Liberia: The Cultural Gap

first_imgMonrovia – Growing up in Liberia, whenever I call my name, I garner the stares and expressions of a name that sounds too strong or otherwise traditional. In fact, I get the feeling from facial expressions that the name belongs to another world, especially in my case, as both names are purely Liberian indigenous names. While in secondary school, it was worse. The calling of my name was greeted with instant laughter, jeers and intentional mispronunciations, intended to instill humiliation and fear. I remember many colleagues couldn’t bear the emotional bullying associated with bearing traditional African names and opted to have their names changed. This is typical of the average Liberian classroom where western names are pronounced with distinction and claimed with pride but traditional Liberian names are wrongly pronounced and treated with disdain. The name carrier bore the burnt of the struggle and left to face the accompanying degradations.The name scenario is a tip of the iceberg of the extent to how wide Liberians have negated their culture with western cultures, and in some cases other African cultures over their own cultures. A Liberian would prefer to be proudly called by another West African name and claim lineage to that country or ancestral history, but would refuse to proudly bear his name given under sacred conditions by his or her grandparents. Treasured and rich names with deep history are relegated to borrowed names. There are varying examples to the nature and breadth of how Liberians have abandoned their cultures over the years to diffusing and assimilating completely into others. This trend has affected generations to such a dangerous extent that there remains a major gap in the culture. Major tribes have histories of their founding fathers and how they came to being but have chosen to ignore those stories, completely forgotten to speak native dialects, hence a whole generation of young children grow up unable to speak their dialects. Ironically, the inability to speak one’s language comes with a false sense of sophistication. The ignorance of one’s history and cultural practices meant a man was too ‘civilized’ to conform. The reality is sad. A society without a clear definition of its history and culture has no foundation to build upon, and no purpose. We have a completely shattered appreciation of our culture from clothing, cuisine, language, history, etc. Every society has a signature delicacy that is known by foreigners upon entering that country. We have several dishes, from hot cooked palm butter and bitter roots to potato greens with red palm oil, bitter balls mixed with okra and fresh water palm oil to torborgee and rice, palava sauce and rice, domboy and pepper soup and GB with wollor soup. These are delicious delicacies that can be marketed and possibly exported to showcase the kinds of food we eat as Liberians. Culture is the melting pot of a group of people and the lining that binds us together. How many average Liberian kids understand the relevance and role of traditional chiefs, traditional dance ceremonies for birth, funerals, and other occasions?There is a surge in learning how to speak like other West Africans, copying their accents, but afraid to identify with our own accents. We have to develop ourselves and develop a spirit of cultural identity.Cultural identity is often defined as the identity of a group, culture or an individual, influenced by one’s belonging to a group or culture.A developmental psychologist, Jean S. Phinney, formulated a three stage model describing how this identity is acquired.The first stage, unexamined cultural identity, is characterized by a lack of exploration of culture and cultural differences – they are rather taken for granted without much critical thinking. This is usually the stage reserved for childhood when cultural ideas provided by parents, the community or the media are easily accepted. Children at this stage tend not to be interested in ethnicity and are generally ready to take on the opinions of others.The second stage of the model is referred to as the cultural identity search and is characterized by the exploration and questioning of your culture in order to learn more about it and to understand the implications of belonging to it. During this stage you begin to question where your beliefs come from and why you hold them. You are now ready to compare and analyze them across cultures. For some, this stage may arise from a turning point in their lives or from a growing awareness of other cultures, and it can also be a very emotional time. This is often the time when high school students decide to go on an intercultural exchange program.Finally, the third stage of the model is cultural identity achievement. Ideally, people at this stage have a clear sense of their cultural identity and are able to successfully navigate it in the contemporary world, which is undoubtedly very interconnected and intercultural. The acceptance of yourself and your cultural identity may play a significant role in your other important life decisions and choices, influencing your attitudes and behavior. This usually leads to an increase in self-confidence and positive psychological development.It seems we’re walloping in the first stage of cultural identity and are mimicking other cultures and taking the opinions of others about ourselves. Until we realize who we are, where we come from and what we want, the road to the future would be blurred, and we risk becoming cultural chameleons.Lekpele Nyamalon is a Liberian writer and poet, an OSIWA Poetry fellow and can be reached at: nyamalon@yahoo.com Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Five things Man United learned from the Spurs game and what they need to do

first_img 2) They need a centre-back – Chris (or Mike – depends on who you’re asking) Smalling began the new season as he ended the last, as the commanding presence in the United defence. However, Daley Blind looked less convincing. The manager clearly wants Blind to play the role of the ball playing centre-back, just as his father Danny did in Van Gaal’s Champions League winning Ajax team of 1995. Unfortunately he so far looks unable to do that and therefore United desperately need to buy an experienced enforcer at the back. Manchester United kicked off their Premier League campaign with a victory over Tottenham at Old Trafford.It was a fortunate one with the only goal of the game coming through a Kyle Walker own goal, but it was a stark improvement on how the Red Devils began last season when they lost at home to Swansea.However, there is still a lot to do if they are going to mount a serious title challenge this season.So what do they need to do? Click the arrow above, right, to see what Louis van Gaal’s side need on the basis of Saturday’s victory. 5 1) They need to sort out the De Gea situation – click the arrow above to see four more things Man United learned from the weekend – New signing Sergio Romero made his Manchester United debut while the club’s current no.1 watched on from the director’s box. Romero did not have a bad game at all – in fact he was quite impressive – but there was a clear lack of understanding between himself and the back four. David De Gea still remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world but one way or another, United need to rid the team of this uncertainty and until they do the defence will continue to look shaky. 5 5 3) They need to find a place for Ander Herrera – Ander Herrera looks like he is set to be the victim of United’s midfield summer spending spree after only making a cameo appearance against Tottenham. It’s unfortunate as the Spaniard was one of the club’s best players last season, coupling his undoubted creativity with hard work and most importantly – goals. It’s vital Van Gaal finds a place for Herrera in the starting XI as he offers something that the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick cannot. 5 5 5) They need to deploy Depay as a winger – not as a 10 – Van Gaal seems intent on playing Memphis Depay in the number 10 role behind the striker, despite scoring 22 goals as a winger last season. The latest incumbent of the no.7 shirt lacked the space to utilise his pace and trickery against Spurs and would perhaps be better served if he swapped positions with Juan Mata, who was so impressive on Saturday. That would allow Mata to play in his more natural position with Depay able to expose full-backs with his speed. 4) They need goals – and lots of them – It seems obvious that a team needs goals but, be it a new striker or a reshuffle of the forward line, United need to do something. Rooney was extremely lucky Walker’s tackle led to the ball trickling into the net as his first touch was poor and he did not look sharp. The captain historically needs a few games to regain his fitness and long breaks are never welcome in the Rooney household. Should he get injured, there is no other senior striker in the squad other than Javier Hernandez. Has anyone mentioned Pedro? last_img read more

Love Ride’s move: Castaic to Pomona

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“We are definitely going to miss the beauty of Castaic Lake,” Shokouh said. “We are going to also miss the tremendous support the Castaic community gave us for 14 years.” In Pomona, the Love Ride will be able to accommodate more than double the number of vendors it had in Castaic, growing from 80 to 200. “We can grow to be 10 times the size we were at Castaic, not that we want to get that big,” Shokouh said. “If we did get that big, the Pomona Fairplex will be able to accommodate that growth.” The event is slated to be held at the Fairplex for the next five years, he said. Musician Gregg Allman will headline this year’s entertainment. In Castaic, event attendees experienced some parking problems and traffic tie-ups with 12,000 to 14,000 motorcycle riders arriving at the lake at the same time. “The lake was just not designed for parking that many vehicles at once,” Shokouh said. The Fairplex, home of the L.A. County Fair, has parking for 50,000 cars, he said. The move has left some in Castaic heartbroken. “Most of the businesses and residents that I have talked to are disappointed it’s leaving,” said Ray Graeber, treasurer of the Castaic Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Castaic Lake. “It’s a chance to showcase our town and especially our lake facility.” At the 7-Eleven on Castaic Road and Lake Hughes Road, manager Inder Singh said the store was packed in past years for three or four hours during the day of the Love Ride. Forget finding a parking spot at the store on that day. “If it is not happening this year, it is going to hurt,” Singh said. jerry.berrios@dailynews.com (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Where’s the love? Not at Castaic Lake. The Love Ride, the annual motorcycle event that has poured thousands of “hogs” and their riders into Castaic Lake for the past 14 years, is moving this year to the Fairplex in Pomona. Event organizers decided to join forces with the inaugural California Bike Week sponsored by 75 Harley-Davidson dealerships, said Love Ride founder Oliver Shokouh. Bike week events will start Nov. 9, with the Love Ride capping the festivities Nov. 11. The Castaic Lake Recreation Area just wouldn’t have worked for all the planned activities. last_img read more

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