Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Friday, February 22, 2008

HOW OTHERS SEE US, a comment

..and how we see ourselves

This was initially written as a comment to the previous post about how others see Africans but it turned out to be too long so I am posting it separately.

When someone tests positive for HIV he has tested positive whether it is in Yendi, Ghana or Boise, Idaho. We have to assume the statistics from Africa must be true unless we are saying that the testing is flawed or the numbers are being manipulated. The question is why is it not wiping out large swathes of villages in mostly southern Africa? That is the answer that we don't know and unfortunately a couple of people here are making some generalizations to Africa.

I would ask the guys who made those accusations or assertions to provide their evidence. You have to accept that you and I have a limited knowledge of Africa as well and what may be true for Ghana, Nigeria (I lived there a bit) and most of West Africa may not be true for Southern Africa. The gentleman may actually be quoting examples from villages in a part of that vast continent that we may be oblivious of. His error is that he is generalizing and thus exaggerating very wildly what may be a true problem in only a tiny part of the continent.

With regards to the research being done by Annang’s friend, the fact that Accra Girls Secondary students come out good does not therefore generalize to the whole of Ghana and we are equally wrong in making generalizations. The statistic is only as good as the sample that was used- certainly deductions or conclusions can be made but we need to be careful not to label them as the absolute truth.

I remember that on my last visit to Calorius, that we had this raging debate on whether the villages or the cities in Ghana were more promiscuous. There was a White American present who had spent time in Ghana and was married to a Ghanaian lady, who along with me were the only two guys in a room full of vociferous Ghanaians who actually believed that the villages were more promiscuous than the cities. I still remember how indignant the Ghanaians were that we could even say such a thing about Ghanaian villages. What I kept hearing is that we were not that “immoral”. I, together with the American, had very different views from the rest of the partisan crowd.

Where did I get my views from? From my relatives who came from the villages to stay with us, from my experience during my Community Health rotations in fairly rural areas during medical school, and even from some of my own friends from the villages. Does that mean that I should have generalized? No, but I had seen a trend that had some fact to it. In the same way, Robbo has to engage the guys for their sources, assuming they are willing to dialogue, and then assess all of the information intelligently.

I have talked quite a bit to a classmate who lived in Southern Africa for 9 years and based on that, I can believe that some of these things may have happened there. I would definitely not generalize though, let alone throw out what I consider such inflammatory rhetoric on the web. When all is said and done, this should not have been written on the web the way it was; it insults all Africans. There are serious issues of morality all over the world. We are all sinners and I am the chief of them. - Alien Warrior

Related post
Changing the way others see us. Part I

2 Comments:

Anonymous Calorius said...

AL,
the survey was at Accra High School.
Accra Girls Secondary is a totally different school, and if previous history is a guide the results could have been very different there (just joking).

We could have told this researcher which school to survey to get which particular results, but that again proves your point- Calorius.

February 22, 2008 at 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Robbo said...

I think I should clarify a few things, which in a way support the Alien Warriors post. I had sent an email about my unhappiness to one of the other contributors on the Boar’s Head Tavern who I had corresponded with before. He duly posted a comprehensive response and asked for clarification of the comments. It turns out that the guy who made the wide ranging comment about African morality, incest, and spousal abuse spent sometime teaching in Zimbabwe in 1984 and he based his assertions on his experience there and he apologized for any offence he caused by his remarks.

You are right in saying that we know very little about the culture outside the part of Africa we grew up, all the same I think it is the tone of the generalizations that is wrong. In my opinion, a certain sense of smug superiority is being exhibited. One cannot generalize about the entire America by looking at Jerry Springer or Maury. We ought to be more careful what we put on the internet- even more so when you operate a blog that is very widely read.

February 25, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

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