So, I’m Trying To Reconnect Culturally

So, I’m Trying To Reconnect Culturally

Is it too late to learn a new language?

I am a first generation Nigerian-American in Chicago. With my parents growing up in Nigeria instead of America, I had a different childhood than a lot of black youth, I grew up with Aki and PoPo instead of Madea and Tyler Perry, Afrobeats instead of R&B, and all the gospel songs were in broken English. Because my parents and all my older relatives are so connected to Nigeria, I automatically have an immediate cultural connection that a lot of people wish they could have, so what do I mean when I say I’m trying to reconnect culturally? Well my grandma and mom speak three languages, my grandpa dad and all his siblings speak two, most of my cousins speak two, and my siblings and I speak one.

When my parents came to America, my dad had such a hard time adjusting to the professional world with his thick Nigerian accent that when he met my mom before they had kids they sat down and decided, which took a long time because my mom wanted her kids to be bilingual originally, that they were only going to teach us English.

I’m not mad at my parents for making a decision they believed would inevitably better my future, but I am frustrated, because I believe they did me a disservice, giving me an Igbo name, putting me in a trilingual church where the most commonly spoken language isn’t English, and introducing me into circles and spaces where kids my age were speaking different languages and I would just have to sit and wait.

I do not regret how I grew up, I had a wonderful childhood, but the disconnect I feel to Nigerian culture, all because I don’t speak anything but English is all too real. When we would dress up in Native for special events, I would feel like an imposter almost, and it would hurt because I wanted to know another language, more than anything. I even had tried to make an effort to learn, but everytime was never the right time for my parents or my cousins, which is understandable because they're all busy people. The other day though I came to the realization that they might always be busy, and for them it might never be the right time, but for me the right time is now, and I can’t keep waiting for other people to encourage and support me to go after what I want. I need to be my own motivation, and chase my dreams myself in this case and that's more than fine to me.

So now, as freshman about to start my spring quarter, at 19 years old, I have decided I’m going to learn two new languages. I plan to learn Igbo, the language my dad and his side of the family speak, and Yoruba, one of the languages my mom and grandma speak, as well as the main language of my church and my friends. Although I do not know how exactly taking this language journey this late in life will turn out I’m ready for anything and everything life throws at me. Because I can take it. I plan to start this summer with Igbo learning classes, and I don't want to rush anything, but my goal is that in three years, by graduation, I’ll be fluent in the languages I’ve loved and admired from a distance for so long.

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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.

Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another — not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that.

Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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I Used To Think Height Didn't Matter, But Maybe It Really Does

I've come to a conclusion


I've had my fair share of boyfriends in the past. A common theme in my past choices of boys is that they were all an inch or two taller than me or the same height. Now, I am a little on the taller side considering that the average height for a woman in the US is 5 feet 4 inches tall. I'm not saying all the tall boys belong to all the tall girls and the shorter guys should stick with shorter girls, but I do think there might be something behind all this madness.

My reasoning for this is simple: I've been in an amazing relationship with someone who is fairly taller than me. Is this reason totally irrational and have no sort of concrete evidence for this argument? Yes, totally, but hear me out. All my other relationships haven't been this good or even had the potential to be this good. Is it a coincidence that they were all shorter? I think not!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys who are under 5'9''. There are some nice ones who probably don't talk to 5 other girls while you're dating, I just never happened to come across one back when I was in the game. I just find it interesting that I've been in a really healthy relationship for awhile now with someone who is over 6 feet tall.

Many amazing relationships have happened between all different types of people, no matter the height. It's just if you are having problems with boys who are under 6 feet, you may have some thinking to do.

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