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So, What Exactly Is ‘Wokefishing’ Anyway?

The name of the dating game is playing woke.

Dating

We've heard of catfishing, blackfishing, and now the new phenomenon in the dating game is wokefishing. As if dating couldn't get any more complicated. With online dating getting a resurgence amid the pandemic, there is a slew of online users who are utilizing an all-new manipulative tactic to reel you in, get a date, and/or try to get you in bed. And it has everything to do with being woke.

No, we aren't talking hoteps. We're specifically talking about baits its unsuspecting daters into thinking that they're aligned with womanist views or that they've read and reread Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot, or that the thoughts they have about the latest in politics directly mirror yours. Also, #BLM isn't just a trend for them, it's a lifestyle. For all intents and purposes, the person that's your 'match' on this app has political views that are so left, they can't even see right, and the depth they portray tap into your deepest sapiosexual fantasies. Well ladies, without even realizing, you might be getting wokefished. And since what you're seeing isn't what you're getting, therein lies the issue.

Before you have a panic attack and throw your phone, let me provide insight into exactly what wokefishing is and how you can avoid being baited into this ever happening to you.

So, what is wokefishing?

Coined by VICE, wokefishing is a dating term that refers to people that portray themselves as being "woke" or having progressive political ideologies and views as a means to lure in partners who have those beliefs. Furthermore, a person wokefishing "may present themselves as a protest-attending, sex-positive, anti-racist, and an intersectional feminist." However, in reality, they use that to waste your time and piss you off. Depending on the climate, they use a moment in time to reel prospects. For example, when the death of Black lives at the police's hands is circulating in the news, those who indulge in wokefishing may lead the conversations about racism and how pro-black or anti-racist they may be to appeal to your interest in social justice issues.

The political landscape is no longer something to veer away from with perfect strangers. In fact, politics tends to spew over into our everyday lives. Whether it be at work, the news, something we see on social media, or life imitating art on movies and shows, we've come to a point where we are forced to think deeper. Our initial conversations in dating apps sometimes reflects this. Ice breakers these days look more like social issues and the unapologetic battle cry of "arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor". Wokefishers take advantage of appearing to have a connection with you by capitalizing on a perceived shared interest in social issues.

How do you spot a wokefisher?

Study The Non-Verbal Cues

What a person doesn't say tends to speak louder than what they do say. So, if your date's intentions become called into question, keep an eye on their response to certain scenarios. For example, casually ask them a question about a viral video or a new cause picking up steam, pay attention to what they do. Are they pretending to seem up-to-date on matters, do they look confused or seem unclear on the subject overall? Do they tend to allow you to do more of the talking to seem more engrossed in your opinion? If conversations seem to be one-sided, with no feedback or opinion, that's a red flag.

Speaking of red flags...

If Someone Is Trying Too Hard To Gain Your Trust, It's A Red Flag

I don't know about you but I get turned off by men who try too hard. Persistence I can deal with, but going above and beyond to gas me up and not being authentic in the process is something different. Having someone always saying "amen" to your thoughts and opinions without rarely giving any of their own might seem like a match-made in effortless heaven, but a vibe with no pushback and no offering of a different perspective, does not make for an interesting conversation. What you might be experiencing instead is a lot of love-bombing, which is another manipulative technique daters do in order to leave your mind all twisted up and accelerate the connection in the process.

Indirectly Inquire About Topics That Reveal Their Core Beliefs

The wokefisher will allow you to talk so that they can agree to everything. The hope is that the agreeance will make you feel bonded to them, and rather quickly at that. To test how "woke" the person you're interacting with really is, try asking specific questions regarding whatever topic at hand. If the person you're talking to states that they're a feminist, then ask what it is about feminism that makes them a supporter? Ask about ideals or perspectives that might be rooted in feminism, like inclusion and equal pay in the workplace, and have them expound on those ideals. Likewise, a sex-positive dater should be able to dabble in hot topics like "WAP" with nuance that suggests they are confident in women owning their sexuality unapologetically. If they look at you dazed and confused or state views that are in direct opposition of their "stance", then run sis. They are not the one and should not even be a contender.

There are so many pitfalls that come from online it can be difficult to keep up. With so many rules and regulations that come with another set of rules and regulations, it can be discouraging. But, if we ask the right questions and not ignore the red flags, we will save ourselves so much time. Wokefishing being one of them.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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