke is very easy to define. It is a view of “everything” that is based entirely on feelings and not on facts. For example, Carmen Ambar, when asked by Ted Koppel about specific instances of racism from the Gibsons, immediately went to there being a feeling of racism rather than citing any specific facts. Carmen, therefore, be woke.

When someone states that they are woke, it means that they have crossed over into embracing a dogma which is simply fraudulent, but is easy to sell because if there are no facts, then they can’t be argued against, in their mind, at least. When they do utilize facts, thay are always wrong, but are considered correct because they agree with the dogma.

Its kinda like porn … Maybe I cant define it … But I know it when I see it

To me, “woke” encapsulates the self-congratulatory narcissism and sanctimony that is the animating trait of contemporary Leftists and Dumb-o-crats. It’s a posture as much as an attitude, going around strutting and preening and patting one’s self on the back for believing — fallaciously — that one’s opinions and policy positions allegedly represent sagacious and enlightened thinking.

    guyjones in reply to guyjones. | March 17, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    I need to amend a sentence, above — “…that one’s ***LEFTIST*** opinions and police positions…”

C.S. Lewis did a nice job of describing this phenomenon in the conversation between Puddleglum and the Witch in “The Silver Chair”.

Ask them to define assault weapon.

    MajorWood in reply to bev. | March 18, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    Or, define assault weapon without using the word “black,” cause that is racist.

The term is far too broad to be easily defined, but I’ll take a stab at it. I would put it like this, just off the top of my head:

“‘Woke’ is the word for the denial of objective reality, and a substitution of favored groups and identities for positive merits. Like everything on the left it is ever-shifting and ephemeral. A group or identity that is favored one day can be disfavored the next when a new favored identity group comes along. In practice ‘woke’ involves the alteration of not only language and deeds but even thoughts, to conform with favor for the new identity group. It also involves a self-righteous hatred of the ‘other,’ those who do not conform with the new thought. Woke is a substitute religion for the left.”

Needs work, I know, but I guess it’s a start.

RepublicanRJL | March 18, 2023 at 8:20 am

From a quick search.

Briahna Joy Gray is an American political commentator, lawyer, and political consultant who served as the National Press Secretary for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.

I like VivaFrei’s definition, but here’s mine:

“Woke” = Specific words and beliefs that are used as tribal delineators, to promote tribalism in general, to ensure conformity within the woke tribe, and to promote the power of the woke tribe. The definitional boundaries of “woke” continually change, and absolute purity of thought is vigorously enforced. The constantly-changing nature of “woke” keeps all members of the tribe constantly attentive to the latest evolutions and constantly in fear of being expelled from the tribe. If a member of the woke tribe steps over any line, no matter how trivially, the tribe uses all their power to destroy the errant member, socially and economically. No apology can be allowed to cleanse the offender of their non-woke sin. Woke tribal boundaries include: linguistic purity, ritual self-flagellation by historically dominate groups, complete refusal to listen to any non-woke viewpoint and to suppress such viewpoints so they can not be heard by anyone, and an adherence to the belief that all people outside the group must be fascist, misogynistic, racist, thieving-capitalist, and inherently and irrevocably evil. Tribal members are overwhelmingly white, over-credentialed, and have wealth significantly above the median. Tribal societies have never been able to coexist with democracy, and thus the promotion of “woke” is necessarily and intentionally anti-democratic.

texansamurai | March 18, 2023 at 1:28 pm

“woke”–in denial of the fundamental realities of the natural world

If I had to define “woke” in one second or less, I think that I would have to go with “retarded.” While not all that are retarded are woke, all that are woke seem to be, just sayin. You can’t successfully argue with a woke person, because like their gender, all definitions are fluid and thus can change to suit conditions even in the middle of the argument. It is similar to what a friend taught me back at the beginning of the WWW. He stated that “arguing with someone on the internet is like running a race in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you are still retarded.” Keeping that in mind before engaging has saved me thousands of fruitless hours at the keyboard.

Steven Brizel | March 18, 2023 at 11:08 pm

Woke Is claiming you are always s victim because of your race and gender and that traditional values cherished by normal society such as law and order restrictions on you can have relations with and views that competence free speech free exercise of religion and merit are means of oppression along and that all systems that do not produce identical results for all despite human differences must be torn down

Steven Brizel | March 18, 2023 at 11:33 pm

The critical elements are a quasi religious belief in the elements of American Marxism to use Mark Levin’s phrase which are systemic racism as an inescapable fact of life gender fluidity and the so called existential dangers posed by climate change

So women don’t exist because a Supreme Court justice can’t define the term without a PhD in biology?