The need to protect our culture against imperialism

By   Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu 

Culture is simply the way of life of the people. Culture is defined by the langauge the people speak, the food they eat, their norms and values, among others.Culture refers broadly to the forms through which people make sense of their lives. It is the learned behaviour of members of a given society.It is the socially acquired traditions and lifestyles of the members of the society, including their patterned, repetitive ways of thinking, feeling and acting.

Unfortunately, there a disturbing trend where virtually all the cultural values of the black continent, Africa, have been grossly eroded by the influence of other cultures of the world, especially the Western World. This trend is simply identified as "cultural imperialism".

Cultural imperialism is the displacement of a traditional culture with another. It is facililtated by channels of the mass media of communication. Cultural imperialism has multi-farious negative effects. The basic effect of cultural imperialism is that it supplants the local culture by imposing on this culture foreign values, tastes and fashions. Cultural imperialism erodes the people's sense of creativity by providing easy and ready-made answers to local problems.Cultural imperialism promotes on a large scale the dependency among members of the host community.Other negative effects of cultural imperialismare huge appetite for foreign products and values; economic plllage and exploitation; psychic damage, backwardness, and underdevelopment.

There have been mounting outcry against the huge damage foreign cultures have done to our local cultures through the instrumentality of cultural imperialism. Recently, groups and individuals have mounted intensive campaigns against the Big Brother Nigeria Television Show. At the centre of the agitation is the call on the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC, the regulating body of broadcastin in Nigeria to ban the reality TV show.

Among the positions canvassed by these agitators is " the moral perversity in the House of the Big Brother Nigeria". The opponents of this reality TV show are of the opinion that it is a big mockery of Nigerian culture and tradition, adding that since the inmates are Nigerians, they should have been projecting the Nigerian cultural heritage rather than bastardizing it.

Indeed, the call by these agiators to ban the reality Tv show is noit out of place considering the extent of damage it is doing to the psyche of Nigerians, especially children in whose destiny the future of Nigeria lies.In one episode last two weeks or so, It is not paltable to view in some episodes of the show where inmates are shown openly kissing and caressing one another. This is an obvious celebration of obscenity, eroticism and idleness, and should not be encouraged.

The fight against this malady called cultural imperialism does not start and end with the several calls on NBC to live up to its bidding of controlling, monitoring, regulating the electronic media and monitoring of satellite transmission in Nigeria. Nigerians have a big stake in this fight. The irony of the whole episode is that while Nigerians collectively bemoan this development, the majority of individual Nigerians co ntinue to worship foreign norms, values and products, including cultural products like movies, magazines, music and books. The most effective tool in this fight against cultural imperialism is the adjustment of mentality and mindset.