The Dilemmas of Woke Culture

Duane Gundrum
6 min readJan 19, 2022

I never really understood why people have problems with woke culture, or with anything that involves the woke mentality. The very nature of “woke culture” essentially means being “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination,” which, on the surface shouldn’t ever be a bad thing. But when you listen to people complain about such movements or ideas, they get all bent out of shape, and seem to think that you’re asking them to slice off their own skin instead of just be aware that not everyone has the best path through life.

Unfortunately, we live in a present society that has been built on a foundation of a belief that people are either winners or losers, especially if you’re a US citizen, and most likely if you’re someone who lives in a civilization that is founded in the economic principles of capitalism. From the very inklings of Manifest Destiny, where we believed that we were somehow “chosen” to inhabit this land as far as it could go (and then once we ran out of land, inhabit whatever else we could find or take from anyone that happened to be camped out on lands around us), we’ve often lived in a society that has believed that certain people are meant to be the winners/the wealthy and others were designated to be the losers/the poor. Hell, the American ideal was built on the idea of bootstrapping yourself to billionaire status, regardless of how many people you had to step on to get to the highest rungs of society.

We currently live in a society where we commend the billionaires and forgive their sins against the poor they railroaded to buy those private planes and yachts while meanwhile we condemn those that had their life-savings stolen from Ponzi schemes and get-rich profiteers, saying that they deserve nothing because they’re those losers we hold with such contempt.

In such a society, is it all that surprising that when we treated people like they didn’t deserve our compassion, that we’d do anything possible to strike back against anyone who might think that it’s time to balance the levels and stop being ruthless to people whose only crime was that they happened to be targeted back in the days when we aimed our negativity at anyone who looked different or might have come from some place we didn’t?

That, itself, is essentially what “woke culture” is all about, but because we’ve gotten so good…

Duane Gundrum

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.