Friends & Friction: Technology will erode blackness

2014-08-21 06:45

In his book, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, Professor Francis Fukuyama claimed that the first human being has already been cloned in the US.

This was 12 years ago.

Fukuyama is no nutty professor. He is a senior fellow at Stanford University, and when he first put his theory forward, he was a professor at Johns Hopkins University, the first research university in the western hemisphere. So he is no manga-manga academic.

If a cloned human being does indeed exist, do you think he would be black? Absolutely not.

Why would any biotech company put undue political pressure on itself by cloning a black person?

I suspect that for a white person, the cost of political correctness is high. You need to be extra-polite to prove you are not racist, and be extra-kind to deal with what Laugh It Off called “black labour, white guilt”, in a play on Carling Black Label’s branding.

In Who Needs the Negro? Sidney M Willhelm wrote: “With the onset of automation, the Negro moves out of the historical state of oppression into one of uselessness.” Technology, he argued, would make blacks irrelevant and so much easier to disregard.

At a commercial level, the black skin would be difficult to create a market for, whereas a market already exists for the billions of dark people who want to be white.

It goes without saying that soon there will be a market for fake white skins, or “yellow bones”, as we call them in South Africa, just as there is a market for fake straight hair. In the future, you will not be able to tell whether the person you are looking at is truly white.

Perhaps the only giveaway left would be names such as “Pinky”, “Gift” or “Justice”, which are English names reserved for blacks.

Names are supposed to be founded on a culture of a people, but that too will change as the world goes through a period of “creative destruction”.

In the past few years, we have witnessed a gradual collapse of established frameworks, including traditional values. This is because new cultures are promoted all the time through social networks. Many young people have a greater affinity to their cellphones than their parents.

So René Descartes’ statement, “I think, therefore I am”, has been modernised to: “I text, therefore I am.” Parents, who are supposed to be the primary teachers of morals and respect, have been relegated to the providers of food and shelter.

The greatest influencer of the child has become the cellphone and all the social networks it brings, followed by the school teacher and friends. The biological parent now comes in at a distant fourth.

Since religious instruction has been taken out of the classroom, and there is no one to teach ethics, the child is now left to his own mobile devices.

Unlike with TV, where parents could exercise some parental guidance by using the remote control, they have no control over the cellphone.

Biomedical technology will allow parents to have their children custom-made.

The question is whether they will be granted the political freedom to do so.

Looking at where science is going, it won’t be long before skin colour becomes like the colour of lipstick – a matter of choice.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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