I think there has been progress

In how society views women but maybe not. I am reading this book and I came across this statement

The economic value of a girl to society is gauged by the extent to which a man maybe excused his debts on the ground that after his daughter’s marriage he will be able to pay them.

Whenever I have argued, like Solon before me and others, that bride price is an exchange between males, I have gotten push back that it is tradition or that the groom is showing his appreciation to the parents of the girl for bringing her up. I think in actual fact, it creates a power imbalance.

is cultural appropriation a thing?

There is this post that has got me thinking on why we have people all over the place complaining about cultural appropriation.

I think we have real problems than worrying damage that would come about if some white fellow started adorning a Luo head gear or playing nyatiti for that matter. What does it matter really? Are these real world problems? Have we solved all the problems that what is now left is arguments on who should wear dreadlocks and who shouldn’t?

On culture or culture wars

I stumbled upon this article and I have a few thoughts. But before I say my thoughts, we need to get a few things out of the way.

Culture has been defined as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

The author writes

They want to speak their native language, yet demand we accommodate them instead of learning ours too to integrate with us. They want only to have their own ways, never thinking they could embrace both our ways and their own. They want to use brute force and fear, rather than diplomacy to settle disputes. They want to treat their children as property as well, while we want to nurture them into becoming autonomous adults. This isn’t the whole of the matter, but many examples of how Western values and other values don’t quite mix as well… Many speak of a “culture war” between the West and many other 3rd world countries, and its true, we want one thing, they want another.

and first I laughed then I cried. The US is using fear around the world spreading democracy through the use of drones and fire power, but no, it is those going to the US of A who are using fear. Currently, there is an ongoing debate in the US of A around Roe Vs Wade and it is projected as fight on women’s bodies. I don’t for the life of me know what the good blogger is saying. And lest we forget, the FFRF exists specifically because in practice, the separation of state and church is lost on many Americans. She tells us western values and other values don’t mix. But what are these values?

It’s interesting that irony is lost to her. She accepts the cultural relativism thesis but then goes ahead to insist theirs is the only one that counts, that must count. There is no offer on her part to learn that of the other. Hers is the dominant one to be learned by force. Don’t you just love this!

She continues to write

People have given up the culture and language they were born into, lost everything just to come over to the West! Why?

and I am surprised things like colonialism didn’t reach her.

And we in the third world should be grateful because

Our science has lead to technologies, medical care, and progress that has decreased mortality rates across the board at all ages! We now can treat disease and illness.

as if there is American science of French science and African science. Knowledge is a product of the race. And maybe for her information, there are diseases that were unknown in some places until the white man showed up. As a cultural anthropologist, I think, a study of history is necessary.

Who knew that in America disease can’t kill you?

Compared to countries where slavery is still around, ethnic and cultural minorities and women are 3rd class citizens, a disease can kill you, infant mortality is sky high, people are slain for being “heretics”, dictators rule with an iron fist over the helpless people, corruption is rife, and so on and so on, Western values of democracy and equality and more technology to better people’s lives sounds a lot better for everyone!

There problem of death for apostasy happens in such places as Saudi Arabia which still remain bosom buddies of the US. Slavery happens mostly in Arabia. Dictators rule with support of armed forces and international partners from the west. And because she is a poor historian, some have been installed by the US after the overthrow of democratically elected governments. When it is in the third world, it’s corruption, but when it happens in the US, it is called lobbying or scandal like the Lori’s school admissions scandal. I am not saying we don’t die of disease, sometimes even preventable diseases or that we have governance problems, it is the ahistoricity in her claims that I contest.

There is a list of things you are not allowed to do, for example

  • We can’t impose our morality on them, yet they can on us when it’s convenient!
  • Even a more innocuous example, other cultures all over the world are allowed their own standards of beauty for men and women, yet we are criticized for having our own cultural ideal of beauty because that’s not “body positive”!
  • They can think freely whatever they want, and be defended by “cultural relativism” while our cultural ideas are scrutinized and nit picked to the max!

And honestly, I am lost. Who is this who is stopping Muricans from imposing their morality on others? My neighbour is asking what is American morality. I am even surprised Americans can no longer think freely what they want. These third world minions have crossed the line. They even police thoughts!

You have even been forced to tolerate the third world.

 Overall, the radical liberal snowflakes only have “tolerance” and relativism for what they pick and choose!

Who wants tolerance anyway?

And for further reading

 

Is liberalism anti-culture?

Deneen argues that it is. That for the liberal, cultural constraints over the individual are obstacles to the pursuit of happiness and only those restraints imposed by the liberal( expansive state) are acceptable. He argues, legitimate limits upon liberty can arise only from the authority of the consent-based liberal state. In essence, the goal of the liberal project is to create a homogeneous populace all over the world, a world devoid of culture.

He argues further, and I agree in part, that a healthy culture is akin to healthy agriculture which industrialized agriculture is not as its aims is to overcome natural limits through short-term solutions whose consequences will be left for future generations. These solutions, he lists, petroleum based fertilizers, genetically engineered crops that encourage increased use of herbicides and pesticides whose genetic lines cannot be contained or predicted; widespread use of plant monoculture that displace local varieties and practices etc. He writes, and most would agree, that the above practices eliminate existing farming cultures.

who is the person of culture?

Romain Rolland says

the true man of culture is not he who makes of himself and his ideal the centre of the universe, but who looking around him sees, as in the sky, the stream of the Milky Way, thousands of little flames which flow with his own; and who seeks neither to absorb them nor to impose upon them his own course, but to give himself the religious persuasion of their value and of the common source of the fire by which all alike are fed.

 

Man Vs the men or just breasts

No, I am not talking about Mencken’s letters to La Monte by the same title. I am writing about man as he is in the African setting, or rather in traditional African setting.

John Mbiti writes

Only in terms of other people does the individual become conscious of his own being, his own duties, his privileges and responsibilities towards himself and towards other people.

[…] Whatever happens to the individual, happens to the whole group, and whatever happens to the whole group happens to the individual. The individual can only say; I am because we are and since we are, therefore I am.

Elsewhere, commenting not about relationship between men and others, but on breasts and breastfeeding moms, he writes

African women, as a rule, suckle their children anywhere taking out their breasts  openly and without any feeling of embarrassment or shame. Breasts are the symbols of life, and the bigger they are, the more people appreciate them; they are a sign that the woman has an amply supply of milk for the child. There is nothing naked or sexy about nursing mothers exposing their breasts to suckle their children in market places etc; those who judge such mothers as being indecent must revise their understanding of African concept of what constitutes nakedness.