Monday, September 13, 2010

We Are All Africa

Sitting in my intercultural communication class, first semester post-mid-point of university career, first day of the week, first class, we talk about culture [a personal favorite of mine]. We then proceed to watch an interesting [and slow] documentary called "The Journey of Man". It is about how there is a genetic print on the Y chromosomes of males that has been helpful in going back to our very earliest of ancestors. Obviously, we learn that the remains of our most ancient of our ancestors can be traced all to Africa, making us all descendants of Africa. Thus, the title of this here blog, and also the introduction of the song with this lyric: We are all Africa. It makes me curous: did they watch "Journey of Man" too?

Having to write a riveting and lovely response to some quote I found interesting in the documentary, I wrote the following [wisely and completely thought-through as all reaction papers tend to be]:

“Tradition rarely sits well with science.”
“Logic of language and lifestyle is relative to culture.”

Although the documentary focuses on how genetics play a role in identifying the different relations between cultures, I kept wondering how, with all these similarities in DNA, people still get hung up on the differences of appearances and traditions. These two quotations represent two facts of reality of which I wish more people were aware. If more people took a step back and re-examined their traditions and superstitions with an open mind, they would admit that it might seem ridiculous by another person’s standards. That is because no one ever has the same experiences, perspectives and backgrounds; however, social constructions of different cultures create some “common truths” that fuel the logic of a society. This specific “logic” is part of the barrier to open and true intercultural communication. Many times, whether the logic is brought on my personal motivations or emotions, it does not coincide or parallel with scientific fact; however, there is a comfort in a culture’s beliefs because there is power in the numbers who believe in it. In these types of communities, beliefs tie people together with a sense of belonging. Hopefully, there can be a real conversation between cultures about where the “logic of language and lifestyle” of all the cultures come from because without this exchange there can never be tolerance and even less acceptance. The cultural perceptions of differences are sometimes misunderstood as more than they actually are and create even bigger divisions. I think the idea that all humans might have come from the same continent of Africa shows that our common bond runs deeper than any chasms between mental processes. The greater picture is constantly and consistently ignored for the sake of individual gain and self-motivation. Just as our DNA connects us, our open-mindedness should unite us.

On this note, I bid thee good night! Cheers to rants ending up as "A" papers.