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Street Smart

I'm OK not being 'woke'


I got a call from my buddy the other day that had me cracking up and provided the topic for this week. Before I explain why I laughed so much, I have to provide a little background.

My friend Cody is a no-nonsense, straight forward, plain spoken kind of guy. What you see is what you get and that’s one of the many things I admire about him. You’re never left wondering where Cody stands on an issue, or, where you stand with him. When I first started this column, Cody bought me a bumper sticker that I have proudly displayed behind my bar. It says, “When I say I’m Street Smart, I mean Sesame Street”. Cody is not a sensitive man!

So why was his call so funny? First of all, like me, Cody doesn’t like talking on the phone. When he does call me, I figure it must be for a reason other than to just chat. Here’s how the call went:

“Hey Cody, what’s going on?”

“Well, I just got finished watching the news and I have a question. You’re always reading about all this stuff so I figured you might know. What does ‘woke’ mean?”

I know Cody well and started laughing out loud as I answered, “Well, I can tell you that ‘woke’ is exactly the opposite of what you are!”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Well, do you believe that because you were born a white person that have some sort of privilege over anyone who wasn’t born white?”

“No, I don’t think I’m better than anyone else.”

“Okay, do you believe that white people are the cause of all of the social problems in the nation?”


“Well then, you aren’t ‘woke’.”

“Good…I‘ll just stay asleep! Okay…I’ll talk to you later.” Click.

All of the talk about racism and being “woke” is pretty prominent in the news, as is discussion about “cancel culture.” Both of these topics fascinate me and I marvel at how we got here (Cody knows this and that may be why he called me). Now there’s also a great deal of discussion about teaching Critical Race Theory in the schools. Three distinct, yet related, topics, but I’ll focus on “woke” because of the conversation I had with Cody.

Back when I started all this, I used my first column to introduce myself. At the time I had foolishly included an email address. After the column appeared in The Ledger, I received a message regarding what I had written. The author of that email explained to me that the words I used to describe myself were proof that I am a racist. The writer stated to me that I’m not “woke” and won’t be until I admit that, as a white person, I’m responsible for all of the social problems in America. This person explained to me that I had to acknowledge my “white privilege” before I could intelligently discuss race issues. I found that quite interesting. Here was a person who knew nothing about me, (my background, experiences, trials, etc.,) making a judgment regarding my beliefs. That was about two years ago and I didn’t think much of it. Just another opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own. However, it dawned on me after my talk with Cody, that this is exactly what is going on all over America today.

We see it in the news on a daily basis. People who identify as “woke” and don’t know anything about the people they are judging, are passing judgment on others because of their white skin color. Am I the only one seeing the irony here? Isn’t that the definition of racism? These people are using a racist ideology to attack people they believe to be bigoted! Absolutely absurd.

Mainstream media is buying into all of this crap and actively reporting it. Watch the news! You’ll see white people attacked and blamed for every societal ill. You’ll never read this, but how would it look if another ethnicity was described in a similar manner? Imagine if all green people were identified as having a criminal nature simply because of their skin color (apologies to any Martians reading this. I was simply looking for an example). That would never fly and anyone suggesting such a theory would be castigated. Yet, we sit by while all white people are attacked as racist simply because of skin color. The mayor of Chicago (a black female self-proclaimed “woke” person) recently announced that she wouldn’t sit for an interview with a white person!

We’re also seeing it happen to law enforcement. There is a brewery in Washington that has the letters “ACAB” on the bottom of beer cans. ACAB stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.” Isn’t that a bigoted statement (particularly when we acknowledge the fact that all ethnicities and marginalized groups are represented in law enforcement)? Yet, where’s the uproar from the left? Shouldn’t liberals be offended as a matter of principle? As an experiment, remove the word “cops” and replace it with any race or marginalized group. I think that will clarify my point. Classic liberal hypocrisy!

For the record, I don’t buy into any of the racial B.S. I’m not at all interested in the color of a person’s skin, their sexual preference, their political affiliation or religious beliefs. All that matters to me when I decide who I want to associate with is the content of that person’s character. Simple as that.

I’m with my friend Cody. If being “woke” means passing judgment on others based on skin color or profession, I want no part of it.

Blaine Blackstone is a retired Los Angeles Police Sergeant who enjoys the simpler life in Thompson Falls.


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