We all watched as Matt McGorry went from the cute prison guard in Orange is the New Black to that woke white guy who’s using his celebrity influence to raise awareness around injustice and inequality. Thanks to the Internet and the removal of media gatekeepers, we’ve seen a growing number of prominent celebrities (what up, Penn Badgley!) wake up to the harsh realities that people of color face. Anyone who can access the web has a voice now, and while the Internet can be a breeding ground for hatred, it's also a place where we can learn from each others' experiences.
I know I'm not alone in waking up to the subtle and insidious ways that racism permeates the lives of so many Americans. Although I doubt most white people believe we're living in a "post-racial America," hearing stories from POCs about their experiences with racism is eye-opening. From rampant police brutality and heightened incarceration rates to socioeconomic inequality and job discrimination, there's an entire segment of America that many white people are unaware of.
At least, that's until they wake the hell up, and see what's going on around them. When white people go from oblivious to activist, there’s a certain pattern that emerges. Here are the seven stages of getting "woke":