What’s woke-fishing you ask? Well, according to Serna Smith of VICE, who coined the term, woke-fishing is when people, “masquerade as holding progressive political views to ensnare potential partners.” Whew, that’s a word and a spicy one too!
Just like in dating, many organizations, e.g. the ones who all too eagerly put up black squares, quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Marsha P. Johnson, or bell hooks during the times of the year they’re practically expected to ( think Black History Month, Pride and now Juneteenth), woke-fish us every-single-day! It’s exhausting and comically enraging but, then again, in some places, being too “woke” is against the law.
If we take the definition of woke-fishing and expand it beyond “progressive political views” it’s easy to understand how some of the very organizations you may admire, work for or hope to work for, intentionally woke-fish the heck out of the media and various communities through ensnaring actions. Undoubtedly, candidates and employees fall victim during wooing (interview and onboarding) processes too.
By now, you may be wondering whether you have been, or are currently being woke-fished and the unfortunate answer is: It’s highly possible! What’s worse? The systems in place have conditioned you not to notice! Read that AGAIN!
So, what does woke-fishing look like within an organizational setting?
During your interview or onboarding process, were said company’s DEI-focused activities, accolades and “inclusion focused” metrics thrown at you? Were you presented with excessively inspirational examples to support how much “work” and “progress” has been made within the company or worst, ‘randomly’ connected with someone who identifies with a specific community and is willing to “vouch” for said progress?
Were any of the following woven into your processes:
- Mention of George Floyd’s murder or the “racial uprisings” of 2020
- McKinsey’s report detailing challenges women face in the workplace
- Commitments to center employee mental health (largely highlighted by COVID-19’s impact) and wellness
- Noting the exclusion faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community
If the aforementioned or similar were named, yet conveniently lacked detailed timelines or specificity around what exactly catalyzed the push for progress, and/or lacked depth and detail around the specific and tangible actions the company has been undertaking on a daily basis to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, etc., PAUSE.
The issues referenced and countless others have ALWAYS been present in society and workplaces. As such, we must carefully examine why companies, especially those around for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50+ years have, for the past two, been making efforts to publicly demonstrate that they are DEI focused. If we aren’t willing to question the sudden interest and seek clarity around what the focus was prior to the past two years, we too may be complicit.
A commitment to comfort only has one outcome: Complacency. Complacency thrives in the absence of accountability.
If the organization described above sounds like yours and you’re looking for a change, our advisory, coaching, and training services can help! Get in touch with us here.