Being called ‘woke’ by older people an ‘insult’ says Suffolk students

Marchers walk past the George Floyd Memorial during a protest at the shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright

Students from Suffolk One college in Ipswich say that being called 'woke' is an 'insult'. - Credit: Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Students from Suffolk One’s Ethnic Youth Empowerment Society (EYES) say that being called ‘woke’ by older generations is an ‘insult’ and older people should try to be more understanding.  

This discussion over the divisive word comes after a BBC article saw a headteacher calling for older generations to stop using the word as a may to mock youngsters who are simply passionate about topical causes.  

But what does ‘woke’ mean and where did it come from? 

According to Google, the term woke originated in the US and means to be alert to injustice, especially about causes such as racism and LGBTQ+ rights.  

But over the last few years the term has more negative meaning with some people using the word to describe others who find problems to campaign about. 

Clarissa, 17, argues against this and says young people are just fighting for the basics.  

She said: “Currently we have the human rights that they didn’t have. Even though they are just basic human rights - it’s too much for them.

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“The term woke has been integrated by older generations - even if they are people of colour. They tell younger generations that they didn’t experience the same racism that the older generations experience.

One Sixth Form College in Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Clarissa, 17, says young people are fighting for 'basic human rights.' - Credit: Gregg Brown


“It undermines our experience to put leverage on them, but just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re wiser.”   

Fahima, 16, goes one step further arguing that the issues that young people are fighting for shouldn’t fall on to their shoulders.  

“The whole idea of being woke is about raising awareness of something that really shouldn’t be the priority of children.  

“It’s unfortunate that these issues have fallen upon children’s eyes. It’s upsetting to be called woke when really, it’s a necessity.” 

meanwhile Hannah, 17, adds: “Why do we have to be insulted and disrespected by the older generation for trying to fix their problems that they made - it’s an insult.  

“They want respect but they won’t acknowledge their actions and even if it wasn’t them, it was their whole generation so they should be accountable.” 

Abi, 16, says that things could improve if older people should try to understand where young people are coming from. 

“Older people should relieve their stigma just like what we have had to do. Then they can understand and those conversations about us being too ‘woke’ won’t be a thing anymore.” 

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