Get Woke

 

IMG_0009Both sorts of narratives—historical narratives and fiction narratives—have certain kinds of advantages. One advantage that fictional narratives have is their ability to mimic or create a wonderful, accurate, if not realistic view of a person’s interiority…That’s not necessarily the interest or the claim of most historical texts. They are trying to give us different kinds of information. I think that we need both, and many other kinds of narratives, to begin to address any historical period. But, I think that people are especially susceptible, especially vulnerable to tales that foreground the human. People connect with people strongly, palpably, emphatically in ways that they don’t connect with figures and they don’t connect with theories and they don’t connect with abstractions.”

-Junot Diaz

The expression get woke was recently explained to me by my university-student-daughter. She said, it’s about knowing what is really going on, educating yourself, and doing something about it.

When I look at the current landscape, I see such division—not just in agreeing what the problems are, but also how to address them. And this is exactly why I take issue with political pundit Ben Shapiro’s statement that facts don’t care about your feelings.

It’s true that facts are facts, but anyone who has studied history or statistics knows that numbers can be manipulated to further one’s political agenda. A statistic won’t erase my pain or memories or dread, and silencing one’s story gnaws at the soul. I think we need to care about feelings!

We need facts and feelings. As Diaz explains, we need all kinds of narratives. We need the history and facts and statistics; and we also need the stories, the anecdotes the re-tellings. We need to know the interiority of people’s lives. We need to know pain and fear and struggles, even—and especially—when it makes us uncomfortable. We need you and me and all the colors and religions and differences. We need to raise ourselves from the depravity of our current vulgar landscape and get woke. Not tomorrow. Today.

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