For women, married to foreign spouses, it isn't a big deal, but for men, it is a conundrum, when your child, explicitly proclaims "I am an American". You may feel a sense of betrayal, because of our paternalistic culture that automatically confers the father's heritage on the child, to be passed on to the future generation. While some parents have attempted to instill in their kids, the essence of our culture, by reminding them of their Nigerian roots, by taking them to ethnic meetings, conversing with them in their local dialects, and introducing them into our ethnic dishes, all these are not the sole determining factors in influencing a child's world's views on their heritage.
I was confounded when my cousin told me that she is an American. Her parents are from Nigeria, but the girl has made a resolute effort to distance herself from her Nigerian heritage, almost to the point of a disavowal. No big deal, she is a woman, so when signs the dotted lines, her marital life, would take precedence in her life. But for the boys who would later on become adult males, what is their stance? A generation lost from their father land, because of America? The sweat of their ancestors in establishing roots in a certain village, long erased in their memory. The ancestral home in the village, overtaken by pests, the oral history of the village, long forgotten by future generations. And you wonder, what can be done to inculculate our culture in our future generation? Do we just fold our hands and give up, the gradual erosion of our heritage? Our presence (meaning this generation) in America, may perhaps be the last link between Nigerian culture and the Western world.