Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mixed Blessings

Is Marriage for White People?  That's the title of a book written by a Stanford law professor  Ralph Richard Banks (an African American married to an African American - I like how he puts that out before the haters start questioning his right to make such a proclamation). Alas I am yet to read the book but from the reviews I have read here, here and here it was all heart, backed by personal narratives and data. 

His question is 'In an economy where women are thriving and desirable black men are scarce, why do black women stay loyal to black men to their detriment?'
These include:
  • large numbers of professional black women being rotated by the 'few' college educated black men who gets to pick and choose who he wants to be with and even then he still has multiple sex partners
  • almost half of all black women have had an abortion, over twice the rate for white women; 
  • 2 black women graduate from college every year for every black male that graduates; 
  • black men out-marry (i.e., marry interracially) at over twice the rate of black women; 
  • there are two million more black women in America than black men; 
  • higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases when compared against other groups of women due to the high incidence of `man-sharing' that occurs among black women; 

And his solution well, suggestion is 'Black women should liberate themselves from the shackles of race and date outside the pool'.
I wholeheartedly agree with him though I wonder why we need a Stanford law professor to tell us that? What is it about marrying outside our races, tribes that scares black women? 
This isn't the first time I have read or listened to people write/talk about the dearth of eligible black men for black women in America and I used to wonder.. 'but there are other men?!!..Chinese, Indian, Africans, you haven't exhausted your options yet.

I have reframed this problem in our society. Kindly substitute Black women for Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa women and think about the Nigerian environment. Yes, that tribe thing. Maybe its not as pervasive as before but I do know I have single girlfriends who swear that they can never marry a non-igbo/non-Yoruba etc etc. 
Interestingly I think this outlook is more common to Ibo women than other tribes yet we are the ones who have a man-scarcity. College educated Ibo men are a minority compared to the majority who are secondary school leavers (though thriving businessmen). From what I have  observed/personal experiences, the Ibo men who are good income earning graduates tend to feel like they are 'something special'. Correct me if I am wrong. 
I used to think like 'Warrahell? Who said I can't fish across the River Niger' msheew.

So lets reason together, what are the fears of marrying outside our comfort zone be it - Race/Language/Geographical zone?

Off hand I can think of these few points: 

Culture. Someone from another race/tribe won't understand the basic parts of black/Igbo/Yoruba/Benin/Tiv life and culture. It may seem trivial at first especially if the dating/married mixed couple are living in a cosmopolitan city. then bang, one day you travel home with your hubby and like a chameleon he suddenly expects you to kneel down and serve him food and you wonder but 'he wasn't like that before'!

Different standards of beauty: For the inter-racial couple, she may feel like you are competing on a different standard of beauty. He is used to blondes/redheads/brunnetes with blue/green/hazel/gray eyes and long wavy hair, now he has you brown chocolate from your eyes, nipples to your happily nappy hair  which has not seen the sunlight in oinks because of permanent extensions). Same for the woman who has to exchange her ideal of Denzel W for a Ryan Reynolds.
(On a lighter note, I am yet to be toasted(chatted up) by a Briton. Infact it has become a mission for me. Silly I know, but I need affirmation that my beauty is universally accepted. lol).  

Food: She'd have to widen her cooking skills to accommodate what is cultural for the other person. Igbo girl learning to make ewedu/amala. Yoruba girl learning to make oha soup. Nigerian girl learning to make lamb casserole for her British hubby etc (Lucidlilith gives me great comfort that all food is acceptable so long as its cooked right).

Skin color. Yeah that is the simplest to overcome yet the most conspicuous reminder of the boundaries you have bridged in an inter-racial relationship. Even though love has blinded you the world wont let you forget as easily...i think and they may not be polite about it.

Religion: A change of religion maybe part of the bargain. Christian marrying Muslim, Muslim marrying Hindu, Vampire marrying Human (lolsssssss) etc. Blog mom Linda has blogged about her daughter who is married to an Iranian.  She (daughter) even converted to Islam; and she can speak Farsi (Iran's official language) and Arabic too. While stories like hers make me marvel at the power of love, on the other hand, it scares me shitless. 
Can I love a man that much to give up that much? Come on, I am already giving up my father's name, now I have to cleave to a new culture, language, food, religion.
What is husband giving up for me? (Maybe now I can understand why Edward was so reluctant to grant Bella her wish!)

So that's my first question....Is my fear above valid? If you are involved in a mixed marriage/relationship I'd like to know if such thoughts have crossed your minds and how you combated or resolved it.

Two..for my single and formally single readers, have you ever considered mixed relationships?

p.s. My elder sister said mixed marriages should only be considered if the man is from royal/rich family, hear! hear! Her logic is that people with money/status do not follow culture as strictly as those without so less burden for the wife. I don't know how true that

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Firstborn Son Syndrome

I was looking for a fitting image then I remembered Lion King
My father believes he is very modern in his thinking, but when it comes to inheritance hmmmm, I don’t even think he has ever thought, ever wondered “What can I bequeath my daughters?”. Females just don’t inherit and that’s that.
That attitude extends to so many things, e.g. His first son had access to the two family cars from age 17 and Dad bought him his own brand new car at 21. On the other hand, none of my elder sisters learnt to drive at home.  No! It is your husband’s responsibility to teach you how to drive and if he is ‘modern’ enough, he might buy you one (imagine then his consternation when my then single 4th sister bought herself a car in the 90s). lolss
Three Christmases ago, we traveled home to the hometown for Christmas, and Dad spoke about renovating the family house. He then asked his girls to rally round and chip in. Huh?? I love my Dad but we told him in no uncertain terms that his first son, the owner of the house should kindly attend to his inheritance.

This brings me to my topic for today male primogeniture. The customary practice that makes it acceptable - in the absence of a will – for the first son to be the sole heir to his father’s property. This is a normal practice amongst the Ibos of Eastern Nigeria - I don’t know much about other tribes in Nigeria. To be honest it has never really bothered me. After all, you can’t long for something you never had can you? But it is a depressing one. Men, Isn’t your daughter a part of you? Doesn’t she bear your genes? Are you not the supplier of her second ‘X’ chromosome? Why then do fathers forget all that when it comes to inheritance?

A commenter defended this sad tradition on a BBC report saying : IN NIGERIA, THE INHERITANCE IS PURELY MALE TO THE THRONE... WHO DETERMINES THE SEX OF A FETUS? IT’S THE MALE SPERM NOT THE WOMAN'S EGG (I have never seen such a  whacked understanding of Mendelian laws)...

This particular aspect of our culture has led me to term the malaise some Ibo first sons suffer from as ‘The Okpala syndrome’. A disease characterised by a strong sense of entitlement, never do wellism and abject disregard for other siblings. He is a son. A first born at that. Why work hard at school – what is the purpose of hardwork – to afford a home, a car, to be powerful? Well, the first born son has that offered to him on a plate. His father is proud to show off the fruit of his (cough) labours, his ‘Y ’contribution to mankind, so he is given all the material wealth he could ever ask for: nice wheels, the apartment, he has the opportunity to get the best of education, automatic VP position in his father’s business. 
Furthermore he is the apple of his mother’s eyes (Re: his birth cleared her of shame and reified her superior wife status); the son who can do no wrong. The younger female siblings are taught to defer to him, they wait on him hand and foot, when he visits the mom rushes into the kitchen to prepare his favorite meals etc etc. Among his kindred, he is feted, he is  given a seat among elders, he is allowed a say over issues affecting his family and community at large. All by virtue of being the first ‘Y’ bearing sperm that hit the target.

Now you understand how the Igbo society can produce the caliber of first born sons I write of?

What is the effect on the first son? He gets to think ‘why buy the cow when I’m getting the milk for free?’. He doesn’t have the incentive to work hard. To achieve more. What’s the purpose? He’s got it all.
I look around my neighborhood growing up, at family friends and the story is the same everywhere. A huge percentage of firstborn sons have become the black sheep of the family but their culturally elevated status insulates them from deserved insults and from acrimony from the rest of the family.

In the end it comes back to Why daughters think marriage is an escape; Why wives end up giving birth to football size teams in their search for the elusive ‘XY’ chromosomed fetus that will stabilize their position; and Why we have a lot of Efulefus (first born sons who have no purpose in life but to squander their inheritance).

My Sis adopted the neutral-gendered way in training her kids....well maybe not the no 'her' and 'his' style of the school in Egalia, Switzerland. She insisted that no one refers to her first son as Okpala or give him any special privilege as a first son. House chores were shared equally. I remember the weekly Sunday breakfast tradition wherein the kids and the father cooked, while my sister has a lie in. The cooking/preparation was shared equally between daughters and sons - yam peeling, plantain frying, vegetable washing and cutting, tomato grinding etc. The boys learnt early that, cooking isn’t girls' work. And their Dad made sure the girls were savvy with DIY and electronics.
My dear nephew (despite Sister’s effort) has gotten his fair share of reminders from external sources that he is a lucky young man who stands to inherit much. He is alright inspite of it all, but I think the greater success my Sis and hubby achieved was with their daughters. My nieces have grown up with a healthy sense of entitlement as daughters who have rights equal to that of their brothers and they will not be overlooked!!.

I look at them and I have some faith that someday in the near future, daughters/sisters will be bold enough to administer the best cure to the Okpala syndrome – kick ‘em to the curb.

What is your culture like? Do girls have a share?

Disclaimer - I know some of you have perfect first-born sons, brothers and cousins. I am not talking about that minority!! Also there are exceptions 1)if the family is poor :) 2) if the first son came after 2-10 girl siblings. Sisters know how to make a brother behave! lolssss

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Witchcraft, Juju and all that Jazz

I don’t believe in jazz/juju/melecine/remote control/voodoo.

I am not saying that there are no bad spirits, no possessions, no devil and his works.  
I am just saying that I have never spared more than ten seconds thinking, ‘Things are going so wrong in my life, and it shouldn’t be. It must be that (insert anyname you deem fit – Aunty, Uncle, Cousin, Mother in law, Brother in law, colleague at work, neighbor etc), who hates me, who is jealous of me, who doesn’t want my progress, causing it.
I don’t go looking for someone to blame cause I had an accident,  I missed out on a job, my fiancĂ© jilted me, I lost a pregnancy, etc etc.
I don’t stop myself from giving to those less privileged cause I am thinking…If I give alms, clothes, food, the receiver will use some essence of me in the article I gave to perform rituals, impede my progress, make me ill. Come on people! In fact writing it makes me feel downright silly.

You wonder, what makes me bold to make these claims? 3Fs

Family values – I am a Christian, born of Christian parents. Baptised and confirmed in the Catholic Church. Not one day during my years of growing up did my Mom, Dad or any Priest I know, ever make such a claim. What I do remember her saying is ‘When God gives you a cross, lift it up and follow Him’. And boy have we had crosses! We still do.

Faith - Building on that foundation, is the simple Biblical truth that  – If I am for God who can be against me? Who? (looking around and beating my hand on my chest?) If He watches over the sparrow on the field, why won’t He watch over me? If I showed love to my neighbor because s/he bears the image of God and is my brother in Christ why would God let me suffer for that? If I miss out on a job, marriage, lottery – hey, it is not God’s time for me to have them. Or I need to work harder. Or there is a lesson to be learnt that would make me a better person, in readiness for the next opportunity.

It pains me to see this fetish culture being embodied among young people, who profess to be religious - Christians, Muslims. I see it as one of the reasons why Nigeria isn't moving forward. If you keep thinking that there are enemies out for you, someone wants to use your luck , then we stop loving our neighbour. We stop being good Samaritans. We stop being Christ-like. Do you think God exists in a society that does not show each other love? NO.

Alms giving especially, has been elevated to some negative spiritual realm that irks the heck out of me.
Fact - There are some fraudulent people out there posing as beggars true. A lot in fact (see my post here). There are also times when people genuinely in need, seek your help. If you must refuse cos you don’t have, that’s ok. But don’t stop yourself because of some fear of "my kindness being used against me" etc etc that's just bull. In fact that selfish thought is of the devil!!!

Money making rituals/ogwu-ego – I can’t believe, people still talk of money falling from severed heads, from a pot, a tree etc etc. lol. Come on! Show me one man who has made his money this way (I want pictures not hearsay) and I will swallow my words. The bad man makes his money by cheating, stealing, fraud, bribery and corruption. If it was through jazz, politicians won't endanger their lives by running for public office. Just behead one or two kindred, make some sacrifices in my bedroom and voila money rain.
Fact 1 - People have been kidnapped, killed and dismembered. There’s also a THRIVING multibillion dollar organ selling business going on globally. Harvested organs are being sold for transplants, for experiments and because of the lax laws in developing countries, we are the favoured harvesting site. Who remembers Clifford Orji? As far back as in the 1990s I think, he confessed to selling organs internationally.
Fact 2 – Even if they were being used by ritualists, my philosophy is that the murder of another human is not so much for monetary gain but a symbolic act of rebellion against God. The devil wants you to do ‘that’ which is so heinous that you will find it hard to turn back to God. It’s not that God won’t take you back but, ‘can you forgive yourself enough to ever go back’? I don’t think so. And does the money come? Of course not. Isn’t it the father of lies that made the promise. Hahaha you’ve been 419ed!
Fact 3 – So people have escaped these ritualists/killers and lived to tell the tale. True. Why ever not? If your time is not up, you ain’t going nowhere.
Fact 4  - The escapees usually tell of caves, forests, of men dressed in red/white etc. I don’t deny that they may have seen such, but I will bet on it that those were no ritualists. The smoke screen of rituals is what has kept that enterprise thriving cause it keeps the public in fear. The police are too chicken to investigate them, the kidnapped people too scared to fight, thinking they have super-human powers (my opinion….. feel free to disagree).

The legendary Jujuman -The juju man’s business has always been herbs. Ogwu. He may worship some deity, wear talismans, he may do some razzmatazz with stones and mirrors, but it has always been about herbs. He knows their potency and keeps this knowledge close to his chest. Why do you think they keep jaunting into the forest for? To visit with the devil? Don’t make me laugh.
He can prepare herbs that induce vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from every human orifice. The subsequent death is caused by fatal chemical reactions not wizardry!
Herbs that are toxic to the liver and kidney. Given little by little over time, the victim develops oedema (swelling) classic liver/kidney problems!
Herbs that make you break out in rashes, cause itching, etc
Psychotropic herbs that can induce nightmares, even make one mad. No wizardry just chemicals!
Even psychoactive herbs that can make one 'fall in love' with someone (oneirogens, hallucinogens, coca – the cocaine plant). They are mood enhancers which make you feel eiree! and happy with your world (Jah rastafara!). So if I am a woman and serve my man with food steeped in this, he will be very happy to be with me. maybe even imagine himself to be in love with me. Nollywood never lied to us. The antagonist always puts some powder given to her by the jujuman into the food, doesn’t she?


Do you come into office and spend precious working hours 'de-witching and de-jujuing your office chair and space?
A childless couple come to you seeking advice. Do you encourage them to undergo IVF or foster/adopt children and turn their life around OR do you encourage them to seek spiritualists offering sacrifices, receive ‘pastorly’ anointing, and reject adoption cause who knows, ‘the child may be a witch’s offspring or a murderer’s son etc etc??

Please, please stop! Stop squandering the opportunity you have to be your brother’s keeper by chasing after shadows and thinking outta your arse. Be still and know that there is God.

Have a lovely week people!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My love dont weigh a thing: SumoWrestlers

I was thinking about fat guys and Sumo wrestlers came to mind…...these guys weigh an average of 350 pounds (160kg) to 500 pounds (227kg) ….and the thought popped in my head ‘What kind of woman or should I say size of woman marries them?’

Answer – Small Beautiful Japanese Women!
In fact contrary to what we think, top sumo wrestlers are considered very sexy by many Japanese women.

I am trying hard not to think of bed gymnastics but I wonder if they sign a no-suffocation pre-nuptial clause. Me thinks it is veerrry important.
Meanwhile the above sumo wrestler Yokozuna Asashoryu, has since separated from the wife. Or more like Wife ran away with her kids. Rumor has it that he was physically abusing her.
I. Don’t. Want. To. Think. About. It.

P.S. If you want to learn more about sumo wrestlers you can read these links here and here and here. It is quite an interesting ‘way of life’. Not for the faint hearted or lazy like you may have thought!
According to a rumor in Korea, attractive young women marry sumo wrestlers because they hope the wrestler’s obesity will lead to an early death and the young women will inherit their money. Japanese claim this rumor isn't true.
What do you think?


Related Posts with Thumbnails