Are You Woke: The State of Black Consciousness

many students happily posing for photo inside of a meeting room
CSUN students at the fist Black History Month lecture "Is the African Aesthetic Dead?" presented by Professor Glocke and Dr. Hackett. Photo credit: Andrea Esparza

“Woke” is a term used frequently, but what exactly does it mean? Being woke is to be self conscious – which is CSUN’s theme for Black History Month. “State of Black Consciousness 2.0: Merging Knowledge and Applications”; Creating the Framework for self-consciousness is revealing the prejudices that African Americans face while intertwining it with other cultures and ethnicities in regards to history, art, and economics.

The Africana Studies department kicked off Black History Month with a faculty lecture “Is the Black Aesthetic Dead” presented by Professor Aimee Glocke and assisted by Professor Cedric Hackett. This presentation explored trap music, twerking and the Black Panther in a Postmodern Era – exposing students to the power of the black community and the significance of self consciousness.

“When we look at self-consciousness we have to look at it in a generational position because when we look at it in historical memory it gets lost in translations,” Hackett said. “When you are looking at black consciousness you have to look at it from the prospect of ancestors, but also on how contrary society changes and appropriate that knowledge.”

It is in awareness that we have the ability to control what we, the audience of society, listen to. We have the power to acknowledge the insensitivity to one’s race and we have the power to respond to insensitivities. The power to spread a proper and improper representation of one’s heritage is up to us as individuals.

This power is inescapable which is why self-consciousness is extremely important, it enables one to be able to detect and exile racial adversities. Professor Glocke explained how she hopes to bridge the past and the present, and in the future share these concepts with a more enlightened generation who can identify with social consciousness.

“At the end of the day, it’s about being woke and understanding what’s going on around you, reflecting what’s going around you and how it’s affecting you and then begin to see how you can make a positive change,” Glocke said.

Black history month at CSUN is a moment to open our minds and explore culture. This month is about allowing yourself to think outside the box into the harsh reality and realizing everything is connected in some shape or form. Gaining the ability to see how one’s culture is constantly evolving through every generation, but continues to embody spirituality and unity. Some call this the state of self-consciousness, while many call this being woke.

“All people have African roots so whether or not you’re latino, Asian, or Asian American you have African roots somewhere in the world so our idea is that we not only focus on the African people but incorporate everyone, liberating everyone,” Glocke said. “When obstacles are eliminated in front of black people it helps everyone including LGBTQ individuals. There are so many people who find a home in black studies because we just allow you to be you.”

The Africana studies department will be hosting the various events throughout the month of February. To receive more information about these events visit the Africana Studies department website.