Celebrity stylist, photographer and writer, Ayishat Akanbi, discusses the problem with wokeness right now, and the solutions for a kinder world with Wokeness 2.0 for Double Down News.
Akanbi's frames her message with the need for more empathy in the world. In the video she says, "Once you have compassion and empathy, you can often see that you have a lot more in common with people than you do apart."
She remarks on how the ways in which society functions forces us to see our differences. We subconsciously fall into that habit, and wokeness has opened our eyes to that pitfall, but our awareness has led to more division, rather than unity.
Akanbi believes that labels are helpful right now because they help us find strength in our differences and inclusion in communities, but she hopes in the future we won't need them anymore. Because we aren't as different as we are making ourselves out to be right now.
Akanbi points out that the central issue with wokeness is its tendency to reduce very complex issues into simple, black and white matters that can be easily answered with "right" or "wrong."
We tend to talk about what we are instead of who we are, which inhibits any possibility for nuance. Without nuance, we get angry and defensive when our beliefs are questioned, instead of critical and thoughtful. Without nuance, our ego gets in the way of understanding. Without understanding we can never progress, things will never change.
Akanbi imparts a lesson I believe everyone could benefit from: "I'm just asking for us to be more honest with ourselves, to think about why these issues are happening and to not be so reactionary. To be responsive and to be critical."
If we can do this, and approach each other with kindness and empathy, the world can truly become a better place to live.
As Akanbi says, "Once you understand yourself it's very easy to understand everyone else, so easy, because we're actually not that different."