Now that I have your attention… let me just say; this is not the first time I have had this conversation. I have, literally, been in debates about culture, ethics, values… the list goes on. I will say; my world travels have taught me that, although we are geographically dislocated, we are mostly the same. Let’s explore this theory.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my Nigerian, London-raised bestie; and she was able to give me insight on the family dynamic in her household. Her and her siblings were raised with integral God-based values; church every Sunday or even more than that, they had to respect their elders (even if they were not family), any adult could chastise them, they had to excel in schooling, no hanging out, daily chores, no talking back to elders and they had to do whatever their parents said (whether they agreed or not). They were raised to be very close to each other and protect each other, and she had her mother and father as loving examples of what life should be like. Nigerians, also have very strict cultural/traditional values as far as marriage for bride and groom. Values that further instilled that the woman was the prize, and the man would prove sacrifice and earn respect from the elders prior to marriage.
Now, for the American Black southern raised woman…I happened to be raised by one, so I interviewed her. She grew up with 17 siblings. Although they were not all in the house at the same time; they were raised to be as close as they could be. They were also raised with integral God based values; church every Sunday, they had to go to school or work, no hanging out late, respect elders, and any elder could chastise them. My mother’s father was absent, and her mother was overwhelmed with raising the other children; so there was very little time for bonding or nurturing. One specific thing she remembers is being taught not to mix and mingle too much with Caucasion people. She was also taught that they were better than her; and she should take whatever they dished out, whether it be love or hate. Caucasians were better, because they didn’t come from slavery and primarily because of their skin color.
Based on my interviews, I concluded that the primary difference was societal influences and cultural/traditional teachings. The American, Black Woman is raised with bias and no celebration/pride in culture. The African, Black Woman knows every detail about traditions, tribe and is grounded in that. As an American, Black woman myself; I could only imagine how my perspective of life would change if I truly knew where I was from. Also, if I even just had the thought of being ” enough,” and not having to try to be better than.
Psychologically, there is massive difference. Now, does this difference make one “better” than the other? I will let you decide.
Conclusively, I can say for me there is no difference. We are all raised to survive our habitats. Assimilation by any means; even if you have to denounce your heritage. Does that really make one right or wrong? I suppose it’s all perspective.
With that being said, we are all uniquely different; but we need to start celebrating our similarities, and that’s where we will meet to bridge the gap. We are WOMEN and we are in this thing together!