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Ted Cruz’s New Book Title Isn’t Just Ridiculous, It’s a Tragedy

close up of Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz has a new book coming out in November, and the title manages to be both predictable and hilarious. The book is called Unwoke: How To Defeat Cultural Marxism in America, and it’s about Cruz’s quest to be … asleep?

People on Twitter were quick to point out how ridiculous the title is.

According to the publisher, Unwoke claims to be “a long overdue argument against the woke takeover of education, big business, the media, and Hollywood.”

That’s it. That’s the entire synopsis. It’s telling that, even though the book is available for preorder, the publisher hasn’t released any more details about its content, or what this “long overdue argument” will consist of. People who buy this book won’t be buying it so that they can expand their minds and learn something new. They’ll buy it because they want to slurp up the same misinformation and hate speech that they already consume on Fox News every day. In other words, they’ll buy it to inoculate themselves against accidentally waking up.

Republican abuse of the term “woke” is tragic

The word “woke” has long been used by Black theorists like Marcus Garvey and performers like Huddie Ledbetter to refer to Black consciousness of racism. Although its origins lie in the Black community, the term has spread to wider social justice movements in the past few years, where people use it to indicate awareness of how systems of oppression play out at all levels of American culture and society.

I remember, when I first started reading feminist and anti-racist theory in my twenties, the feeling of becoming woke. It was mind-blowing. Here were all these hidden systems that had been right under my nose my whole life, yet I’d never noticed them before. Suddenly, so much made sense! It was painful to realize how many racist and oppressive things I’d unwittingly said and done over the years, but overall, it was exhilarating to form a new understanding of the world—one that equipped me to start helping make things right.

To Republicans, however, the term woke simply means “marginalized people making noise,” and as an explicitly white supremacist movement, they’ve made it clear that being woke is unacceptable. Consider Lauren Boebert’s reaction to Sheryl Lee Ralph singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the Super Bowl: Boebert threw a public temper tantrum and denounced a completely uncontroversial performance of the Black National Anthem as “wokeness.”

Having your eyes opened to the often-hidden power structures in America is a life-changing experience—one that can guide you toward compassion, righteous anger, and what John Lewis called “good trouble.” It’s profoundly disheartening that Republicans are determined to keep their followers asleep—and that those followers are all too happy to oblige.

(featured image: Anna Moneymaker, Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and covers film, television, and books for The Mary Sue. When she's not making yarn on her spinning wheel, she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. You can check out more of her writing at, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.