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Being ‘Woke’ Is Not a Sin — UK’s First Black Woman Bishop Blasts Politicians Who Misuse Term

The Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Church of England’s first Black woman bishop, has taken aim at politicians who use the term “woke” in a derogatory manner, saying they are among those “who are threatened” by the social justice movement.

Bishop Hudson-Wilkin’s comments come amid a broader debate about using the word “woke” and its perceived evolution. Originally used within African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) to describe awareness of social and racial injustice, it has increasingly been adopted and repurposed by mainstream media and political commentators, often with negative connotations — particularly in the United States.

People who use “woke” as a derogatory term “want others to think it was a ‘sin created by the left,'” the bishop of Dover said, according to The Guardian.

The Right Rev. Hudson-Wilkin made the remarks to the General Synod, the Church of England’s legislative body.

The bishop highlighted the historical context of the term “woke,” explaining its roots in Black American vernacular and its use as a call “to wake up and stay alert, to be consciously aware.”

“Those who are threatened by the authenticity of this movement want to scare us into thinking that being woke is a sin created by people on the left. But as the people of God, we should never be afraid or embarrassed of being called an advent people, always in the business of preparing and staying alert,” Hudson-Wilkin said.

Hudson-Wilkins’ remarks add a significant voice to this debate, urging a more nuanced understanding of the term and cautioning against its misuse for political gain.

“The racial justice mandate flows not from identity politics, but from our primary identity in Christ,” she said. “The gospel calls us to prophetically address head-on the evils in our society, indeed in our world, which leave some parts of humanity dehumanized.”

The General Synod voted unanimously in favor of all Church of England parishes creating “action plans to address racial injustice” and all districts collecting racial and ethnic data.

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