I watched “American Chai”
today with Ade. I didn’t realize I had
watched it before. This was a bootlegged
copy of a DVD! Who knew! I thought of tradition and all its glory. If I
were to say that I’m slightly tired of
tradition would that make me horrible? If I were to say that I’m tired
of watching people struggle with their culture versus their
would that mean I am no longer compassionate? Or would that mean I’m
tired of the divide?
I’ve been listening to various people try to pull together
the threads of cultures back home and here—and it’s madness. I am never shocked anymore about the
confusion that embroils us 2nd and 3rd generations. Sometimes I don’t know which is worse—to have
a culture that you are steeped in and never be able to explore the outside, or
to be acultural? I know the grass seems
more lush on the other side of either fence but dang—why can’t we weave aspects
of different cultures into our lives? Why are we always running from one camp to another, desperately trying
to assuage our own guilt and soothe others’ ruffled feathers? It becomes exhaustingly painful.
And why can’t we just be ourselves without some of that old school mentality popping up in our lives? Case in point…
There is an RN at work who upon seeing my name tag
asked me the question “where are you from?”. I told her Columbus, OH
and she said “no, where are you from?”
When I told her I was born in Ghana, West Africa she said “my husband
is from Ghana”. Okay, a few remarks flew about where in Ghana he was
from and all that and it was done. Later that day I was on the phone
when she signaled to me that her husband wanted to talk to me. I did
and we arranged for me to go visit them. I did–the next day. It was
okay except for this other Ghanaian man who was ‘Uncle’ Peter’s
friend. He said a few things to me that made me want to hop in my car
and peel out of there…
1) Oh, you don’t drink? Well, I don’t play around with anyone who doesn’t drink
2) I can get someone to do your hair. I can pay
for someone to do your hair nicely. The girls here do hair well. I
don’t like your hair, don’t you care that I don’t like it?
nurses and doctors! My daughter is about your age and twice your
size. Before she went to London she was thin…”
4) It’s too late for me, but I have some nephews.
I will tell them about you. They are very handsome. Every woman
wants a man next to them.
Uhm, does anyone see some INHERENT problems with
these statements? I mean, from what backwoods did this man come from?
He doesn’t like my hair SO WHAT??? Did he honestly think that I would
give a bat’s fig what he does and does not like? Who is he? Where is
he from? He wants me to change my hair? WHAT???????!!!!!!!!!!!!! And
did he think I was going to smile, nod and say yes–please be my sugar
daddy? Oh my Gosh! And drinking?!! Did I ever say I wanted to play
with you? HUNH…WHAT??? Did I just step into the ‘Twilight Zone’?
And man, if anyone–I repeat ANYONE is related to you–I don’t want
NONE OF THAT!!! Even if I’m looking, I’m sure nuff not going to tell
you!!! Where was he going with the size thing? Why do I care about
his daughter’s size? Man, oh man!
There is so much to be said about this that I
can’t even say it. It’s classic yall–classic male chauvinism–in any
language. Classic Ghanaian male chauvinism too. And some people
wonder why I don’t necessarily look forward to meeting and being swept
off my feet by a Ghanaian man. It’s so sickening that I have to end
this rant shaking my head and thinking–yo, don’t you know God will