“So, what do you make of all this wokeism about slavery and statues?” It’s not a question that I expected to be asked early yesterday morning while watching the sun come up over the Maine coast. The elderly woman, who posed the question, initially approached me to say hello to Otis, but we soon realized that we both once lived in central Virginia. I eventually made the mistake of sharing that I am a historian, who specializes in the Civil War era.
Your response was outstanding. There’s really no way to figure out if the woman was baiting you, seeking validation, or seriously interested to hear your opinion. Your reply signaled that those issues are not simply black or white, as her use of “wokeism” would imply.
I wholeheartedly agree that we need to connect with others outside of politics. Dogs are an excellent means to making those connections; everyone needs a dog.😁
Assuming she's white, you probably did the right thing. Enjoy the weekend!
I think you did the right thing. Both for you and for the person you encountered. You need to be able to turn it off, I know I do. And it doesn't sound like she was asking because she was interested in your informed professional opinion. Like you I think it important to engage in these discussions but I think you choose the time and place--you need your alone time too.
I don't blame you at all for not engaging! Your post reminds me of my friend David Campt, a "dialogue expert" (PhD) who specializes in teaching white people how to have effective conversations with other white people about racism (he's Black). Great guy! https://www.davidcampt.com/
I have to confess, I would probably have engaged the woman, and ruined what had been a pleasant interaction. I can offer up a lot of reasons why I would have done so, but I think the bottom line would be a very visceral and combative response to folks using "code words" like "woke" has become. Kudos to you for holding your fire!