Woke terms

Wordlist and vocabulary with example sentences

What is woke?

woke (adjective): A state of heightened social consciousness, particularly regarding issues of systemic oppression, discrimination, and social justice. - Her activism reflected her woke perspective on racial equality.
wokeism (noun): the behaviour and attitudes of people who are sensitive to social and political injustice. - She retired from the university staff after tiring of the incessant wokeism.
wokery (noun): derogatory term for wokeism. - A university has been attacked for wokery gone mad after it advised staff against using the terms "mother" and "father" to avoid bias.


Each of the following terms, listed in alphabetical order, has 1) a basic definition and 2) an example sentence showing how the term may be used in context.

allyship (noun): Supporting and advocating for marginalized communities by using one's privilege to challenge systemic injustices. - She showed her allyship by actively amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups in meetings and discussions.

colorism (noun): Discrimination or prejudice based on skin color, often within the same racial or ethnic group. - Colorism can lead to lighter-skinned individuals receiving preferential treatment compared to those with darker skin.

critical race theory (noun): An academic framework examining the intersections of race, power, and systemic racism in society. - Critical Race Theory analyzes how racial prejudices are embedded in legal and educational systems.

cultural activism (noun): Promoting social and political change through artistic expression, cultural practices, and community engagement. - The dance performance was a powerful form of cultural activism, raising awareness about indigenous rights.

cultural appropriation (noun): Adopting elements of another culture without understanding or respecting its historical and social context. - Wearing a sacred tribal headdress as a fashion statement is an act of cultural appropriation.

decolonization (noun): The process of challenging and dismantling colonial ideologies, structures, and legacies. - Decolonization involves reevaluating historical narratives and empowering indigenous communities to reclaim their culture.

gender binary (noun) The classification of gender into strictly male and female categories, disregarding non-binary and gender fluid identities. - Recognizing only 'man' and 'woman' ignores the diverse range of gender identities beyond the gender binary.

identity politics (noun): Recognition of how individual and group identities influence power dynamics and social issues. - Identity politics emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the unique experiences of marginalized communities.

intersectionality (noun): The recognition of how various forms of oppression (for example, race, gender, class) intersect and compound each other. - Intersectionality acknowledges that individuals can face discrimination based on multiple aspects of their identity.

marginalization (noun): The systematic exclusion or relegation of certain groups to the fringes of society. - People with disabilities often face marginalization.

microaggression (noun): Subtle, often unintentional, acts or comments that demean or marginalize individuals based on their identity. - His constant remarks about her accent were microaggressions that made her feel alienated.

oppression (noun): The unjust exercise of power and control over individuals or groups, often resulting in discrimination and inequality. - The oppressive regime suppressed freedom of speech and violated basic human rights.

privilege (noun): Unearned advantages granted to individuals based on their social, economic, or racial background. - Growing up in a wealthy neighborhood, he was unaware of the privilege he had until he learned about systemic inequalities.

queer theory (noun): An academic framework that explores and challenges normative assumptions about gender, sexuality, and identity. - Queer theory critiques the societal norms that limit people's understanding of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

safe space (noun): A supportive environment that fosters open dialogue, respect, and emotional safety for marginalized individuals. - The LGBTQ+ support group created a safe space where members could share their experiences without fear of judgment.

social construct (noun): A concept or idea created and maintained by society that shapes perceptions and norms. - Money is a social construct that society agrees upon as a medium of exchange for goods and services.

social justice (noun): The pursuit of fairness and equity in society, addressing systemic injustices and advocating for marginalized groups. - Her activism was driven by a deep commitment to social justice and equality for all.

systemic oppression (noun): Institutionalized practices and structures that perpetuate inequality and discrimination. - Systemic oppression manifests through discriminatory policies that limit access to education and job opportunities.

tokenism (noun): Superficial inclusion of individuals from marginalized groups to give the appearance of diversity. - She felt like she was hired as a token minority employee, with her ideas often ignored or dismissed.

white fragility (noun): Defensive reactions and resistance from white individuals when confronted with discussions about race or racism. - His white fragility was evident when he dismissed the experiences of people of colour during the conversation.

Reference and further resources