Being “woke” is the act of consistently waking up to America’s racist history and how that history influences policy, laws, and systems across America. When we open our eyes and see these systemic oppressions we can challenge them and build a better America. Addressing structural inequality will also make America more stable and secure for American Jews because anti-Semitism thrives on inequities and the need to scapegoat troubles and tensions. Stable and equitable democracies are ultimately safer for Jews.

In order to engage in discourse around wokeness you must begin by grappling with its fundamental thesis: We live in a deeply racist country. Regardless of how individual attitudes may have changed, our systems remain inequitable at best and violently destructive at worst. Two examples of systemic racism are the racial wealth gap and racism in access to quality health care. Put more simply, how healthy you are, how young you’ll die, and how much wealth you have and can pass down to your kids. There is an enormous amount of data to support the idea that we have systemic racism in America.

First, health care.