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My Woke Dad Tries to Explain Microaggressions

In this column, we ask our dads about woke terms and issues.

by Hannah Ewens
10 May 2017, 1:57am

My dad pours – pours – white sugar on his Corn Flakes every morning. My dad spells "come" as "cum" in texts and it makes me want to die. My dad will absorb one modern chart song every two to three years and continually sing the chorus for that duration. My dad accidentally posts quizzes on Facebook a lot. Is my dad woke? My dad is not woke.

He is, however, a very kind man, and I love him, and I want him to learn about this stuff. So here it is: another week, another lesson for Woke Dad.

THE LESSON

What's the concept? Microaggressions.
What does that mean? A microaggression is essentially the casual slighting of any marginalised group, often – but not always – by a well-meaning person. They can be aimed at anyone for their race, disability, gender, sexuality, age and so on. Examples might be asking the British-born child of immigrants where they're "really from".
Who came up with it? The term was coined by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M Pierce in 1970.
When did it catch on? Although it's not a new idea, it wasn't frequently used in casual discourse until 2015.

WHAT DOES WOKE DAD THINK IT MEANS?

VICE: So, microaggression. What does that mean?
Woke Dad: Depression? Anxious, anxiety, depression.

Why? Because kids talk about it a lot?
Yeah, and they... [sheepish tone] they can make you aggressive? Oh, no, I know. It's youngsters feeling that their parents have had an easier and better life.

No.
And youngsters feel a bit aggressive towards the older generation.

Why is it youngsters being the aggressive ones in this situation? Do you think I was aggressive to you?
No, not you. I mean, some people might be. Youngsters get aggressive to us oldies, but we've not had it easy. I had to work hard with two lodgers in my house to pay the mortgage. We weren't just given a house.

Any final guess?
Oh, does it mean pockets... of people?

POST-EXPLANATION, HOW DOES HE FEEL ABOUT IT?

How do you feel about it?
It's getting a bit deep for old dad. I didn't know it was called microag... aggressive. But, I mean, it happens all the time, doesn't it? You mistake things and you say things maybe you shouldn't say. Like, I say the wrong word for someone from a country, and then you say, "Dad, you can't say that any more..." The trouble is, if you live on the Isle of Wight, where there are only white people, no one tells you that you're out of touch. You just say sorry and then try to remember. Look, it changes all the time – it gets bloody confusing. I don't think any older dads would know this.

Are you glad now you do know about it?
No.

Thanks, dad.

@hannahrosewens

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My Woke Dad Tries To Explain the Gender Pay Gap