The Culture of The Culture-less

More often than not most Africans and Kenyans in particular elucidate their thoughts as to how North Americans lack a vibrant culture, because to them culture is about rituals, traditional garbs and stringent rules. Oblivious of the dictionary definition of culture.

Definition

“specifically, the term “culture” in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively.” .

Step back a bit, during the First World War an American civilian ship on European waters was sunk by a German warship, the next day 100,000 citizens turned up at army recruitment centers and volunteered to join the war. In 9/11 the same happened, thousands of citizens volunteered to join the army and fight Osama, how about some culture on that. Americans guard their freedom jealously and with passion, unlike most Africans who consider military service to be a lucrative job.

Think about movies, games and computers, all born out of the American culture of openness, innovation and business. Nurturing and developing these industries require patriotic citizens who passionate about their country and buy American made products. This phenomenon is described by economists as soft power, a concept developed by Joseph Nye in his book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power that describes the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce and rather than using force or money as a means of persuasion.

The quest to be unique led Americans to alter common sports for their own enjoyment, hockey to ice hockey, cricket to baseball, rugby to American football. Never mind that their English is different too. The comparisons could go on and on but one underlying factor is the Americans are one the most cultured people.

Originally published at blackorwa.com on August 31, 2012.

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