So a few year ago, I was in West Africa visiting the beautiful country of Ghana for the first time. I was supposed to meet a pastor in the area to go visiting with him in the dusty little town of Effiduase. When I met him, we shook hands for an uncomfortably long time… so long, actually, that he never let my hand go.
This stranger that I had never met before in my life proceeded to lock fingers with me and we held hands as we went house by house to visit people. I remember clearly thinking, “What in the WORLD is going on here?” Now while you probably have not experienced something as dramatic as that recently, this is a clear example of a “culture clash;” that is to say, a confrontation between two very different cultures.
You would be surprised how many of the conflicts that we face nowadays are actually culture clashes disguised as other issues (but more on that in the next few weeks).
Here on The Haystack, I’m the new Issues in Race and Cultures Editor. That basically means that I’ve been given the near impossible task of tackling issues that have to do with culture and race as it relates to us today as people living in the 21st century. What kinds of things will this section be covering? Well, almost everything and anything that falls under this category, such as looking at the strange minor idiosyncrasies that culture imposes on us subconsciously. Little things like, for example:
- Why do Protestants ask the pastor to “bless” the food before eating?
- Why do brides wear veils at weddings?
- Why do brides throw their bouquet?
- Why do people ask God’s blessing on a sneezer?
- Why do people cover their mouth while yawning?
The answer to these things may surprise you. We’ll also discuss some rather sensitive topics as they relate to culture in today’s word:
- Racism (even within your own race)
- 1st and 2nd generation struggles
- Cultural idolatry
Don’t think that it’s going to be all serious though. We will even have some cool, out-of-the-box articles about cultural references and issues emerging from things many of us know, like music, video games, comics. and the like.
We don’t presume to provide all the answers, but rather to begin and encourage dialogue about these topics through different means. By bringing deeper, cultural issues to the surface, I believe that we will all benefit from a clearer awareness of ourselves and others. While I will by no means be the only writer here, this section will most likely produce some lively but civil discussions (I’ll make sure that the “civil” part is upheld). Either way, welcome to this journey that we will embark on together.
Have a suggestion for a topic that you would like to see discussed or presented in a future post? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Look for new articles each week![/box_holder]