I recently spoke to a friend who has been spending the past few months teaching children the English language in a local town in the country of Ghana. I found that a lot of what he was telling me was particularly shocking in how their culture compared with our culture. Specifically, he was telling me about his interactions and experiences with the children that were abandoned or given up by their parents. He explained that much like our society, children who do not have a home to live in or don’t have any support from their parents are taken care of within a foster care program. He then explained, unlike our society, these foster children are sold to people and families who are willing to take on the responsibilities of being a parent. If a child is not purchased in a specific amount of time then the child is terminated. He then explained to me that after this process takes place, the people of the town are unwilling to comment or even acknowledge what had happened. My immediate response to my friend telling me this was one of shock and horror. I asked him if he knew the reason why this practice of killing an innocent child was acceptable? He had no immediate answer for me.
Now I don’t know much background information on the history, culture, and societal life of the country of Ghana but the idea of “terminating” innocent children due to the fact that they don’t have anyone to take care of them is outrageously unusual and cruel. I found this very disturbing and very shocking. I don’t understand how people can know this practice is going on and not do anything about it. The only reason I can give for these actions are to say that the society that these people live in have come to make this practice somewhat of a social norm. This action must have been socially constructed to be acceptable in this society. By no means do I agree with these practices but from a sociological view I can see how this could possibly come to be.
I leave the reader with a question myself: What other socially acceptable norms or practices have you heard of that really contradict what U.S. society is accustomed to?