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I've been loosely following your interesting and valuable dialogue about
multiculturalism, and the general theme I'm raising here with one example
you may have already dealt with. If so, I apologize.
I was troubled to read in yesterday's newspaper an AP story entitled
Gahanaian Priests Still Taking Girls Into Slavery. According to the
newspaper account, slavery has long been and still is a part of Ghanaian
culture. The Ewe word trokosi refers to wife of the gods and the still
extant practice of appeasing war gods for misdeeds of ancestors by
sacrificing vestal virgins from every new generation. Daughters as young
as ten are handed over to temples where they are servants until they begin
to menstruate and then become the concubines of priests. When they reach
middle age, the women are released, to be replaced by yet another virgin
from the same family. The practice dates back to the 17th century and is
also practiced in neighboring Togo, Benin, and Nigeria where it is believed
to have originated.
As I read the article, I couldn't escape ironic associations with the
current discussion about celebrating pluralism. How are we art educators
to deal with cultural differences such as this one?
Professor, Art Education
340 Hopkins Hall
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210