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Thread: African Culture compared to European

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    African Culture compared to European



    Hey there,


    recently there have already been lots of discussions in this forum about what makes a certain culture superior or inferior to others, what has history shown and what are the reasons for it. Everyone came up with his own explanation, and in the end all explanations differed widely (climate, religion, mentality, genetics, even nutrition played a role). In the end it has always been Sub-Saharan Africa or black people in general as the best example of world history's worst performer.
    Having lived in Tanzania, occasionally at a local family, with an African girlfriend (of Chagga tribe, got it? ), also deep in touch with other white people, Indians, Christian and Muslim culture, and a job at a psychiatry, I just didn't get around being confronted with a lot of questions, among other things why black people around the world perform so bad. The economic strength of southern Africa is at world's bottom, so is the social status of blacks in all mixed cultures. All the explanations basically swayed between these two extremes:
    The first one was: “It is the aggressiveness of the non-black world, especially white European Western world, which doesn't allow black people to do any better. There is something like a (subconscious) racism among all Whites, that sets obstacles in front of blacks in order to let them be subdued, in small private as well as on international basis. In order to help the Pan-African World, we need to educate white people to let racism be and give black people the capital to allow them to do their own business.”
    The second went like: ”Black people already had enough time to improve their conditions! Slavery, colonialism, and now even segregation are all long ago, Blacks had their opportunity! Ever wondered why black students and nations are doing so bad compared to other post-colonial people and countries? Asians are by far better! We can't deny differences in mental abilities anymore, but that doesn't imply blacks are less valuable human beings. We can live either side by side, or even in a harmonic symbiosis together, as we do with and therefor need our digestive bacteria.”


    When hearing this my ears keep bleeding! And in either way I feel attacked. With this thread I don't want to give any answers, but just want to share some of my deep observations, experiences and impressions I have made with African culture, compared to European. Later on it will inevitable lead to the questions “Does it make sense to impose Western values on other cultures?”, “Is development aid necessary or helpful?”, “Are cultural differences based on genetic abilities?”. But we can go deeper into that later on! My impressions first:

    Hierarchy
    Not that Europeans don't know any hierarchy between social classes, people's age, sexes or ethnic background (YES, even that exists in Europe!), but in Africa it has completely different dimensions. The aims, thoughts and activities of people with a higher status, like of wealth, age, sex, clan status, are NEVER questioned. It is the sole right of the most powerful to do what ever he wants to, and all the others are his devoted subjects. For me it was always impossible to do a good team work formed out of a group of Africans, as the most powerful guy of the group was never questioned in his thoughts. As me being white, it were always my ideas unreflected taken over by the others.
    Moreover, also crimes done by people of a higher status were often not questioned, as in this case it simply was no crime. So many things, regarded as crime in our eyes, like corruption, were no crime on African standards. Anyhow they are of course hidden in front of others, as the out-coming makes life more complicated. If the one in power shows any weakness, he will inevitable lose respect and soon his power.


    Family Matters
    Very simple and short, blood is heavier than water! It is the family, or further extended the clan, Africans feel devoted to, not the whole society or nation or unknown stranger. Even though national identities do sometimes exist, it is the family that goes first. Paying taxes for a welfare state that helps people far away you have never met, while at the same time your granny suffers alone with dementia at an old people's home? Unbelievable and unheard of in Tanzania! But on the other hand, if welfare and insurances do not exist, or you can't pay them, what other help do you have besides your family? Sadly this also applies to politics, were the families of politicians go first and political parties are based only on family bounds and friends, not on abstract ideologies.

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    Showing objects of value
    Understatement of valuables or success is something very European, or to be more precise, West and North European. If you have money or power in Africa, you show your money, you show your power! Africans are not very interested in investing their money in extended search of knowledge and abstract thoughts just for the sake of it. Money is invested in symbols, like clothes, women, notebooks, cars, houses, exclusive pool parties (if they can afford), not in travels or literature. Our romantic idea of the lone, free tramp, or the long-haired (why couldn't he afford a hair cut?) misunderstood rock musician is incomprehensible. And sometimes contemptuously looked down at. If the car or notebook doesn't work properly anymore, and you can afford it, you buy a new one! If you have the money, you don't even take much care about these objects.


    Fate and Predetermination
    There is not much responsibility Africans give to themselves. Everything that happens is due to fate. If a girl dies from genital mutilation, it wasn't because of bad hygiene, loss of blood or even the mutilation itself, but the will of God, Allah, or the spirits of the ancestors. Same if a driver dies in a crash after he was driving too fast and ignored somebody's right of way. Same to sexual protection. Same to structural engineering of buildings. The only thing that sometimes can have influence on these happenings is the use of witchcraft, which leads me to the next point.


    Witchcraft
    Probably the most hidden feature of African culture to outsiders, and if detected the least comprehensible, is the wide use of witchcraft. You will hardly find a Tanzanian who has never been to a traditional ghost healer. This applies to everyone, to the football player who wants to influence the upcoming game, to the politician who wants to put a spell on his opponent, to the man who needs the love powder to make the woman fall into love with him. Even when I was at the psychiatry the nursing staff tried to convince me the patients are bewitched or possessed by evil spirits. All of the staff except for one! My personal estimation is that about 95% to 98% of all Tanzanians believe in witchcraft. Even the educated and those who have studied in Europe. So if in Europe a patient says that his neighbors tried to bewitch him, he will get the diagnosis “psychosis”. If somebody tells this in Tanzania, he is most probable right.


    Hierarchy, fate and witchcraft
    Bad if these three meet together. As explained above, the one who has the power is the one who is right. If you don't have the power and are poor, you are subject to the thing which is called fate. But what if someone is business-minded enough and suddenly comes to a lot of money? And has more money than all the others? He surely used witchcraft in order to overcome his fate! So people will put a spell on him. And as everyone is always living with the fear to get bewitched, they won't even try to be better than their neighbors. Competition is non-existent then!


    Perception of time and spare time
    Last thing. If the plumber told me he will be there at one o'clock, I knew I can spend the whole afternoon at home with the hope he will arrive by four o'clock. If he has forgotten to come, I would call him and he will come some other day. Colleagues usually arrived at least one hour too late at work, and I did the same in order to win their trust. People didn't arrive at meetings. Buses didn't stick to the time schedules, if they even existed. The European view and value of getting attention by working so much, even in your spare time, until you burn out, is unbelievable and irresponsible in Africa. The problem is, production takes an awful lot of time with this.


    Of all these things mentioned above, except for the last point, it applied to everyone. Even the intelligent and educated and those who have studied in Europe. And if they changed their views while having been in Europe, they fell into their old habits again when they got back to Tanzania. So I am pretty sure all these habits and believes stick to some point to culture and psychology, not to intelligence.


    But could it be that Northern Europe has been regarded as underdeveloped, mentally retarded, lazy, superstitious and tribally obsessed by Southern Europeans during Roman times, the Barbarian Migrations and Middle Ages? The same part of Europe which now ranks among the regions in the world with the highest GDP? The same part of Europe that Richard Lynn now certifies the highest IQ in Europe? The same part of Europe that seems to have gained the highest IQ through natural selection since then, but physically hasn't changed a bit in the same range of generations?


    regards
    Mzungu mchagga

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    civilizatiıon starts with agriculture. agriculture starts with rivers. lack of water in africa, i believe, the beginning of problem. ın addition to that, i guess, abundance of animals for hunting let them live like small hunting tribes in a non-disturbing warm/hot climate for thousands of years.

    now they must start from the very beginning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbarian View Post
    civilizatiıon starts with agriculture. agriculture starts with rivers. lack of water in africa, i believe, the beginning of problem. ın addition to that, i guess, abundance of animals for hunting let them live like small hunting tribes in a non-disturbing warm/hot climate for thousands of years.

    now they must start from the very beginning.
    No actually. Take a look on the map of Africa! There are plenty of rivers, there is plenty of fertile land. Our perception of the infertile, dry continent comes from the media when they only show the pictures of famines and hungry children, when there has been an occasional drought somewhere. The truth is, most of Africans are not suffering from starvation.
    Moreover, it is not true either that when the colonialists arrived they only found hunters and gatherers. There have been towns, there has been a lot of agriculture, there have been kingdoms! Over all I would compare the pre-colonial period with the conditions Western Europe had around the Bronze Age. The question now is, why has Sub-Saharan-Africa not developed earlier or quicklier? Because they were, without an impulse from the outside, from their mental skills not able to? Or because there was simply no need for it?
    But yes, in this point it is true that African society is on a much earlier, I will call it Pre-Magna-Charta-Philosophical-Stage, and things can't be changed in just a few generations.

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    What a great summary Mzungu, easy to read and even grouped thematically. Overall I agree with your observations, there are exactly mine too (not that rich though) knowing Africa only from news and documentary programs.

    My comments:
    To call Africans inferior, just because they don't produce so much as the west is misleading. Africans as Homo Sapience survived in Africa 5 time longer than people on other continents. That's a big success, and shows superior adaptation to local conditions.
    The problem might be coming from our egocentric character and understanding. We measure the success comparing everyone and every country to our Western culture, economy, consumption, standards, etc. If someone compares the same, we think they are successful. If a country is much different, they must be a failure.

    As of now population of Africa is 1 billion strong, that's a big success.

    I do agree that they are a different race, with their unique culture, believes, understanding, DNA, character, and it should be treated this way. Not inferior, funny or backward, but just different and unique.
    If they ask for our help, knowledge, technology, we should gladly help. If they want to be left alone in their way of life, that should be granted and respected.

    I strongly believe we are all equal, and should have same rights and privileges. We are all just a little different people, that's all.

    I'll write some more when I have more time.



    I have a question. I noticed in Canada that black people don't like swimming at all. It's not a physical thing, as we know how good they are in sports. They just don't like to be submerged.
    Is this the same in Africa?
    My hypothesis is that it's genetic. If you get into river or lake in Africa, something can eat you. Nothing like this can happen in Europe.
    If I write about the differences between races, or any two people, is just because I see them, I'm amazed by them, and I'm trying to understand why, why, why... I'm just curious, and please don't accuse me of bad intentions. There are none, just curious mind.

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    There are physical differences in all the races and that is all there is to it. Not that it makes a bit of difference in how any person should be treated under the law or in human relations. However I have found that the physical differences in stature, muscularity and physical abilities are not outside of the norm for any of the basic so called races.
    I have been told that reluctance to enter the water is more a matter of cultural heritage, maybe racial memory would be a better word for it. As LeBrok said there are some very bad things in the water in Africa, if you get in on purpose there are a lot of things that can kill you. It only seems logical that after 4 million years of evolution in that environment that those who stayed out of the water survived at higher ratios than those who didn't.
    I have found that after a couple hundred years of living in places where it is safer to swim that African Americans swim a great deal more than their African ancestors did.
    I have also heard that the structure of the pelvic girdle of Africans is on the average constructed for more efficient striding than the pelvis of Asians or Europeans. It might explain the prevalence of people African origin as Olympic sprinters and distance runners. Where as European and Asians are more efficient in the water. However in the last Olympic games the American Olympic team had an African American win a gold medal in a swimming event. And if you look at school training facilities in America you will see many black children participating in swimming and diving events with equal success with their white and Asian classmates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    I have a question. I noticed in Canada that black people don't like swimming at all. It's not a physical thing, as we know how good they are in sports. They just don't like to be submerged.
    Is this the same in Africa?
    My hypothesis is that it's genetic. If you get into river or lake in Africa, something can eat you. Nothing like this can happen in Europe.
    I've never heard of anything like this. It is true that many Africans couldn't swim, especially in the interior country, because there was no possibility to do so. There were no public swimming pools and the rivers were mostly polluted. Along the coast and on Zanzibar many people went to the beach and swam, did their excersises and enjoyed it. Also when I was in South Carolina I've been to a public swimming lake where many blacks went swimming.

    All in all I think that way too much attention is given to genetics. I would regard my own IQ as very avererage. In linguistics perhaps a little above, in maths perhaps a little below, but still normal. When I compared my abilities to Africans I could clearly observe that on an average these abilities were subject to training in life. Africans were fast at easy adding and subtracting calculations, but were bad in a little more complicated calculations you won't need every day. And school education was really bad in Tanzania, even if they have been to school teaching was very bad, too. Africans clearly outperformed me in games like nine men's morris or bao (a local Arabic/African game), which they obviously have played more than I have.

    My impression is that a lot of features of African culture have been preserved on a lower scale in today's Afro-American culture. And it is true that some of this "acting black" beaviour (see to some extend hierarchy or showing objects of value) has negative effect on success in life! So for some experts this seems to be the proof, it is in their genes which influence the character, they aren't able to act any differently! But when I was in the US I could clearly see that society is to some extend still very segregated, not with intention, but it is in the heads of blacks and whites. So tradition is passed on from parents to children, and when all family members and neighbors you have behave in a certain way, plus it makes life in some aspect easier for you, I know it is nearly impossible to break out of this kind of life! Especially when you lose respect of beloved persons when you do so, and you haven't learned it any differently!

    I can see that young people from East Germany often differ in thoughts from young West Germans. But they have never really experienced communist life, either because they were not born yet or way too young at that time. But anyhow the parents who have had a different education from the parents in West Germany passed this on to their children. And we are talking about 40 years of communist rule. Not 500 years of Afro-American culture!

    Never forget that until the late Middle Ages the life of a North European peasant didn't differ that much from a today's African farmer. Feudal and clerical authorities were not questioned. Life was about farming, family, village parties (music at that time contained much more rythm than today!), diseases, famines, worship of God and fear of the devil and witches. Put a peasant from then into a time machine and bring him here! He will surely act "very black"!
    I highly dought that natural selection of the smartest has played a major role since then. My family line can be traced back to the early 16th century, I personally only saw the linage of the last 300 years. But as far as I could see, every male, unless he didn't die at a very young age, got married. Surely perhaps not every disabled person was mentioned, but for them it wouldn't have made it any easier today at a candle light dinner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    As of now population of Africa is 1 billion strong, that's a big success.
    Just out of curiousity, how is a large population a measure of success?

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    Life on earth is always about next generation,....... of any species.
    It doesn't really matter how you measure success against any race or species. It doesn't matter at the end.
    It doesn't matter if you happy or sad in your life. In nature only matters if you have offsprings and if they survive to have their own, etc, etc. If something else matters more than this, race or species die off. How successful is this?
    I know, it might be a sad story for you, and it is for me. But it is what it is, the nature of Nature.
    If we didn't dig the dinosaur bones, we wouldn't know how successful they were for 200 million years. They didn't pass the test though, and they are gone. Was T.Rex happier or smarter than Crocodile? Who cares, T.Rex is gone, crock is still with us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Life on earth is always about next generation,....... of any species.
    It doesn't really matter how you measure success against any race or species. It doesn't matter at the end.
    It doesn't matter if you happy or sad in your life. In nature only matters if you have offsprings and if they survive to have their own, etc, etc. If something else matters more than this, race or species die off. How successful is this?
    I know, it might be a sad story for you, and it is for me. But it is what it is, the nature of Nature.
    If we didn't dig the dinosaur bones, we wouldn't know how successful they were for 200 million years. They didn't pass the test though, and they are gone. Was T.Rex happier or smarter than Crocodile? Who cares, T.Rex is gone, crock is still with us.
    Can't get around the feeling that what you are trying to imply is: Europe might be T.Rex, Africa might be crock. T.Rex is bigger, taller and smarter with a higher developed brain. Crock depends on instinct, reproduces more and hides in water. And survived volcanos and asteroid. Africans are not less likely to survive Europeans just because their mental skills aren't genetically as highly developed. But their instictive habits of reproduction and easy way of solving problems with violence might make them superior one day.

    I think I got your point of view. I just tried to revise it with my previous posts by telling that these different habits between Europeans and Africans aren't quite as genetically based as most people would think, but in fact based on traditional reasons which again are due to a complex play of contact to other cultures and natural environment.

    Personally I think that even if these differences in mental skills and character between so called races exist (if scientists can proof it with genes on DNA someday), they are so small that they can be neglected! They are smaller than between sexes (sorry girls) or even perhaps between the same woman with and without PMS (sorry girls, again!)

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    Lol, it has worked out this way, though I don't care who is T.Rex who's crocodile, future will tell.
    I do believe, on my observation, that genetic differences are bigger than you think. The genetic differences are also responsible influencing culture, believes, customs, and few other things. There are populations of Africans in USA for 300 years and you still can see their distinct culture in everyday way of life, music, religion, interaction, speech, etc.
    You don't see these differences in Americans of european origin, at least grandchildren. They behave like typical white Americans.
    I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just that I can see the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbarian View Post
    civilizatiıon starts with agriculture. agriculture starts with rivers. lack of water in africa, i believe, the beginning of problem. ın addition to that, i guess, abundance of animals for hunting let them live like small hunting tribes in a non-disturbing warm/hot climate for thousands of years.

    now they must start from the very beginning.
    I agree, it has something to do with agriculture. Current technological/production economy is easily assimilated and used by Europeans (it was invented here, so no surprise) and east Asians like Japan, Korea, China, etc. The common thing for these two regions is steady (no prolonged droughts), long (thousands of years) and very intensive (all over big areas) history of agriculture (heavy field work). I'm sure after 10 thousands years it will have a genetic imprint in local populations.
    Other areas of the world embrace agriculture too, but they didn't have this uninterrupted and intense periods of it. In south and central America there were severe droughts that brought agricultural civilisations to their end. Same goes for Middle East. If it comes to Africa, if droughts or floods won't get you in, the locust or something worse will. It's really tough there, and obviously what locals are doing to survive works the best.
    I really can see correlation between agricultural traditions and adopting western economy.
    The opposite point on this spectrum are pure hunter gatherers tribes of Prairie Indians, and Australian Aborigines. Not only the western economy is a strange thing for them, so is the whole way of life of white people. I really feel sorry for them. They were ripped out off their elements by white men's governments that wanted to save them from "savage and primitive" way of life. Well, in Canada almost every news from the native reserves are quite disastrous these days. ....or maybe just for my western ears?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    There are populations of Africans in USA for 300 years and you still can see their distinct culture in everyday way of life, music, religion, interaction, speech, etc.
    You don't see these differences in Americans of european origin, at least grandchildren. They behave like typical white Americans.
    Don't understand.
    You don't see the differences in black Americans either! I can not tell from a black American if his habits are based on Wolof, Hausa, Yoruba or Kikongo culture, where the slaves were taken from. As well as I can't tell from a white American if his ancestors came from Italy, Russia or Scotland. Of course blacks didn't assimilate into White culture that fast, because first the differences between Africa and Europe are much bigger than between England and Italy (well, ok sometimes... ), and second until about the 1960's Blacks were practically kept away from Whites, so it was not possible to assimilate. LeBrok, have you actually read my posts above? Please go back to post #7!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    Don't understand.
    You don't see the differences in black Americans either! I can not tell from a black American if his habits are based on Wolof, Hausa, Yoruba or Kikongo culture, where the slaves were taken from. As well as I can't tell from a white American if his ancestors came from Italy, Russia or Scotland. Of course blacks didn't assimilate into White culture that fast, because first the differences between Africa and Europe are much bigger than between England and Italy (well, ok sometimes... ),
    Sorry, it was exactly my point, but I often can't express myself clearly enough. The difficulty assimilating to different culture might not be only cultural, but also genetic. I believe that genes influence cultures a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    and second until about the 1960's Blacks were practically kept away from Whites, so it was not possible to assimilate. LeBrok, have you actually read my posts above? Please go back to post #7!
    Well, in some aspects of life yes. But if they were kept away from whites, how come they are basically all christians now?
    Do they play African instruments? Do they cook in their native ways?
    These are deeply cultural issues, especially religion. They all changed into white men's structure, but the form remained African. Black Americans jump and dance in their churches, and they invented rap music strongly based on rhythm. And that's the genetic side of a culture.

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    Huh? This would mean there is no gene that makes you believe in either one or more god, but at least a gene that makes you want to jump when you get into church!
    This explanation sounds just too easy for me. And by the way music instruments as well as food are material things. The first slaves who were brought to America were not allowed to play any music and of course there were no African dishes either in America. But the children of the slaves were not raised by Whites, but by there own parents, who still inherited the old African believes and passed them on and on! Raise a black child by white parents, and it won't start to jump at sunday school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Well, in some aspects of life yes. But if they were kept away from whites, how come they are basically all christians now?
    They were christianized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    No actually. Take a look on the map of Africa! There are plenty of rivers, there is plenty of fertile land. Our perception of the infertile, dry continent comes from the media when they only show the pictures of famines and hungry children, when there has been an occasional drought somewhere. The truth is, most of Africans are not suffering from starvation.
    Moreover, it is not true either that when the colonialists arrived they only found hunters and gatherers. There have been towns, there has been a lot of agriculture, there have been kingdoms! Over all I would compare the pre-colonial period with the conditions Western Europe had around the Bronze Age. The question now is, why has Sub-Saharan-Africa not developed earlier or quicklier? Because they were, without an impulse from the outside, from their mental skills not able to? Or because there was simply no need for it?
    But yes, in this point it is true that African society is on a much earlier, I will call it Pre-Magna-Charta-Philosophical-Stage, and things can't be changed in just a few generations.
    thanks for the topic. very informative.

    firstly, lets make a brief summary about the civilization chronology.
    - 1.8 miilion years ago.... homo erectus
    http://www.donsmaps.com/images10/turkanaIMG_0689.jpg
    http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkana_boy
    - 160.000 years ago........ homo sapiens idaltus
    - 50.000 years ago......... homo sapiens
    - BC 7500 .................... cereal agriculture in mesopotomia (around dicle-firat rivers)
    - BC 4000..................... the first cities in mesopotomia (sumers)
    - BC3000...................... The first kingdoms in egypt (around Nile delta)
    - BC2500...................... Minos, india civilizations (around the river indus)
    - BC2000......................Sang dynasty in china (around the yellow river); rain agriculture in Anatolia.
    - BC1500...................... Mikene civilization, and barbarians with the war horses (caucasians)
    - BC 1000..................... Dors in europe, Dongson civilization in s.east asia

    between the years 50.000 and BC 7500 we cannot see a big difference in the daily life of human since there is no agriculture and people cannot afford extra food for the specialist people (architectures, governors, soldiers etc). so they couldnt achieve to build cities, civilization. they mostly left their elders and some of childs behind when they move to other places for hunt, because of lack of food (20-25 people groups).

    then people invent agriculture which was enough to provide extra food for specialists. so they build the first cities around mesopotomia, china, egypt, and india. all of them were around the rivers. those were special rivers which were overfloving 1-2 times a year and causing self-watering. people in that ages couldnt achieve rain agriculture yet.

    as you can see in above chronology, there is no civilization in europe yet (other than partially in greece and italy) between BC 7500 and 1000 (6500 years). and it does not mean european people did not have enough IQ because of their race. it was because they didnt have enough source (climate and suitable river).

    people invent rain agriculture at BC 2000 in anatolia and eventually created civilization and achieved population increase. after that time, egypt, china, mesopotomia and india had to share the world with others.

    europe could reach its power after the discovery of america, or patetoes (for human) and clover (for horses).

    the first kingdoms in europe (other than GR and IT) was about AC 300, about 7500 years after mesopotomia.

    Africa didnt have a chance to see the changes in the world for all these years, they didnt have suitable rivers, and they probably had enough food to live separated from each other as tribes. just like red skins in america, and aborgines in australia. central asians also couldnt achieve civilization since livestock production was enough for them.

    africans meet with civilization (in a bitter way) during colonization about 350 years ago, just about 4-5 generations. and i believe afro americans do it pretty well, if you count all of their grand grand fathers were slaves, which also explains their disharmony, hate and frustration in these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    Huh? This would mean there is no gene that makes you believe in either one or more god, but at least a gene that makes you want to jump when you get into church!
    This explanation sounds just too easy for me. And by the way music instruments as well as food are material things. The first slaves who were brought to America were not allowed to play any music and of course there were no African dishes either in America. But the children of the slaves were not raised by Whites, but by there own parents, who still inherited the old African believes and passed them on and on! Raise a black child by white parents, and it won't start to jump at sunday school.
    Some scientists claim the god gene was already found.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene
    It's more like spirituality issue. It doesn't matter what you believe in: this god that god, gods, UFO, mother earth, etc.

    And yes it turned that it was much easier to switch believes one for the other, and they are Christians now, mostly. But it turned to be impossible to stop dancing while praying. I'm pretty sure they didn't learn dancing in christian churches from white people.

    Making instruments or cloths way back involved some art, patterns, colours, designs, so it was a very cultural experience. Same goes with food, even though they couldn't get African ingredients, they could use substitutes and still cook in their native fashion. The point is, they lost the cultural side of life from Africa, what's left is genetic predispositions. Like what group of foods you prefer to eat, meats, starches, cheeses, or how much food. What instrument you play it doesn't matter much, what matters is what kind of music you prefer to play. The one with mostly melody, or the one with lots of drums and strong rhythm. Can you just stand and sing, or you have to move to the rhythm when singing?

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    Excuses, excuses

    The real thing we need to understand is why africa sits at the bottom of the league table for any form of social, political, cultural, and economic development.

    You have various parts of the world making huge strides in development, Brasil, China, and india.

    The Japanese are in the G8 and they aren't european, they don't make excuses about cultural gaps or that they just need time to develop their own way.

    Fact is Afirca sits at the bottom of the class holding all the other student back, any attempt to criticise and immediately the race card is played. Colonalism should have given the africans a head start and not as is claimed to be the root of all their problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    And yes it turned that it was much easier to switch believes one for the other, and they are Christians now, mostly. But it turned to be impossible to stop dancing while praying. I'm pretty sure they didn't learn dancing in christian churches from white people.

    Making instruments or cloths way back involved some art, patterns, colours, designs, so it was a very cultural experience. Same goes with food, even though they couldn't get African ingredients, they could use substitutes and still cook in their native fashion. The point is, they lost the cultural side of life from Africa, what's left is genetic predispositions. Like what group of foods you prefer to eat, meats, starches, cheeses, or how much food. What instrument you play it doesn't matter much, what matters is what kind of music you prefer to play. The one with mostly melody, or the one with lots of drums and strong rhythm. Can you just stand and sing, or you have to move to the rhythm when singing?
    This would suggest that there has not been any communication between the newly arrived african slaves, between them and their children. Not only have they been deprived of their culture, but also in a mass amnesia forgotten their songs and believes, been left in a spritual and cultural vacuum, until due to their genes they discovered rythm and vodoo again. Of course I can't prove that there is no gene involved in how you enjoy to move, which can never be changed even in generations, but neither can you with this argumentation.
    [standing up straight in front of my pc like a blitz, marching into se kitchen to se siemens fridge, taking a big fork of sauerkraut and marching back to my pc.]


    @barbarian
    Yeah, rivers which water the fields in seasonal course are one main factor for the emergence of first civilizations. Until recently I also believed that seasonal change in general is a must for the emergence and development of civilizations. Not necessarily a strong winter, but at least some kind of winter or perhaps even a long and hot dry season. However, Amerindian civilizations evolved completly without seasons, Maya and Inka had neither winter nor dry seasons nor flooding rivers, and yet civilizations developed. It is also very interesting to see how different Amerindian civilizations were from the Old World. For instance they had high mathematical and astronomical skills, but didn't use the wheel in every day life. Probably Amerindians lack a certain "wheel gene". (sorry LeBrok )
    Sadly I don't have any information right now how agriculture got to Sub-Saharan Africa. Fact is, many tribes used their distinct way of farming in the continent's interior long before colonialists arrived. But I have no clue right now if it emerged on it's own or if it was brought there through the Sahara. As through different climate different plants grow in the African tropics, people there couldn't copy farming from the Near East or India just one to one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    The real thing we need to understand is why africa sits at the bottom of the league table for any form of social, political, cultural, and economic development.

    You have various parts of the world making huge strides in development, Brasil, China, and india.

    The Japanese are in the G8 and they aren't european, they don't make excuses about cultural gaps or that they just need time to develop their own way.

    Fact is Afirca sits at the bottom of the class holding all the other student back, any attempt to criticise and immediately the race card is played. Colonalism should have given the africans a head start and not as is claimed to be the root of all their problems.
    I already stated that Africa's poor performance has NOTHING to do with colonialism. In fact it is an argumentation usually used by black racists, politicians and development aid organizations in order to lean back and let the cash flow from Europe and the White US.
    I see it more on a cultural basis, by which you are right, it mustn't necessarily be the European way in order to win economic success, scientific progress and military dominance. Japan is very progressed, too. China will surely overtake or at least be on one level with the US soon. They haven't read Rousseau or Voltaire though. It is ridiculous to see how Europe tries to impose values of, for example Rawls, on other cultures, whereas it should start with Machiavelli first. Or perhaps Descartes "Africa thinks, therefor it is!"

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    [QUOTE=Mzungu mchagga;361014]This would suggest that there has not been any communication between the newly arrived african slaves, between them and their children. Not only have they been deprived of their culture, but also in a mass amnesia forgotten their songs and believes, been left in a spritual and cultural vacuum, until due to their genes they discovered rythm and vodoo again. Of course I can't prove that there is no gene involved in how you enjoy to move, which can never be changed even in generations, but neither can you with this argumentation.
    [standing up straight in front of my pc like a blitz, marching into se kitchen to se siemens fridge, taking a big fork of sauerkraut and marching back to my pc.]

    Well, there was a little bit more time involved in it than two generation. I'm not sure but slaves were coming to States between 300 and 150 years ago. For last 150 years fresh contact with African culture was interrupted.
    Voodoo stuff is mostly popular in Haiti, and was popularized in US with new emigrants from there. I think the French didn't care about christening and sterilizing their slaves culturally compared to Americans.

    What, there is no wheel gene???!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    The real thing we need to understand is why africa sits at the bottom of the league table for any form of social, political, cultural, and economic development.

    You have various parts of the world making huge strides in development, Brasil, China, and india.

    The Japanese are in the G8 and they aren't european, they don't make excuses about cultural gaps or that they just need time to develop their own way.

    Fact is Afirca sits at the bottom of the class holding all the other student back, any attempt to criticise and immediately the race card is played. Colonalism should have given the africans a head start and not as is claimed to be the root of all their problems.
    Africa should be left alone to figure out their own ways to live in current world. I'm not convinced that any of the western models of running countries and economy will work there. They need to find their own models. Something that will work for them.
    Colonialism disadvantage was that it left Africa with countries ethnically and linguistically mixed. This never helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post

    @barbarian
    Yeah, rivers which water the fields in seasonal course are one main factor for the emergence of first civilizations. Until recently I also believed that seasonal change in general is a must for the emergence and development of civilizations. Not necessarily a strong winter, but at least some kind of winter or perhaps even a long and hot dry season. However, Amerindian civilizations evolved completly without seasons, Maya and Inka had neither winter nor dry seasons nor flooding rivers, and yet civilizations developed. It is also very interesting to see how different Amerindian civilizations were from the Old World. For instance they had high mathematical and astronomical skills, but didn't use the wheel in every day life. Probably Amerindians lack a certain "wheel gene". (sorry LeBrok )
    Sadly I don't have any information right now how agriculture got to Sub-Saharan Africa. Fact is, many tribes used their distinct way of farming in the continent's interior long before colonialists arrived. But I have no clue right now if it emerged on it's own or if it was brought there through the Sahara. As through different climate different plants grow in the African tropics, people there couldn't copy farming from the Near East or India just one to one.
    overflovong rivers caused an advantage of 2000 years to the owners. can you imagine egypt without nile? however, hittites also didnt have overfloving rivers, but they invent rain agriculture and became the main power against egypt. mayas also was an agriculture culture. their main food was corn.

    what i believe, africans didnt need agriculture, which prevent their cooperation, unity, and therefore civilization. just like central asians who didnt need agriculture, since they had livestocks.

    reference: "a world history" by william mcneill,
    i strongly advise this book, if you didnt read before.

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    When indoeuropeans/Aryans spread south, the middle of Asia was greener than now. The drought afterwords ruined their cities and villages, and mid Asia became underpopulated. Who knows, maybe that's why they were pressing south, with clime change.
    The same goes for Inka and Aztec empire, and few other South and North American civilizations. The growth and continuity of their civilizations was always interrupted by extensive droughts. In the name of rain god they sacrificed the POW and many of their own. I think you heard the stories.
    Europe always been in climatic stability (since ice age) and once agriculture took roots there, there was no interruption. One might say that Europe is in a privileged place.
    Interesting example is Canadian prairies. The white people landed on East coast about 500 years ago. Toronto and Montreal are 400 years old. It took them another 300 years to settle and populate prairies. Why? Because till 20 century prairies were dry and cold, wheat didn't grow here. Now it's warmer and moist and prairies produce 7 times more wheat than Canada can eat every year.
    That's the example of harsh climatic reality for any past civilization in Americas. Natives here never experienced civilisation continuity connected to agriculturalism.
    In Africa the only place that farmers could have successful agriculture is Zimbabwe. But this is only based on last 100 years of history. The rest of continent's weather is too capricious. On top of it there are so many pests that only wait to eat your crops. How can you protect crops against locust without pesticides? Herd of 100 000 antelopes can walk through you field too, leaving nothing.
    I'm pretty sure that if Africa had more moderate or stable clime the locals would be agriculturalists for thousands of years now....and behaving more European. :) ...if that's an advancement ;) lol

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