Conservative Author Struggles To Define 'Woke' in Clip With 2m Views

Conservative author Bethany Mandel struggled to define the word "woke" while criticizing it in a clip that has now gone viral.

On The Hill's web series Rising, Mandel spoke to Briahna Joy Gray about her latest book and her issues with progressives or leftists and their influence on children.

At one point during the interview, Gray questioned what Mandel meant by "woke." Mandel responded that she could not give it a clear definition in a clip that has been viewed more than 2 million times.

Stock image of a teacher showing a group of students something on a laptop. A conservative author struggled to give a clear answer when tasked with defining what woke is during an interview. Getty

The term "woke" is often used by Republicans and other conservatives to attack or critique Democrats or progressives, but it is rarely well-defined. This has enabled individuals to create an opposing ideology or type of person to attack without going into greater detail as to what that person believes. The term is often employed in reference to cultural conflicts between various social groups.

Mandel, explaining the views of her book, Stolen Youth, co-written by herself and Karol Markowicz, argued that progressives are waging a battle to indoctrinate American youth through multiple avenues including politics, education, mental health, and entertainment.

Mandel said: "The crux of the book's argument is that there is a woke reimagining of our society and it is happening in a lot of different ways and in a lot of different areas of our lives. Karol and I wanted to talk a lot about how this sort of interferes with childhood as it is happening in America right now."

"There is a lot of chatter on what is happening on college campuses but not enough about children," she said.

Merriam-Webster defines the word as being "aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)."

The dictionary also offers a second definition of the slang term which can be used disapprovingly: "Politically liberal (as in matters of racial and social justice) especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme."

Mandel said: "There are a lot of things that are sort of a right versus left conversation, but this is not one of them. I think there are a lot of people for whom this argument resonates and it is not just a right-left issue.

"We hope that parents of all political stripes will pick up the book. This is sort of a woke reimagining that is very, very, very far left.

"Only 7 percent of Americans consider themselves very liberal and probably fewer of them consider themselves to be woke."

Gray interrupted to ask what "woke" means to her and asked her to give a wider definition.

Mandel replied: "So, I mean, woke is sort of the idea that... this is going to be one of those moments that goes viral.

"Woke is something that is very hard to define and [in the book] we have spent an entire chapter defining it.

"It is the sort of understanding that we need to totally reimagine and reduce society in order to create hierarchies of oppression. Sorry, it is hard to explain in a 15-second sound bite."

Last week, New York Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez attacked Republicans' use of the term "woke" and criticized the lack of a clear definition.

In a clip that was widely shared on social media, AOC said she was frustrated that politicians were discussing whether the federal government had become too "woke."

During a House Oversight Committee hearing, she said that some politicians have used the term to attack Democratic policies without explaining what is it that they oppose.

Ocasio-Cortez said: "We're having a hearing right now and it's about what, the that the federal government is too woke? I mean, that's seriously what we're hearing. There's no definition of what woke is.

"But on paper, what's actually being criticized in this hearing is that the so-called 'woke' policies are remote work for federal workers, especially those that live in rural areas and those who have disabilities, paying interns so that critical opportunities don't just go to privileged kids whose parents can afford to pay for their rent while they go on a free internship.

"That's what is woke here. That is what the other side is calling woke."

Newsweek has contacted Bethany Mandel via email for comment.