We are defined deeply by where we are born and raised by whom we are born to, and how we are raised. A Han Chinese man born and raised in Nigeria will behave differently from one born and raised in China. Locations are the main definers of who we are. Our cultures influence our morals and the lens through which we see the world.
Many great dynasties have existed through time, some stronger and more famous than others influencing the beliefs of other nations. An example would be the British to Nigerians. Although Nigeria currently has adaptations of British culture with a lot of American pop culture references. So it begs the reasons why more people do not question their beliefs or cultures. Why do you do this? Because it is our culture.
Why is it our culture? And no answers or no ideas.
Who then does this culture benefit? No idea or no one.
Who does it hurt? A great myriad of people.
We grow up and continue as we have seen.
An example would be surnames. Historically people from parts of modern-day Nigeria did not have surnames. You were born given a name and that is who you were. You existed independently and within your family.
Edet was just Edet. The son of Ekanem. But he was just Edet.
Okafor was just Okafor. He had no surnames.
And it did not mean Edet or Okafor weren’t their fathers’ children.
The British came with the “moral superiority of civilization”.
Bastards were frowned upon in the British society. Not so much in parts of Africa. A child born in a man’s house belongs to the man. Whoever the actual father might be. And this was simply for economic purposes. Farmland meant wealth in the past and without mechanized labor, human labor did all the work. More children meant more farmhands which equaled more wealth.
But to the British this was barbaric.
Everybody had to be attached to someone.
Women had to take their husband’s names.
Children had to take their father’s names.
No reason as to why.
Because it is their culture.
And this culture was shoved down our throats with guns.
You did not necessarily have a say in the matter.
So 200 years down the line, everybody has a surname.
Nearly all women must take their husband’s names.
And when you ask why, it is strange and wrong.
But this isn’t our culture.
It is a borrowed culture forced down our throats.
With the strength of violence and guns.
But now we defend it.
Civilization is an interesting word to value new things. It is supposed to be growth and advancements and for this reason, I am truly glad Mary Slessor came to Nigeria and fought so hard to erase the killing of twins in the south of our country.
But that is the thing with culture.
It almost never makes sense.
It is largely and strongly dependent on the benevolence of the stronger parties grouped together.
Why twins were killed in the South, they were celebrated and loved in the West.
Wiley women had nearly autonomous power to decide their loves, with the absence of the British, it retrogressed greatly.
I implore that when you hear of a culture, even one that favors you, a little curious why would go a long way.