Hi everyone. I am astounded at a transcript of a citizen comment transcribed from a recent City Council meeting, shared privately on Facebook this morning. One using the term “woke drift happening in City Council recently” as a dog whistle for homophobia, racism and more. The citizen who commented publicly to City Council made his point highly clear asking for a “Constitution Day” proclamation. Coming straight off Mayor Davis’ proclamation that June was “Pride Month” here in Edmond. The same individual liberties this person speaks of wanting, appears to be offensive to him when applied to others. This is simply contrary but on its face homophobic.

Constitution Day is a thing. It is already nationally recognized on September 17. But so is Citizenship Day, and it recognizes citizen’s from other countries who have become citizen’s of our country. The commenter either didn’t know this about naturalized citizen’s not born in our country or they were just being willfully obtuse.

The last time I checked, allowing citizens the same recognition celebrating their individual liberties and more is what makes America great. At least it’s supposed to. Back in August, one citizen commenter wanted the city to allow a “Patriots Day” proclamation in reaction to Mayor Davis’ proclaimed “Pride Month” in June. To which a UCO student stated we already had one on July 4. Specifically, September 11th is the official Patriots Day.

Let’s start this conversation. When someone states that there is a “woke drift” happening within our City Council and that a date of September 17, 2021 should be named “Constitution Day” it appears to not be a simple request because in fact, this years request for this proclamation just so happens to be the day before there is a J6 Rally (supporting insurrectionists) at the US Capitol in Washington DC. I try to avoid conspiracy theories whether QAnon or otherwise but I believe the commenter was just trying to show his knowledge of what right sided conversations have been espousing.

Then this same commenter stated some sort of disdain for Critical Race Theory within the middle of their 5 minute rant in an effort to throw out another racist dog whistle.

The origins of woke, in this context – as forged by African American communities – dates back at least to the 60s, but its mainstream ubiquity is a recent development. Fueled by black musicians, social media and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the term entered the Oxford English Dictionary only in 2017, by which time it had become as much a fashionable buzzword as a set of values. Some of those who didn’t keep up with the trend felt left behind: if you didn’t know the meaning of woke, you weren’t.

Rather than rejecting the concept of wokeness outright, today’s detractors often claim they are rejecting the word as a signifier of pretentiousness and “cultural elitism”.

However, as Fox and others have shown, it is as much to do with the issues of racial and social justice.

Criticizing “woke culture” has become a way of claiming victim status for yourself rather than acknowledging that more deserving others hold that status. It has gone from a virtue signal to a dog whistle.

In my personal opinion, there are a small highly vocal group of people who fear any group who threaten their way of life, for whatever reasons they might give or have, claiming those who don’t believe their thoughts are somehow unpatriotic and a danger to our community and country. I have yet to hear a good reason as to why someone who is LBGTQ2A+ threatens their way of life, nor how a BIPOC individual’s mere existence threatens anyone’s way of life. We all are seeking to live in a community that is thriving with a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and to be able to pay our way. Nothing more or less. The devisive nature of these public comments repeatedly to our city council and Mayor are simply sad.

The only dog whistle being understood from these publicly made statements by those from outside of our community, who may be choosing to make Edmond their home for their business or themselves, is that residents of our town are uneducated and/or do not understand the terms they are publicly espousing are racist and homophobic. I love Edmond but these outbursts are highly cringe worthy at the least and highly offensive in specifically or vaguely dehumanizing anyone who isn’t wealthy, straight and white.

Perhaps these outbursts are about something more. I understand people in our community want to show their pride for it, but claiming a “woke drift” isn’t the way to go about continuing a conversation about inclusivity. We are seeing the middle class be squeezed by inflation, by home prices increasing over 20% in over 18 months and more. It seems easy to blame these inequities on some and claim somehow they are the ones who are causing a growing “problem” in our community. I love the diversity that Edmond has going on right now and it is making our community more rich, and that sadly some would not prefer.

I witnessed some horrific behavior at two events by citizen’s that were older. This isn’t Fried Green Tomatoes. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you can dehumanize someone based on the color of their skin or even their economic status, in front of their face. No. I live by the motto that “If you see something say something”. Don’t do this. It makes you look like an ass, and it’s embarrassing for Edmond, the city you claim you want to protect from anything that “appears to be bad for business”.

This op ed wasn’t meant as a concrete opinion, but as a conversation starter. Oh. And after receiving some comments that I should go to hell and die Monday, I share my opinion with you. And, I will die eventually, and can guarantee I will not be going to hell.

We have an amazing City Council and Mayor who all want to understand the odd ramblings of incoherent conspiracy theories that are thrown at them in transcribed citizen comments. Stop though. We want them to be working on awesome ways to make our community livable and relevant to ours and our future citizen’s needs.

Be nice, be useful and helpful or be quiet. That is my opinion.

Sherri