To my horror, I was invited to a Halloween party. Perhaps I would have had a different reaction if, as I sat in the comfort of my sister’s home in Atlanta, I read the venue for the party to hold a similar address. However, I was under the sun in Ikeja waving down a yellow bus when I got the text message. It said to make myself available at Ikeja GRA on Halloween night. I called my friend to ask why he decided to host a Halloween party. And to make a case for my ignorance, he told me it was quite normal now and I had to show up. My mind whispered show up indeed as I dropped the call. But as I arrived at my apartment, a different sentence bubbled in my mind in form of a question. it said: What will I be for Halloween?
Surges of excitement caressed my nerves from thoughts of being Marilyn Monroe, Caitlyn Jenner or Beyonce. And I couldn’t bring myself to understand my initial horror. Then I remembered my piece on the Dilution of African Cultures and how the world is morphing into a global empire – only the traditions of the powerful will survive. (A lot like me to be a wet blanket, dampened the fiery engagement of excitement.)
It’s easy to see how a marriage traditionalist sees gay marriage. It’s with the similar horror I used to see the celebration of Halloween in Lagos by people who have never stepped foot on American soil. There’s a seeming irrelevance to it.
I ask. Why would a Lagosian want to celebrate Halloween? In the same way, a straight person recently exposed to the concept of gay marriage asks: Why would a man want to get married to a man?
Value. That’s the answer. We value the concept. We celebrate the things we value.
An easy explanation, to why a Lagosian would value Halloween enough to celebrate it, is found in the psychological principle of influence; social proof. It says: one means to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. Put another way, what others value is what we might find valuable. The more who buy into the value, the more the likelihood that I, or anyone else, will find it valuable and buy into it as well.
So. Straight guy. A gay person values love. He finds the social restriction to celebrate his value perplexing. And makes a case to destroy the social restrictions. Being and staying horrified at the values others celebrate only promotes psychological blindness. A fertile breeding ground for ignorance.
Halloween is tomorrow. I’ve decided who I’m gonna be. The face of the world has changed. It continues to change. With or without my permission, traditions are going to morph. Become unrecognizable versions based on valued concepts. People like me are going to hold these new traditions dear. Call them the true way. It will do little good to be horrified by the value of others. What’s important is that I hold my values close to my heart and celebrate them with every joy I can muster.
You are Awesome
Question: What do you think of the celebration of borrowed concepts? Keep in mind, Christmas, Easter and Valentine fall into the category. Please leave your answers in the comments.