Millroy: Woke – Positive or Negative?


When planting my feet on the floor after I woke up one day last week, I winced. The painful plantar fasciitis in my left foot that had been dormant for months had returned.

But what the hell, I thought, the thing that mattered most was that a couple of weeks short of turning 91 I woke up to face yet another day.

And it was a use of the word woke that I could understand.

I am having trouble with the use of it in what seems to be a political sense, everything and everyone on the left being woke whereas there doesn’t seem to be anything woke about the right.

School board members in the United States are accused of being woke because of books with sexual content being found in school libraries, books most didn’t even know were there until it was brought to their attention.

Some of the books, a passage that was read aloud at a school board meeting by an ll-year-old boy who happened upon it, have no business being in a school library but these incidents should be dealt with individually, not as a blanket condemnation such as if the case in Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis has taken it up with a vengeance..

Florida has passed the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, the acronym standing for Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees.

The adjective woke started nearly a century ago as a reminder to be awake to racial prejudice and discrimination. That morphed into awareness of additional wrongs like sexism.

“That, as the saying today goes, was all good,” said Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics,
“But now we have a leading 2024 presidential candidate spearheading Florida’s recently passed Stop W.O.K.E. Act. All sides want to censor their opposition, ban ideas, oust anyone who disagrees, and use government power to prevent what they see as cultural decline.”
“The state of Florida is where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said in his January inaugural address.

Yet a new poll reveals a majority of Americans actually have a positive association with the term “woke,” understanding it to mean “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices.”

The USA Today-Ipsos poll released last week found that 56 percent agreed with the more positive definition, while 39 percent had a negative association with the word and understood it to mean “to be overly politically correct and police others’ words.”

However, Americans in the poll are divided on whether they consider it an insult to be described as “woke,” with 40 percent calling it an insult and 32 percent calling it a compliment.

Both of these measures break down along party lines, with Republicans more likely than their Democratic counterparts to have a negative understanding of “wokeness” and to consider it an insult.

While 56 percent of Republicans said “wokeness” meant being overly politically correct, 78 percent of Democrats understood the term as being informed on social justice issues.

When asked how they would respond if someone called them “woke,” 60 percent of Republicans said they would consider it to be an insult, while 46 percent of Democrats said they would describe it as a compliment.

This fits right in with Republican politicians waging a so-called war on “wokeness.”

“We fight the woke in the legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob,” DeSantis said after securing his second term as governor in November.

I find it surprising that so many Democrats find a positive in a word that the Republicans have weaponized.

In this country, even Conrad Black of PostMedia got into the act, saying Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whom I consider a real piece of work, was right to mock the wokeness, hypocrisy, and the low demagogy in which the current Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, sometimes engages.

Being of the liberal bent on social issues, I am pretty sure I would be considered woke by those who lean conservative.

But I would prefer that it be simply said that way rather than destroying a harmless and useful word such as woke.

THROUGH THE YEARS living at 43 Idaho Dr. I have had to deliver some mail that got into our mailbox by mistake.

But it has always been within our neighbourhood with the postal code beginning with P6A.

Not this time.

The letter from the Canada Life office in London, ON, was addressed to Michel Mousse, 2780 Rue Claude-Henri-Grignon, Laval, QC, H7L 2A8.

I’m a little late moving it on as it got lost in the junk on my desk. I hadn’t bothered with it originally because it was from London Life, a company with which I have no dealings.
I apologize for the delay but I think in this case Canada Post should share the blame.

AWHILE BACK I did a piece in this column in regard to the increase in prices in grocery stores that came about supposedly because of the pandemic.

I said local stores couldn’t be blamed for all the increases as used Becel margarine as an example.
It had increased in price about $3 for its 904-gram size. The original price of under $7 now ranged between $9 and $10. Its sale price of $3.99 now ranges between $6.99 and $8.50.
And the capper?

It has now found another way to get our money. It has reduced the size of its 904-gram tub down to 850 grams.

Now that is gouging.


  1. woke is lazy right wing dog whistling for the same kind of figuratively texas people who are more interested in protecting kids from drag shows and books than escalating gun violence in schools. then they go complaining about identity politics or something?

    pierre poilievre recently criticized c-11 for empowering “woke” agencies. to any sane person this sounds idiotic and/or weird, but he is aiming for people who live by youtube confirmation bias and get radicalized in online self-selected cults

    people rambling about this crap are not usually looking for good faith conversations but are looking for confirmation bias, YMMV