CNN host Don Lemon accused Republicans and conservative commentators on Friday of using the term “woke” to score political points and of not knowing what it actually means, while admonishing his leftist colleagues to stop using the word because it’s “not a good look.”
(Video Credit: CNN)
“Oh boy,” Lemon kicked off the discussion taking aim at conservatives. “The hottest fight in the American culture wars right now is over wokeness. Republican politicians and media figures blame wokeness for everything from censorship to bank failures.”
“What exactly does it mean to be woke?” Lemon asked his “CNN This Morning” co-hosts.
He then did his very best to twist the term into some kind of laudable trait for leftists.
“It is not about defining people for a characteristic,” the CNN host claimed, attempting to correct Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s definition of the term and failing.
“It is being aware. It is about being aware of issues that have to do with minorities, destruction of the country, issues that have to do with women. Issues that have to do with any marginalized community. That’s what it is — not defining people,” he disingenuously asserted.
"It's divisive to tell us that we are nothing more than the characteristics we inherit on the day we are born."
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy tells CNN's @kaitlancollins why he is "anti-woke." @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Jixnad1Ue9
— CNN (@CNN) March 12, 2023
Lemon continued his fixation on the descriptive term, trying to own it for the left. However, he did admit to telling his friends in private not to use the word.
“It’s being aware of the structural injustices in our society and trying to be better, not trying to cancel people. I think that he’s wrong on that,” Lemon commented, taking a swipe at Ramaswamy. “I always tell my friends who, you know, use ‘woke.’ I’m like, don’t use that word. You know, there are certain words, like, it’s not a good look.”
Ramaswamy didn’t hesitate when defining ‘wokism’ during a CNN interview as “becoming alert to invisible societal injustices generally based on inherited characteristics like race, sex, and sexual orientation and then being called upon to act on those injustices using whatever potential legal means are necessary, including the market.”
“My criticism of this is I think it’s inherently divisive to tell us we’re nothing more than the characteristics we inherit on the day we’re born,” Ramaswamy proclaimed.
“The View” co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin appeared on the show with Lemon and argued that wokeness means “different things to different people.”
Griffin contended that “woke” means “caring about social justice causes and being actively involved in them.”
“But to the other half of the country,” she continued, “it is generally interpreted to mean more of a fear of cancel culture.”
Lemon clapped back, claiming that her take was incorrect and that the term “woke” has been “co-opted by conservatives and people running for office.”
Griffin stated that Republicans should focus on “cancel culture” over wokeness because it is more “tangible.”
“That is a valid fight that resonates with people,” she noted concerning cancel culture.
She claimed that she didn’t care about wokeness as a “Republican voter and a base voter.”
“I don’t know that I think it’s a lasting argument,” she remarked.
Earlier in the discussion, Lemon played a video clip where conservative columnist Bethany Mandel was asked to define exactly what “woke” meant by The Hill’s Briahna Joy Gray and she tripped over it.
(Video Credit: The Hill)
“Americans consider themselves very liberal, and probably fewer of them consider themselves to be woke. And so, you know, when we talk about traditional…” Mandel stated.
“Well, what does that mean to you? Would you mind defining woke? Because it’s come up a couple of times. I just want to make sure we’re on the same page,” co-host Briahna Joy Gray asked.
“So, I mean, woke is sort of the idea that um… (long pause) This is going to be one of those moments that goes viral. I mean, woke is something that’s very hard to define. And we’ve spent an entire chapter defining it. It is sort of the understanding that we need to re, totally re-imagine and re, and redo society in order to create hierarchies of oppression. Um… (long pause) Sorry, I. It’s hard to explain in a 15-second soundbite,” Mandel replied, stumbling.
Lemon and Griffin laughed out loud over the clip of Mandel’s brain freeze and then launched into their own incomplete interpretations of the term.
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