Dennis Francis
2 min readJun 26, 2022


I understand many people may feel that being forced to change their way of thinking about things seems like tyranny.

They may misunderstand the concept of being “woke”.

The concept of "woke" is not about people being forced to do anything against their will. The most definitive idea of “woke” in my mind is the rules we learned in preschool.

“Woke” is closely tied to being self-aware and sensitive to the needs of others.

The people who are speaking out about "woke" culture are using the term to indicate forced civility. Being "woke" is actually about going back to what I call the "Kindergarten rule".

Being kind and thinking about others is part of it. In other words, it's about treating yourself and others with kindness and respect.

It means to be aware of how you interact with your neighbor.

Being "woke" is awakening to the fact that we are all in this together, although we aren't all alike.

“Cancel culture” is a totally different thing.

It's about silencing people who seem to step out of line. Canceling is a time-honored tradition of villagers everywhere. The internet didn’t start that trend.

“Cancel culture” is wrong because it’s peer oppression. It doesn’t follow the Kindergarten rule.

Whether that person did something obviously wrong is not the point of “cancel culture''.

Canceling is about the power of the righteous and indignant, taking out their feelings of powerlessness and insecurity on someone else.

It's about the people who are deciding how you should act; not out of civility, but out of indignation.

It's not about helping people to see a better way. It's about social punishment.

It’s the story of the stoning of the woman accused of infidelity.

The world is constantly changing. It's natural for certain people to feel that they need to hold on to the past. There's a feeling of empowerment in that.

Unfortunately, the past has not been kind to everyone. Some would like to move on.

Some would like to be in control of their own lives.

Some would like to see themselves in the entertainment they enjoy. Some would like to walk peacefully with those they love, even those they disagree with.

Still, we have a set of social rules that we are supposed to follow. We have a set of social values that seem to be overlooked more often now through social media, political tribalism and the breakdown of our shared reality.

We live in a WWE inspired world where Mister Rogers is scoffed at and the practice of saying 'I'm sorry' or excuse me is a weakness.

We seem to hold fast to our positions, not because we’re sure that we are correct, but because we are afraid of being wrong.

The fact is, it’s ok to be self-aware. It’s fine to think about the welfare of others. Allowing yourself the luxury of listening to others without waiting to respond is a great way to grow and mature emotionally. We don’t have to cancel anyone.

It’s ok to be woke.



Dennis Francis

Retired content marketing consultant. Author, artist, husband, father and owner of Still helping small business owners daily.