I have a letter in my possession which I penned about two months ago that I almost forgot about, until I saw ‘Cultural appropriation is not an acceptable way to honour one’s own culture’ by Angela Massiah in Stabroek News of Nov 18. What a sharp and enlightening analysis the sister treated us to. The letter I have is in many ways similar to that of Ms Massiah, reflecting slightly different, but similar views and questions. Now that the sister has reminded me I will hereafter submit it for publication after these few remarks endorsing what she said.
First I want to commend Ms Massiah for highlighting the tragedy of a nation willingly giving in to sabotaging and bastardizing their culture. I concede that this sorry state of affairs started a long time ago, but now it has gone overboard and is at a ridiculous level. As the sister mentioned: “Culture represents values, norms and traditions that enriches … and most importantly distinguishes us from others in the world,” noting that while “Guyanese nationals abroad strive to hold on to that which nourishes and gives us an identity in the world, some at home are given to doing the opposite.” Definitely I have to agree with the sister and emphatically so in saying that we “seem to have clearly lost a sense of self and national pride.”
I love the point that “European territories have gone out of their way to limit the amount of American programming that is shown on their television … which they claim is to preserve their culture from one that can be overwhelming.” Oh boy! I wish we could get that. The lady is indeed spot on with all she has said, but you won’t believe the mentality of folks here at home. Some are so sold – hook line and sinker ‒ on Americanism, so obsessed with and in love with the land of contradictions where one is refused employment for being too highly qualified, or over educated, as they would say. Oh, by the way, as I write I’m hearing on the television “Rule Britannia/Britannia rule the waves/Britons never never never shall be slaves” ‒ what an apt coincidence. And I’m not in any way saying that the USA is not a great and powerful country, sure they are; but come on! they would never ‘diss’ their unique lifestyle.
Also I love that million dollar question that was posed: “What are Guyanese at home observing when they choose to adopt these two celebrations – Halloween and Thanksgiving?” Talk about copycats, we deh pon top.
Ms Massiah made a wonderful contribution, representing a timely petition to our leadership to find innovative ways to reclaim a slowly fading culture, moreso as we approach our 50th Independence Anniversary. But let me warn the sister, that there are trailerloads of saltwater Yankees who would never give up their new found lifestyle living the American Dream.