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While humankind may appear the same in their physical structure and biological functioning, they are significantly different in terms of their thinking, reasoning, cultural and religious beliefs as well as marital systems. People also differ on their beliefs on the origin of human and views on race relations. Though there has never been a consensus on what brings all these differences, much attribute has been placed on the different social environments in which individuals are born and/ or brought up. As the geographical distances between individuals become wide, so are their ways of thinking and beliefs different. For instance, people living in different continents have different ways in which they adopt to their environments as well as the types of food they eat. In that regard, this paper is intended to give a comparison on the views of science, social and cultural beliefs such as the origin of humankind, race relations and marital systems between the US and Kenya, an African country.
Since the beginning of time, people have found themselves believing in myths and customs that were passed from one generation to another by their forefathers. Little do the young generations know about this and even if they may raise concerns on while they believe in this and not that, no human being has been able to give them a satisfactory answer. There are however some life aspects which are not necessarily passed from one generation to another nor are they customary, but they come into existence through innovation and application of the knowledge one has. For instance, science is mainly brought about by innovation and how best one can use the resources at his disposal i.e. education and technology. Following this, there exists a very wide gap on the views of science between the US and Kenya.
In the United States, science was introduced during the enlightenment age, a period when thinkers discarded the false notions of the past. Since then, the U.S. has been had a positive view towards science as new and unique ideas are put into test. The U.S. has been a pivot in encouraging science by endorsing a free flow of thoughts, promoting the growth of constructive knowledge as well as by welcoming resourceful scientists from all parts of the world. The US has also funded development and research hence reflecting its desire to support science and innovation (Kraemer, 2006). United States have also invested in technology and equipment thus enabling researchers to prove their findings before releasing to the public. The country is far much ahead in science since it has the resources and the desire to make ideas flow freely among its citizens thus encouraging both young and old scholars to venture into science.
On the contrary, science was introduced into Kenya barely in the twenty-first century and it is believed to have originated from the US. Since then, very little effort has been put to facilitate its growth thus scientists are not motivated to continue venturing in science. According to Kitetu & Codesria Gender Institute (2008), Kenya is a third world country and has little funds to invest in equipment and technology. As a result, young scientists are not well nurtured since colleges and universities lack enough facilities for research. Even though the country may desire to become one of the leading science fueled countries in the world, its insufficient resources are pulling it back. At the same time, very few private sectors have shown interest in science. It can thus be said that the levels of science and technology between the United States and Kenya are considerably different due to the fact that these countries have different views concerning the subject. Kenya is still lagging behind in the field of science since it lacks resources and scientists have never been focus to achieve what they desire.
As mentioned earlier, science is not the only aspect that makes these two countries different, their beliefs on the origin of humankind also differ. Kenya is a country that is made up of approximately fifty-two tribes. All these tribes have different believes on the origin of man though the myths are more or less similar. They both believe that man was not really created but came from a superior being, God, which they have given names according to their languages. Nevertheless, the major ethnic group in Kenya comprises the Gikuyu, commonly referred to as Kikuyu and its cultural beliefs have greatly influenced all the other tribes living in Kenya, thus all Kenyans are believed to share the same belief about the origin of mankind (Hoppe).
In the myth about their origin, the kikuyu believe that they originally came from a man named Gikuyu (Hoppe). Gikuyu was placed by Ngai, God, at the peak of mount Kirinyaga where he was ordered to build his home and take care of the land. Ngai also gave Gikuyu a wife who he named Mumbi. Together, Gikuyu and Mumbi had ten daughters, but it is believed that counting people up to ten is bad luck, thus the daughters are generally described as nine instead of ten. When these daughters came of age, their father prayed to Ngai to give them husbands which He appropriately provided from a fig tree that grew on the slopes of the mountain. It is therefore from these daughters that the whole world came into being (Hoppe). People spread from Kirinyaga and occupied all the other parts of the world and their color difference is considered to be as a result of different climates in which they are living.
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In the United States, the origin of humankind is well explained from a scientific perspective as described by the Darwin theory of evolution (Greenberger, 2005). Being a science oriented country; this theory has caught the attention of many scientists and researchers in the U.S. despite the fact that it has its own limitations as well. Majority of the people living in U.S. believe that humankind originated/ evolved from apes that lived on the earth surface some millions of years ago. The theory claims that man emerged, through a combination of genetic and environmental factors, as a different species that later produced the diversity of ethnicities demonstrated today. This theory is supported by the fossil records and the recent DNA results where there has been proved to exist a close relationship between the modern man and the apes that man is presumed to have originated from (Greenberger, 2005).
On race relations, U.S. has a reputation of being greatly affected by racism since the slave and colonial eras. Heavy weights of racism have been felt among the Native Americans, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Irish-Americans, American-Jews, Arab-Americans and Italian-Americans. Racism has been manifested through reservation, slavery, segregation in education, housing and employment. However, racial discrimination was banned in the twentieth century after it was considered unethical (Du Bois, 1928, p. 7-9). Kenya on the contrary has never have problems with race except during the colonial period. Being a country whose economy depends largely on tourism, Kenya has been welcoming all sorts of people from all over the world without discriminating them.
Concerning marital system, these two countries are very dissimilar in practice. In Kenya, polygamous marriage has been legalized and it is recognized by the customary law. Polygamy has been taken as a tradition where men can marry up to ten wives. In the past, it was uncommon to find a man practicing monogamy. Kenyan culture associated many wives, and a large family as a result, with wealth, pride and power (K'Okul, 1991, p. 157). Those who had many wives consequently had many children and earn respect in the society. This was due to the baseless claim that if one had only one wife then he is very poor. Polygamous was very common among the Muslim men who claim that their first prophet had four wives and so they should also have multiple wives so as to show their commitment to their faith (K'Okul, 1991). However, this practice is becoming less common today as it has faced opposition from the Christian missionaries and the fact that only a small number of men have enough money to support multiple spouses due to economic instability. Champaign against HIV/AIDS has also played a role in reducing the number of people who practice polygamous.
On the contrary, a large percent of people in the United States practices monogamous marriage. This is due to the fact that U.S. was initially founded on Christianity, hence the belief that God expects as to be monogamous. This is supported with scriptures from genesis that it was in accordance with God that a man and a woman should practice monogamy. The law has also failed to recognize polygamy and as a result, it has turned down all the efforts that might result to legalization of polygamy. Making polygamy illegal is an effort that the U.S. government is making to ensure that marriages are protected since there are several risks, including divorce, that are associated with polygamy (White, 2007). Polygamy practice is also partially due to the fact that majority of the people living in the United States are Christians with very few Muslims. Therefore the Islamic belief that marrying four wives is one way of showing commitment has not influenced many people compared to Kenya.
In conclusion, different societies express different beliefs in various aspects of life depending on where they have been brought up. As a result individuals find themselves believing in different myths without their own knowledge. As the geographical distances between individuals become wide, so are their ways of thinking and beliefs different. In the same line of thought, there has been significant differences in social and cultural beliefs between the US and Kenya. These differences are largely illustrated on the difference in the beliefs about the origin of humankind, marital systems, race relation and views on science.
U.S. is rated among the top innovative countries where science and technology have been given first priority. This is because science is viewed as a mechanism through which ideas freely flow thus the government has been investing its resources towards encouraging scientists. The country is far much ahead in science since it has the resources and the desire to make ideas flow freely among its citizens thus encouraging both young and old scholars to venture into science Race relations are poor in the U.S. where discrimination of colored people is evident. Regarding the origin of man, U.S. believes in the evolution theory which suggests that man evolved from apes which lived on earth several million years ago. Most of the people living in the U.S. practice monogamy since polygamous has been illegalized so as to protect marriages.
Kenya on the contrary is a developing country where science and technology is not strongly rooted. Very little has been done to encourage innovation due to lack of enough resources in most of the science institutes. It can thus be said that the levels of science and technology between the United States and Kenya are considerably different due to the fact that these countries have different views concerning the subject. Racism has never been experienced in Kenya thus the country can be said to have good race relations. Concerning the origin of man, societies in Kenya believe that the first man, named Gikuyu, and his wife, Mumbi, were placed by Ngai on mount Kirinyaga and together they had nine daughters who later got married and became the mothers of the whole mankind in the world. Kenya also differs from U.S. in terms of the marital practices. Polygamy is part of the tradition and has been legalized, thus allowing men to have as many wives as they please.