Renowned Scientist Richard Dawkins writes that all animals are built to survive in the normal place in which their kind live.
Elephants, for example, are built for the plains of Africa.
Fish are built for the sea.
People are animals too, and we are built to survive in a world full of other people.
Like fish need gills,we need brains that enable us to deal with other people, that enable us to swim through a sea of people.
In order to survive in our surroundings, animals are built to absorb sensorily, all information,like blotting paper,to better fit in with surroundings.
Our brains are like bread, an indiscriminate sucker of the soup in which it swims.
It has been said that society today consists of the Global Teen. People under 20 the world over particularly in the middle-class, are walking billboards. They dress up in the same clothes,eat the same food,drink the same coffee, listen to the same music,go to the same malls.
A day in the life of a middle class teen in America follows almost the exact same chain of events as those in Africa.
Employers incessantly complain about the “poor” quality of the workforce. “They have papers, but can hardly communicate! They are uncoachable! They lack manners! They lack professionalism!”
Like a mother wondering who birthed her son, fingers are pointed at education systems,teachers and of course the government, whilst the true source is herself.
We find, each passing year, professional institutions making regulations more stringent,lengthening the duration of courses and other odd edicts, in a bid to raise the quality of the finished product, and failing to address the grund issue.
The log in our eye is the socialization of our people.
What is culturally correct is defined by and directed by Big Business, high fashion and branding.
Urban Life: Rooms stacked one upon another to dizzying heights. Shared ablutions, irregular utilities…basically, dormitory life. Kill or be killed. Take first or else someone else will. Driving school teaches you one rule only-yourself comes first then everyone else. If you can pay or bribe to get something done, do so. Your problem is not my problem. Public problems are government problems.
These, among many more, are the rules of modern living.
How, can culture and manners be passed down,when the teacher is Mtv, Naija and Tormenta del amor?
How, in such a melange of “urban” societal norms can good practices be upheld?
Where to teens and tots,what is acceptable is what is on TV and the heroes to be emulated are animations, or Hannah Montana, Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Jay Z among many other tube heroes?
We want to hire someone as eloquent as PLO Lumumba, yet it is clear, in all our media, we do not celebrate our own orators, but highlight the “Ill Bars” of Kendrick Lamar, Tupac et al.
Manners, what are manners? What is etiquette, is that still even a word?
Can we truly pass our Kikuyu,Luo,Luhya or Turkana culture to our society in such an environment? Surely America, and its Americanisms, is the defacto cultural norm?
I ask too many questions with very few answers.
So here are a few:
1. Turn off that TV. Time quality content
2 Turn off the radio. Time quality content
2. Read good books, share good books.
3. Send children to their rural home every so often, to learn what it used to be to be African.
4. Pass down and around norms and manners that we believe in. In the past everything was done by oral tradition. In the abundance of modes of communication, we certainly should do a better job.
People are a result of the society they are immersed in. If our gills are in contact with poisoned water, we will surely perish.