Orangeburg; South Carolina — The State newspaper, one of South Carolina’s major media outlets, posted a questionable article to their Facebook page in October. Titled “Chick-fil-A puts out a ‘woke’ cookbook,” it stirred up several comments of disapproval, mostly due to the headline itself.
Although it was written by The Street’s Veronika Bondarenko, The State faced major backlash for posting it. One comment underneath the post said, ““Woke” is an overused term that has lost its meaning.”
Another user responded to this comment with, “RIGHT! And it’s only the media calling this cookbook “woke” because addressing food waste isn’t polarizing!”
The contents of the article shared information about the Extra Helpings: Inspiring Stories and Imaginative Recipes from Chick-fil-A Shared Table. The fast-food company released a free cookbook with the goal of raising awareness about food insecurity and food waste.
Readers felt that the term “woke” was used because it is a controversial hot topic.
One user commented, “Clickbait to get people stirred up. No conservative in their right mind, or deranged mind, would consider this woke.”
The term "woke" gained mainstream popularity in the early 2010s, especially after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and was used within Black communities and social justice campaigns to refer to an awareness of inequality, with some urging others to "stay woke."
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines woke as “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”
In recent years the word “woke” has been redefined and weaponized by politicians. Florida Governor and 2024 Presidential election candidate Ron DeSantis defines woke as “a form of cultural Marxism,” according to an article by the Washington Post.
The article has since been taken off of The State’s website.
Tyuanna Williams (she/her/hers) is a senior mass communications major at Claflin University. She is working with YR Media as a Poynter and Google News Initiative Misinformation Student Fellow. Follow her on X: @tyuannasw.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett