Thursday, May 19, 2005
US Versus Them, or How Ghanaians Make More Caring People than the US?
"Men at Work"--Please note the caption;-) Taken @ Airport Residential, August 2004
Yesterday morning, as the rain, once again of a cats and dogs variety poured down in the beautiful, green city of Accra, I was engaged in a short discussion with one http://robertlindsay.blogspot.com about crime rates, Ghana, the US and culture. Please find below the transcript, which makes interesting reading. My handle is "goodmanhunting2003".
calvinthedog (08:48:40): hi
calvinthedog (08:48:50): i have a question for you
goodmanhunting2003 (08:48:56): hey--long time no see
calvinthedog (08:49:04): hi there
calvinthedog (08:49:14): can u tell me
calvinthedog (09:00:59): does the punishment for criminals differ between Ghana and the US
goodmanhunting2003 (09:01:11): depends on the crime...
calvinthedog (09:01:23): you see, i noticed that crime rates are actually much higher in the US
calvinthedog (09:01:27): than Ghana
calvinthedog (09:01:32): and Ghana is all black
goodmanhunting2003 (09:01:45): ok...
calvinthedog (09:01:49): the attitude prevalent here is black folks are natural criminals
calvinthedog (09:02:07): the Ghana example would seem to prove this wrong
calvinthedog (09:02:08): at least in one case
calvinthedog (09:02:09): i have the figures
calvinthedog (09:02:21): murder rate US = 2 X as high
calvinthedog (09:02:31): rape rate US = 4 X as high
calvinthedog (09:02:48): theft rate = 80 times as high
calvinthedog (09:03:01): larceny rate = 2,700 X as high
calvinthedog (09:03:21): the formulation blacks = crime is largely racist
goodmanhunting2003 (09:03:30): well. that's wrong...it's true a lot of black folks do commit crimes in the US, but they are not naturally criminal...too bad though that blacks have created this myth for themselves too...
calvinthedog (09:03:42): well anyway
calvinthedog (09:03:49): i would like to use this Ghana example
calvinthedog (09:03:56): to show that its not true
calvinthedog (09:04:01): at least in case of Ghana
goodmanhunting2003 (09:04:04): gang culture does not help dispel the myth..then again, let's think of Italy, and we thin of Mafia...y know...
calvinthedog (09:04:32): well u know blacks in US have much higher crime rate than blacks in Ghana
calvinthedog (09:04:37): and a much worse attitude IMO
calvinthedog (09:04:40): very angry
calvinthedog (09:04:42): not happy
calvinthedog (09:04:48): lot of social pathology
goodmanhunting2003 (09:04:50): yes, they are angry!! it'sa true....
calvinthedog (09:05:00): and they are much wealthier than Ghanian blacks
calvinthedog (09:05:02): so............
calvinthedog (09:05:25): the high crime, anger and social pathology of US blacks must be due to being a minority
calvinthedog (09:05:30): discrimination
calvinthedog (09:05:32): racism
calvinthedog (09:05:41): something about being a black minority
calvinthedog (09:05:46): in a white society
goodmanhunting2003 (09:05:47): yes...all true...
calvinthedog (09:05:56): cuz its clearly not genetic
calvinthedog (09:06:03): US blacks are 20% white
calvinthedog (09:06:05): minimum
calvinthedog (09:06:10): so anyway......
calvinthedog (09:06:26): one rejoinder i am getting is......the punishment in Ghana is much more severe
calvinthedog (09:06:29): i doubt it
calvinthedog (09:06:40): but if you could help me.........
goodmanhunting2003 (09:06:42): I don't think they havea capital punishment here....
calvinthedog (09:06:48): really?????????
calvinthedog (09:06:59): wow
calvinthedog (09:06:59): omg
calvinthedog (09:07:00): whats a usual sentence for homicide?
calvinthedog (09:07:03): rape?
calvinthedog (09:07:11): any idea?
calvinthedog (09:07:51): robbery?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:08:17): armed robbery gets you from 10-20 years from what I have been hearing in the news...
goodmanhunting2003 (09:08:20): brb...
calvinthedog (09:08:23): wow
calvinthedog (09:08:24): ok
goodmanhunting2003 (09:13:49): I'm back...
goodmanhunting2003 (09:14:08): for homicide, not sure...
calvinthedog (09:14:13): k good
calvinthedog (09:14:22): thats a bit higher than the US
calvinthedog (09:14:23): what about homicide?
calvinthedog (09:14:32): rape?
calvinthedog (09:14:32): any ideas?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:14:42): but it would depend on gravity of the crime--as is the case everywhere. Definitely a more than 5...
calvinthedog (09:14:58): ok
calvinthedog (09:14:59): wow
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:03): no idea for rape...
calvinthedog (09:15:06): i think we are tougher here
calvinthedog (09:15:15): theft?
calvinthedog (09:15:20): ok
calvinthedog (09:15:22): petty theft?
calvinthedog (09:15:31): larceny?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:58): theft attracts a low sentence here, I think. You can get something like 1 yr/2 years, but armed is a heavier one.
calvinthedog (09:16:15): ok
calvinthedog (09:16:20): i think we are actually tougher here
calvinthedog (09:16:30): not that a Ghanian prison is a very nice place
calvinthedog (09:16:38): i think i can shoot that theory down
calvinthedog (09:16:51): now, why the low crime rate in Ghana?
calvinthedog (09:16:59): high religiosity?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:17:02): seems so...I recall the three strikes and you're out--anad the controversy surrounding that...
calvinthedog (09:05:44): no kidding!!!!!!!!
calvinthedog (09:05:54): 25 yrs for stealing a hamburger????
goodmanhunting2003 (09:05:59): some odd sentences over that!!!
calvinthedog (09:06:10): very Christian culture in Ghana
calvinthedog (09:06:14): i wonder if that is part of it
goodmanhunting2003 (09:06:17): that is just criminal...(pardon the pun)
calvinthedog (09:06:26): really no kidding
goodmanhunting2003 (09:06:34): btw, this may help: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/crime/
calvinthedog (09:07:13): yes i saw that
calvinthedog (09:07:24): really not so much crime there even in Accra
goodmanhunting2003 (09:07:49): I think you're right; can be attributed to the (often times excessive) CHristian culture. Ghanaians are generally peaceful people, and though criminals are part of every society, the country's extended family, etc I think helps shield a lot of to-be-criminals.
calvinthedog (09:08:09): right
calvinthedog (09:08:19): u mean high social sanction?
calvinthedog (09:08:31): a Ghanian criminal brings shame on their family?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:08:42): ...in the sense that our family values are quite high--there is an emerging nuclear family, but our culture is such that the extended family forces us to be more caring--sometimes from the heart, othertimes, not...
calvinthedog (09:08:55): yes
calvinthedog (09:09:02): and basically a communal culture?
calvinthedog (09:09:08): communal values?
calvinthedog (09:09:18): as opposed to individualistic values
goodmanhunting2003 (09:09:37): yes, to an extent, a criminal would bring shame to the family, and the family would be harassed, etc for bringing up such a person, etc. There is an element of that.
calvinthedog (09:09:52): from village culture - the family shame thing
calvinthedog (09:10:05): African villages often had low crime
calvinthedog (09:10:22): crime has increased with the emergence of large African cities
goodmanhunting2003 (09:10:34): yes, we are not so individualistic, though regrettably, the growing middle class, and upper middle class is to a very large extent....
calvinthedog (09:10:42): yes my friends
goodmanhunting2003 (09:10:46): yes, and a rural exodus...
calvinthedog (09:10:50): they live in Achimoto
goodmanhunting2003 (09:10:57): ok...
calvinthedog (09:10:58): ppl go around from house to house asking for food
calvinthedog (09:11:01): when they are hungry
calvinthedog (09:11:05): everyone does it
calvinthedog (09:11:09): they whole neighborhood
calvinthedog (09:11:20): is hungry from time to time
calvinthedog (09:11:29): everyone helps the others
calvinthedog (09:11:35): thats unheard of here
goodmanhunting2003 (09:11:48): I think it depends what neighborhood it is...the very very poor ones would definitely do that, but not the upcoming urban ones...
calvinthedog (09:11:56): yeah
calvinthedog (09:12:08): however, my friend got 2 cars, and now the whole district hates them
goodmanhunting2003 (09:12:26): but even then, not everyone goes round begging for food. There are beggars on the streets--even then there are many rumours that some ofthem are richer than the average guy...
calvinthedog (09:12:29): they want everyone to be just as poor as everyone else
calvinthedog (09:12:35): well she said
calvinthedog (09:12:42): everyone runs low from time to time
calvinthedog (09:12:51): every family there
calvinthedog (09:12:55): runs low
calvinthedog (09:12:59): sometimes
calvinthedog (09:13:04): and when they do they go around
calvinthedog (09:13:13): and anyone who has food, helps out
calvinthedog (09:13:19): cuz they are all poor
goodmanhunting2003 (09:13:22): that's just bad. There is also this stupid Pull Him Down (PhD) mentality here in Ghana that cuts across class...no matter how rich or poor you may be, when some people see you doing well, they want to pull you down...
calvinthedog (09:13:37): u hear about crabs in the barrel?
calvinthedog (09:13:42): crabs in a barrel do that
goodmanhunting2003 (09:13:57): yes, all the crabs pull each other down!!
calvinthedog (09:14:05): one crab starts to climb out - another crab will grab and pull him down
calvinthedog (09:14:08): lol
calvinthedog (09:14:17): they talk about that in the ghetto here too
goodmanhunting2003 (09:14:46): it's some strange mentality...that a lot of people need to disabuse themselves of!
calvinthedog (09:14:54): well yeah
calvinthedog (09:14:59): its your communal culture
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:15): both good and bad--yes!!
calvinthedog (09:15:19): now you are getting an injection of individualism and materialism
calvinthedog (09:15:26): and its happening too fast i think
calvinthedog (09:15:52): anyway, if my friends tell me right, I have heard of much more altruism in Accra than in the US
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:54): it is happening a tada too fast, I agree...I think we need to sort our basic problems out
goodmanhunting2003 (09:16:04): really?
calvinthedog (09:16:10): 1 Accra resident is more altruistic than 20 americans
calvinthedog (09:16:19): i cant believe the stuff i am told
goodmanhunting2003 (09:16:41): interesting to know, but I though the US was home of philanthropists, like Rockefeller, etc??
calvinthedog (09:16:41): they took the car to church, and the whole church came out and danced around and prayed for the car
calvinthedog (09:16:48): well
goodmanhunting2003 (09:16:52): that's a bit much!!
calvinthedog (09:17:05): this place is land of radical individualism
goodmanhunting2003 (09:17:10): a lot of people would do this, and then cuss at you behind your back...
calvinthedog (09:17:35): my friends were going to the hospital every day to look for the ppl who got hurt in that accident
calvinthedog (09:17:43): and the injured ppl yelled at them
goodmanhunting2003 (09:17:51): why??
calvinthedog (09:18:02): then they were walking to their homes 2 hours each way 3 times a week to help them
calvinthedog (09:18:10): well my friends driver hit their car
calvinthedog (09:18:27): then they needed the money to get the injured out of hospital
calvinthedog (09:18:38): they wouldnt let them leave till they got the money
goodmanhunting2003 (09:18:48): ouch...
calvinthedog (09:18:59): but walk 2 hours each way 3 times a week to go see ppl ur driver hurt in an accident????
calvinthedog (09:19:12): u would almost never see that here
calvinthedog (09:19:24): never really
goodmanhunting2003 (09:20:08): despite Ghana's many faults, all I can say is that generally we are peace-loving people. Creditted as such worldwide, and maybe sometimes that affects our culture positively. But we can DEFINITELY do a lot better...
calvinthedog (09:20:20): yeah
calvinthedog (09:20:32): oh
calvinthedog (09:20:37): i threw a christmas party for them
calvinthedog (09:20:44): they opened the doors for the hood
calvinthedog (09:20:49): and all kinds of ppl came
calvinthedog (09:20:51): rice and fish
calvinthedog (09:20:57): for like 2-3 days
calvinthedog (09:21:02): 30-40 ppl
goodmanhunting2003 (09:21:03): sounds like something people would do here...
calvinthedog (09:21:06): came from all over
calvinthedog (09:21:13): and they ALL thanked me
calvinthedog (09:21:19): over and over endlessly
goodmanhunting2003 (09:21:19): 30-40 people, including opportunists
calvinthedog (09:21:24): they were so grateful
calvinthedog (09:21:33): yeah but they were so grateful
calvinthedog (09:21:36): its weird
goodmanhunting2003 (09:21:37): you did well. Good on ya!!
calvinthedog (09:21:44): no one is grateful here
calvinthedog (09:21:47): not really
calvinthedog (09:21:50): its weird
goodmanhunting2003 (09:22:00): they would be...it's in the culture to thank--sometimes profusely and excessively, but it's there...
calvinthedog (09:22:01): in some ways, Ghanians are much better than Americans
calvinthedog (09:22:07): yeah
calvinthedog (09:22:27): and we have a very negative view of Africans
calvinthedog (09:22:36): we think they are primitive
calvinthedog (09:22:43): morally degenerated
calvinthedog (09:23:06): cant accomplish anything
goodmanhunting2003 (09:23:17): I wouldn't go as far as saying Ghanaians are better though. In so many ways, one thing I admire about the US is its family values, and living in Europe, with countries like the UK, it is just non-existent. In the US, mothers make a greater effort to be motherly I found.
calvinthedog (09:23:28): yeah
calvinthedog (09:23:31): i dunno
calvinthedog (09:23:35): thats just IMO
calvinthedog (09:23:42): i was really surprised
calvinthedog (09:23:50): this place is all about $$$$
goodmanhunting2003 (09:23:51): there are many good and bad people in either country
calvinthedog (09:23:56): yeah
calvinthedog (09:24:12): anyway, i may do a blog piece on this
goodmanhunting2003 (09:24:25): sad, but you still find good people in the US...
calvinthedog (09:24:32): oh sure of course
calvinthedog (09:24:44): they will tend to not be so successful though
calvinthedog (09:24:48): i bet
goodmanhunting2003 (09:25:05): you should, cos it;s one of the biggest mysteries of our time--the poverty thing---why is it that ostensibly poorer people appear to be happier?
calvinthedog (09:25:23): exactly
calvinthedog (09:25:32): Ghanians do seem happy
goodmanhunting2003 (09:25:47): and rarely do they also suffer mental illness, which, regrettably, is the bane of many western societies!
calvinthedog (09:25:52): ive dropped out of my society frankly
calvinthedog (09:25:59): well they may
calvinthedog (09:26:01): i dont know
calvinthedog (09:26:06): maybe its just not diagnose
calvinthedog (09:26:16): my friend is very unhappy at times
calvinthedog (09:26:24): her mother cries all day sometimes
calvinthedog (09:26:36): she worries a lot
calvinthedog (09:26:42): cant sleep at all at nite
goodmanhunting2003 (09:26:52): how come?
calvinthedog (09:26:57): problems
calvinthedog (09:27:01): money problems
calvinthedog (09:27:05): mostly
calvinthedog (09:27:10): the accident thing
calvinthedog (09:27:16): worries over money
goodmanhunting2003 (09:27:27): that's bad...
calvinthedog (09:27:34): anyway, here they would give u a drug and a diagnosis
calvinthedog (09:27:44): maybe there they dont
goodmanhunting2003 (09:27:49): I sincererly do wish you and them the best of luck...
calvinthedog (09:27:55): ok thx man
goodmanhunting2003 (09:27:58): sorry, but I am being called--again...
calvinthedog (09:28:03): ill let u know if i blog on this
calvinthedog (09:28:08): maybe u can link me
goodmanhunting2003 (09:28:44): much appreciated---can u please give your blog again? I bookmarked it...
calvinthedog (09:29:13): http://robertlindsay.blogspot.com/
calvinthedog (09:29:19): mostly on Iraq these days
goodmanhunting2003 (09:29:50): ok thanks---will link it up
goodmanhunting2003 (09:29:56): have a good sleep
calvinthedog (09:29:59): ok
calvinthedog (09:30:01): bye
goodmanhunting2003 (09:30:07): take care!
What do you think?