Home Christian News ‘Woke’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means, Says Benjamin Watson

‘Woke’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means, Says Benjamin Watson

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Screenshot from YouTube / @Benjamin Watson

The word “woke” has been co-opted, redefined and weaponized against the community that originated the term, says former NFL player and outspoken Christian Benjamin Watson in a recent blog post. Watson argues that culture warriors who have appropriated “woke” to represent a vague set of harmful ideals are actually communicating opposition to racial equality. 

“I grew up before ‘wokebecame a four-letter word and before it became embattled in a culture war where misappropriation and redefinition are the weapons of choice,” said Watson as he opened his post, “You Can’t Define ‘Woke.’ So I Will.” “It is a menacing and cruel transaction when a larger power broker sledgehammers a monument of remembrance and hurls its fragments as weapons of destruction against the community it was erected to empower.”

RELATED: Pastor Ed Young Calls ‘Wokeism’ a Cult and a ‘Seductive, Satanic Strategy’

Benjamin Watson: What It Means To Be ‘Woke’

Benjamin Watson was a first-round draft pick and Super Bowl champion. He is also a father of seven and a vocal pro-life advocate. His 2020 documentary, “Divided Hearts of America,” explores the abortion debate in the U.S. In 2021, Watson criticized Planned Parenthood’s efforts to distance itself from the beliefs of its founder, Margaret Sanger, who supported eugenics and who once spoke to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan.

“Whether [Planned Parenthood’s leaders] personally identify with Sanger’s ideology or not,” said Watson, “they continue to carry out her mission, by serving as the leading executioner of our children. The same Sanger they claim to disavow would applaud their efforts and results, as a disproportionate percentage of Black children have been killed in Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics.” 

Now, for those who are unaware, Watson is shining a light on the history of the word, “woke,” and its racial implications. In his post, he takes to task those who misuse the term, particularly calling out “politicians and pundits” who are “out-woking each other, stoking fear for likes and votes.” 

Such people, says Watson, “have purposefully misled hordes of followers without apology.” He linked in his post an article about Florida governor Ron DeSantis and embedded images of DeSantis and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson

What does “woke” mean then? Watson says that “one of the earliest public appearances” of the word is from singer, Huddie William Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly, who used “woke” in reference to his song, “Scottsboro Boys.” The title refers to nine Black boys who were falsely accused in 1931 of raping two white women on a train near Scottsboro, Alabama. The lyrics repeatedly warn Black people against going to Alabama. “I advise everybody,” said Lead Belly, “be a little careful when they go along through there — best stay woke, keep their eyes open.”

“While the word sometimes referred to other scenarios like being wary of a cheating partner or slang for being awake instead of asleep,” says Watson, “it was always rooted in an awareness of racialized violence against black people by white America, whether by individuals or institutions, carried out intentionally or in innocence.”