On the topic of "basic self awareness", do you perhaps realize that an accusation of "virtue signalling" is essentially an equally vicious stereotype? How, exactly, do you know when someone's words are purely for show?
As a concept, "virtue signalling" is a reasonable one; signalling theory is interesting and legitimate economics and the notion of virtue signalling is a reasonable derivative of that theory. It's fine to discuss it in the abstract, e.g. as it applies to costly religious rituals.
However, when you accuse an individual person of "virtue signalling" without having any kind of solid evidence of the motives behind what they're doing, you're just being an asshole.
OK, so you encountered someone who didn't know what "Orientalism" was, they interrupted you, and now you're complaining that you "had to have a nice conversation" with them?
Sure, you can say that they were rude (or perhaps even "that guy") for interjecting in the conversation, but how exactly did you determine that this person was virtue signalling rather than expressing an honest position?
Also, what are you even talking about when you refer to "liberal-minded folks ... defend[ing] a woke position"? How exactly are they accepting vicious stereotypes about you in particular, and how do you know that they're virtue signalling?