The word “woke” has changed meaning over the past decade, from its original use as a way to describe someone who is “awakened” to current events to the way we use it today: to describe anyone who is “aware” of social justice issues. In the past decade, the word “woke” has been used to describe celebrities and CEOs that publicly endorse diversity, social justice, and equality. The Oxford English Dictionary describes woke as “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.”  The truth is that “woke” CEOs can be risky business. It’s not just about taking a political stand and there are potential legal ramifications to be aware of that

“Woke” is a term used to describe those who are aware of social injustices. It is a word that conveys that someone is politically aware and in some way socially progressive. The term is typically used as an adjective and is often used in a hashtag format to describe social issues, e.g. #wokeCEO. The term ‘woke’ is used as a way to describe those who are aware of social injustices and who are actively working to correct them. It is a word that implies that someone is politically aware and in some way socially progressive. The term is typically used as an adjective and is often used in a hashtag format to describe social issues, e.g. #wokeCEO.

Illustration by Esther Plesi for the Wall Street Journal/Photo: Getty Images

Why does a CEO care about politics? Many Americans would say no, but corporations have interests, and it is not only the right but also the duty of their leaders to promote them, including through the political process. But there’s a reason they usually do it quietly: Too much publicity risks provoking the ire of Americans who fear that public policy is being twisted to serve private interests. But today, top CEOs embarked on a highly unusual political intervention. They have taken high-profile positions on a controversial issue that seems to have little to do with their profitability.

Georgia’s new voting reforms have been challenged by executives of major companies like Delta and


who claimed to be acting in the public interest. But the public is not so sure. A YouGov poll of 30. In March, it was found that Americans favor 53% to 28% requiring photo ID for absentee ballots. These findings raise the question of whether CEOs are responding not to public outrage but to targeted pressure from an ideological and activist minority. Do they stand up for what they believe in or do they follow the new party line? While at one level the debate is about balancing voter access and election security, at another it raises profound questions about forced compliance, American culture, and the future of capitalism.

Below are some of the editorial board’s published answers to these and other questions about CEOs and Georgia law. In Vigor and Weakness of Leaders, the editorial criticizes the statements of important leaders for their vagueness and imprecision: They condemn Georgia’s election law, but have they read it?

Harvey Golub, former CEO of American Express.



Harvey Golub.

offers his perspective as the former CEO of American Express. In Policy is Risky Business for CEOs, he gives four reasons why CEOs should not take a public position on this legislation. Eventually, he writes, corporations and the idea of capitalism will get a worse reputation.

In his Wonderland column, When CEOs Vote Democratic.

Daniel Henninger

to get to the point: No matter how noble their intentions, these leaders are squandering their business interests for the benefit of the professionals who run the Democratic party.

We are under no illusion that big business is a loyal friend of capitalism, the editorial says. In Down with Big Business, Again, the board suggests that CEOs are pursuing a reconciliation strategy that is doomed to fail.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, dean of the Yale School of Management.



In the article CEOs lead America’s new great awakening,

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld,

dean of the Yale School of Management and organizer of the entrepreneurs’ opposition to the Georgia law, says the entrepreneurs’ awakening should be celebrated as the rediscovery of a misunderstood pillar of America’s industrial greatness.

This generated many responses from readers, including seven published letters. Previous great revivals have been brought about by people recognizing (and repenting of) their own sin, writes Thomas W. Stewart of Gainesville, Hawaii. The Great Awakening of the 21st Century The opposite of the 20th century is to denounce the sins of others while praising one’s own merits. Mr. Sonnenfeld then responded to the criticism in a letter of his own.

Soon, two U.S. senators presented action plans. In an article titled Your Awake Money Is No Good Here, Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said: As of today, I am no longer accepting money from corporate PACs and I have encouraged my colleagues to do the same. In the article Big Tech’s oligarchy speaks to Trustbusters.

Josh Hawley

(R., Mo.), in its call for action this year, proposed unbundling large technology companies and revising antitrust laws.

Read these articles in their entirety and participate in the discussion by leaving a comment or a letter to the editor.

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

You May Also Like

Dr Richard Freeman: Ex-British Cycling and Team Sky chief doctor guilty

Mary O’Rourke (left) defended Dr Richard Freeman (second from left) at the…

Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Stones, Pogba, Ndombele, Maddison, Aubameyang

Manchester United remain top of the Premier League after a draw at…

Deadly Police Shootings Of Unarmed Civilians Will Now By Investigated By The State, Under New Guidelines –

The state of California has just adopted new guidelines or standards. The…

Steph Curry Has Strong Reaction to James Harden Trade

Getty James Harden and Stephen Curry, both guarded by Houston Rockets and…