Dining across the divide: ‘I don’t think we fully agreed on a definition of woke’

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John, 57, Birmingham

Occupation Contract head for a nationalist charity

Voting record John, who has dual US and British nationality, describes himself arsenic centre-left and usually votes Lib Dem here. Remain successful nan EU referendum

Amuse bouche John utilized to beryllium a navigator successful nan US aerial force


Josh, 30, Cheltenham

Occupation Works successful nan aerospace industry

Voting grounds Josh, who has British and Brazilian nationality, has ever voted Conservative here. Leave successful nan EU referendum

Amuse bouche Josh has a pilot’s licence. “Sometimes I’ll popular down to nan Isle of Wight for lunch”

For starters

Josh My mother is British of Jamaican heritage; my dada Brazilian of British heritage. My family are beautiful leftwing – I’m nan only 1 who would picture themselves arsenic conservative. I started taking statement of authorities arsenic a kid successful Brazil. I publication astir nan Russian gulags astatine nan clip of nan 2002 elections. Lula’s statement emblem was a reddish star, and I sewage a spot of a reddish scare – started digging a bunker, successful lawsuit nan communists took over!

John I grew up successful North Carolina, successful a very blimpish Christian family that had only ever voted Republican. The first personification I voted for was Ronald Reagan, but astatine assemblage I realised I wasn’t that measurement inclined. I came to nan UK pinch nan subject successful nan 90s, and returned to unrecorded pinch my British partner.

Josh and John sitting astatine a edifice array talking

The large beef

John I asked Josh for an illustration of what he thinks “woke” is. He told maine astir a assemblage successful California banning nan connection “field” because of its relation pinch slavery. He saw it successful nan Telegraph.

Josh I don’t deliberation we afloat agreed connected a definition. He took “woke” successful nan consciousness of having an consciousness of injustices and a willingness to talk astir them. If that’s what woke meant, it would beryllium difficult to disagree pinch it.

John History has been written from a white, antheral position – successful nan US, atrocities done to Black and Native Americans conscionable aren’t portion of our history. For me, being woke is astir recognising that and seeing nan implications today. It’s very affirmative – we request to talk these things. But nan extremists return over, talking astir woke extremes alternatively than nan existent issues. Obviously I don’t work together pinch not utilizing nan connection “field”!

Josh What passes for wokeness these days is superficial and performative. I deliberation group jump to racism erstwhile really nan problems are economic. He grew up successful nan southbound successful nan US, wherever title usually was nan issue, but successful modern Britain nan problems are often elsewhere.

Josh and John sitting astatine a edifice array talking

Sharing plate

Josh He’s much unfastened to betterment and large changes, whereas I’m much “take things slow, alteration should beryllium much bottom-up than top-down”. Our differences were not truthful overmuch astir wherever we should go, but really we should get there.

John The large point we agreed connected was that group request to person discussions. Take immoderate of nan emotions retired of nan emotive issues, look astatine nan benefits and negatives to spot what guidance to take.

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Josh and John sitting astatine a edifice array talking

For afters

Josh My Euroscepticism came from nan sovereign indebtedness crisis, and nan measurement nan EU treated Greece. They forced Yanis Varoufakis retired of agency erstwhile he was finance curate successful a democratically elected government. That was erstwhile I started to deliberation nan EU is not nan benign unit everyone thinks it is.

John My ballot against Brexit was much affectional than practical. I felt nan younker deserved nan opportunity that being portion of nan EU would springiness them. I thin to want to subordinate up alternatively than divided apart. The much small parts location are, nan much difficult it is to get statement and bring group together.

Josh Whatever opportunities location were successful Brexit person been squandered. We should person formed statement astir what we want, alternatively than allowing it to go a party-political football.

John I want to support nan UK together, too, but I wouldn’t beryllium amazed if Northern Ireland joined Ireland, and Scotland will get different chance to leave.

Josh and John sitting astatine a edifice array talking


Josh Because he’s from a blimpish inheritance and moved left, and I’m from a leftwing family and moved right, we could understand each other’s position. We benignant of waved successful passing arsenic we moved on nan governmental spectrum.

John It was bully to meet personification truthful thoughtful and engaged, and who does nan research. That hasn’t ever been my acquisition of group Josh’s age. We talked nonstop for 2 and a half hours.

Josh and John sitting astatine a edifice array talking

Additional reporting: Kitty Drake

John and Josh ate astatine Friar Street Kitchen successful Worcester

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