Monday, 29 July 2013


At the risk of sounding pretentious, elitist, ethnocentric, bougie or a combination of the aforementioned, I’m gonna say this: I don’t want my kids growing up in America. 
I come from a large family and I have four brothers and a sister. I’m the youngest, since my youngest sibling passed, and everyone else is considerably older. Because of this, I’m an aunt to quite a few children, and almost all are US born. US born is never the issue, but US raised can be…
I don’t mean to generalize, I know too many US born and raised people who are humble, appreciative of what they get and very considerate of others. But hey, every time you express an opinion, it’s at the risk of seeming to make a generalization, isn’t it?
My nieces and nephews exhibit some traits sometimes that I know very well are not from their parents, and since we are all products of our environment, where else could these be coming from but the external American environment?
They’ll break something, spill it or damage it in another way, and won’t miss a beat in announcing that you can ‘just buy another one’. They feel maltreated if they don’t get to go to an amusement or water park or have some cookies or ice-cream, as opposed to being grateful that they do.
Children where I grew up, are not as picky about food, share more, play nice with their toys and are very generous. Sometimes, my niece would rather cry than let her own brother play with a toy that she ‘owns’. “‘It’s not faiiir’, ‘i got here first’, ‘but it’s myyy toy’" Homegirl doesn’t realize she’s never purchased anything in her life. I see the same behavior manifested several years later in 20-something year-old Americans who would blow a gasket over letting anyone share some of their food, electronics, car etc. The quality of generosity is just not something an American upbringing emphasizes, in my honest opinion. This is why even your best friend can ask you for gas money, after driving somewhere where they were going regardless. I drive in Ghana, but before I did, friends picked me up from home and dropped me off ALL the time, and I am still yet to hear any of them ask anyone for gas money. I want my kids to pay it forward, I want them to believe in The Golden Rule, to love the people around them, be grateful, and above all, loyal. One for all, all for one, because there is really nothing like being totally loyal to others, and having them do the same for you.
I truly love my nieces and nephews, as if they were my own children, and sometimes it makes me sad when they make proud statements about how American they are, and depreciating ones about Ghana. They have little to no desire to be ‘Ghana people’, as they call it, and I can’t blame them. The American media would rather they be anything but African. I know that when they are old enough though, and finally develop some common sense, maybe around the time they go to college, a real Sankofa will occur. They will find that their culture will suddenly become more important to them and they will do everything they can to learn more about Ghana from their parents, and tell their friends what their names mean. Until then though, they can eat their mac n cheese, while my siblings and I sit and chat about Saturday evening trips to Labone junction for fried yam and kelewele.



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