Have your say: Do you consider yourself to be 'woke'?

·Freelance Writer
·2-min read

After the word was adopted into the mainstream, a new survey has sought to find out whether Britons consider themselves to be ‘woke’.

An import from the US, being woke has its origins in the Black community and its original use was concerning the need to wake up and to stay ‘woke’ to the realities of life for Black people in America.

However, its usage has become more widespread following a rise of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and is now more broadly used for awareness of social injustices.

It has also been adopted as a form of insult, used by opponents as a catch-all term against movements like BLM and climate change groups for their ideologies.

But while the word has become more widespread, research by YouGov has found that just 12% of Brits consider themselves to be woke, compared to 23% who do not.

Watch: PM on president Biden being 'woke'

And while its usage has risen, the research found that when asked if they consider themselves to be woke, some 59% of respondents said they do not know what the term means.

Of those who say they know what woke is, just three in 10 (29%) consider themselves to be woke, while more than half (56%) do not.

One in four (26%) people said they considered being woke to be a good thing, while just over a third (37%) think it a bad thing.

Elsewhere in the survey, the removal of historical statues with links to the slave trade was most commonly associated with being woke, while support for BLM, equality for transgender people and generally being politically correct were also associated with the term.

Boris Johnson was asked earlier this year if he considered newly-elected US president Joe Biden to be woke, but the prime minister simply said there was “nothing wrong” with it.

For UK politicians, the survey found that the term is most commonly associated with Jeremy Corbyn, while just 2% of those who understood the term consider the prime minister to be woke.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/04/17: Protesters hold a Black Lives Matter banner and placards during the Kill The Bill demonstration.
Crowds once again marched in protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Protesters hold a Black Lives Matter banner and placards during a demonstration in London. (Getty)

Last week, a group of Tory MPs urged Johnson to fight back against “woke warriors”.

The pamphlet, released by the Common Sense Group, also urged the PM to force government-funded institutions to "promote British values, traditions and history”.

Gareth Bacon, Tory MP for Orpington, said: “The destructive, totalitarian, divisive, negative and anti-democratic ‘woke’ ideology can be defeated.

“It just needs us to have the courage to stand up and fight it.”

Read more: Tony Blair unleashes stinging attack on ‘woke left’

Watch: Moment protesters tear down Edward Colston statue

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