Cori Bush Exposes the Truth: ‘Anti-Woke’ Is the New ‘Anti-Black

In a powerful House Oversight Committee hearing held on Tuesday, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri) fearlessly dismantled the GOP’s newest crusade against “wokeness,” asserting that the right’s use of the term as a derogatory label is thinly veiled contempt for Black people.

Bush, a Black racial justice activist herself, brought to light the term’s origin within Black communities advocating against police and government-enforced anti-Black violence. She harked back to the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri protests over the police killing of Michael Brown. Amidst that turbulent period, Black activists encouraged one another to “stay woke” to the oppressive anti-Black forces surrounding them.

In Bush’s powerful words, “When that came about, we said we ‘woke up’ because we won’t allow anyone else to do this to us without us fighting back. And so when you say ‘I’m anti-woke,’ when you talk about wokeness, you’re saying ‘I’m anti-Black and I don’t want Black people to speak up for themselves.'”

The phrase “anti-woke” has become a trendy catch-all for the right, tossed at anything they seem to dislike. Corporate ESG investments, the paranoid conspiracy theory of “cultural Marxism,” or any company that seeks to ensure equal opportunity hiring laws – all are dubbed “woke,” and thus deplorable, by the right.

This tactic of branding everything as “woke” has rendered the term virtually meaningless in the mouths of Republicans, serving merely as a smokescreen to hide racist or bigoted intentions. This was embarrassingly highlighted in a recent interview with right-wing writer Bethany Mandel, who struggled to define the term “woke” despite promoting a book allegedly exposing the so-called “woke agenda.”

Even former President Donald Trump has acknowledged the term’s hollowness while ironically using it to brand the military as “woke,” demonstrating the inconsistent application of the term within the right-wing rhetoric.

However, as Bush so eloquently stated, the truth is that the misuse of the term is a strategy to mask the GOP’s deeply entrenched racism and bigotry.

In a call to arms, Bush implored Democrats to resist the GOP’s “war on woke.” Recognizing that their campaign is an insidious attack on Black and other marginalized communities, she emphasized the need for Democrats to push back against this increasingly prevalent narrative.

“As Democrats, we’ve got to push back on the GOP’s ‘war on woke.’ We know it’s rooted in anti-Blackness. We cannot sit idly by as these folks get in front of cameras and yell ‘woke’ at everything,” she passionately expressed on Twitter on Wednesday. “It’s our communities that the GOP is targeting. We have to stand up for us.”

Bush’s statement rings out loud and clear: it’s time to challenge the ‘anti-woke’ rhetoric for what it truly is – an ‘anti-Black’ stance disguised in a fashionable buzzword.