Challenges facing the children of the “woke”

John Kane-Berman relates a conversation between a "father" and his "son"

What kind of children are “woke” parents breeding? Misfits? Guilt-ridden vegans? Rebels?

The wokest of the woke will leave the sex column of their child’s birth certificate blank as they will not want him/her/it later to accuse them of gender tyranny by pre-empting any choice he/she/it may later wish to make.

They will also run vegan households, informing their children that meat and dairy increase the demand for cattle, whose emissions contribute to global warming and so imperil the planet.

Then, of course, there is the problem of systemic racism. All black children will be born into automatic victimhood and their white counterparts will be guilty of “whiteness” from the moment of conception.

“Don’t be fooled,” one superwoke father, a generous contributor to Black Lives Matter, tells his 21-year old, who decided long ago that he is happy to be a male. “Those white friends of yours may be very polite, but that’s only because their racism is so subtle they don’t even know it. We must always be alert to all their hidden micro-aggressions. The whites have designed the system to keep us in perpetual subjugation. They brought their racism with them from Europe when they landed at the Cape.”

“But, Dad, subjugation hasn’t worked with you. You are a multimillionaire, just like Cyril Ramaphosa.”

“That makes no difference. Let me explain how it works. The racist system imposes all sorts of glass ceilings that stop blacks from getting decent jobs. That’s the first thing I learnt in whiteness studies at university, along with our courses on BEE. If I am rich it’s only because of my status as a victim. To be honest, that’s how I got all these non-executive directorships, procurement commissions, and share options.”

“But, Dad, I don’t feel like a victim and I don’t want to be one. I was head boy at school. I play First XV rugby. I’ve won lots of class prizes. I’ve got white friends and black friends and we all treat one another the same. Most of us have been in the same engineering class for four years. We like the same music. We argue quite a bit, but nobody’s ever said anything racist. Most important, we trust one another. In fact, when we graduate next year a few of us will go into business together to exploit the fourth industrial revolution.”

“Don’t be misled, my boy. They only want you so you can help them get procurement points and BEE ratings.”

“But, Dad, you know my friends. They’ve been to this house, where you criticised them for turning me into a carnivore, but you’ve never once told me you thought my white friends were closet racists.”

“That’s not the point. They don’t know it. They can’t even help it. We can’t see it. That’s what makes it so insidious. It does not matter what their subjective behaviour is, the objective reality is that the whole system is racist, just like capitalism and neo-liberalism. I could kick myself for not insisting that you take that course in critical race theory as part of your studies for your degree. Then you would have understood.”

“Hang on a moment, Dad! I’ve got the solution! I don’t want to be a procurement meal ticket or a BEE quota. You told me when I was about five years old that I could choose to be a girl if I wished. I think the term you used was that I could ‘self-identify’ as a girl, but I said I was happy to keep on being a boy.

“You yourself, Dad, told me that after you gave birth to me you decided to self-identify as a man, which is why I have two fathers, although I must admit that it took me a bit of time to get used to calling you Dad instead of Mum. So it seems both fair and logical that if you were able to change your sex – I mean gender – I can change my race: I could self-identify as white and then I would no longer be a victim and the problem of systemic racism between me and my white friends would disappear. We’d all be equal. No surgery involved either!”

“No! No! No! That would automatically turn you into one of your own father’s oppressors. After all the money I’ve spent on your education, including sending you to the most expensive school in the country, how could you do such a thing to me?”

“Gee, Dad. That’s a bit heavy. There’s also something else I have to tell you. Julia and I are planning to get married. We were going to announce it at graduation, but I might as well tell you now.”

“Julia? That white girl you’ve brought here to dinner a few times?”

“That’s the one.”

“I suppose she also wants you to declare yourself white.”

“Actually, no. We’ve never even thought of discussing it. But I don’t think she would care one way or the other.”

His father buries his head in his hands.

“Omigosh. What is the world coming to?”  

* John Kane-Berman is a policy fellow at the IRR, a think-tank that promotes political and economic freedom. Readers are invited to take a stand with the IRR by clicking here or sending an SMS with your name to 32823. Each SMS costs R1. Ts and Cs apply.