Does my authenticity seem odd to you?

“American forces egalitarianism on you”

Both in Imitation and On Monday of Last Week, the notion of authenticity was mentioned. The word authenticity is often closely related with words like original or real. Even though something being authentic can raise the value of a subject, it can also create a stereotype or marginalized the other subjects that do not exactly follow the authentic style. In Imitation, Izemamaka said that American children talk to adults as they are equal. Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status. Izemamaka talked about egalitarianism as non-authentic value of African. As egalitarianism is vastly accepted as a social norm in the United states to a point where it is not odd th say that it became authentic American ideals. However, ‘authentic African women’ criticizes the idea of equality. The idea that is mutually understood as the norm or authentic can be completely foreign and odd in other cultures or countries.

The question of what is authentically African continues in On Monday of Last Week. When the housemaster compliments by saying Kamara speaks very good English. Kamara is uncomfortable with that compliment as Josh’s father obviously has an assumption that “English is his private property”. In fact, English is an official language of Nigeria. This assumption suggests that Josh’s father does not think that “Nigerian Language” is an authentic language for Africans, and it is out of the normality that Karma speaks the language the same language that he speaks; English. Another bold assumption was made by Josh’s family when they were surprised to know that Kamara has a master’s degree. This response of them was as if it is out of an African authenticity to be highly educated.As we talk about the danger of a single story, it seems safe to assume that Josh’s family did not have much experience or insight or African , or Nigerian culture. Stories like Imitation and On Monday of Last Week, which addresses the contrary of the typical stereotype that people might have about Africa is helpful to ease the danger of a single story.

Posted on November 21, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You raised some really good insights that missed me. I think your point about authenticity being a varying concept, and not one that is inherently universal is an awesome point! I also agree with you that these stories definitely call into question the issue of “the single story.” My question to you, is if authenticity changes according to culture, is it appropriate to use it as a universal term? If authenticity is taken to mean real, does this perceived definition need to change?

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