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THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Wuk-up – we culture?


Rhonda Blackman

THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Wuk-up – we culture?

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Kadooment is in the air – the time when children and adults “let down their hair” as they gyrate to the calypso beat, jump and “wuk up” in true “socaholic” style.
To some, “wuk up” may be considered as part of “we culture”. To others it might be seen as developing or promoting a culture based on “wukkism”, one that is likely to destroy a generation. Whatever the thinking, young children should not be allowed to be scantily attired or behave lewdly while performing in gyrations that simulate sex.
It is sad that some parents show the first ‘wuk up” movement to their children and cheer them on in the gyrations. Some parents see it as cute, as their children can truly “get down”. Parents must be aware that this behaviour can affect the psychological, social and emotional development of children, for children “live what they learn”.
Children need to be allowed a sense of initiative with respect to their own behaviours and given the opportunity to develop a healthy, positive self-concept.
Theorists like Eric Erikson and his steps of development as they reflect the principal social/cultural demands in the life of the child. They state that the development of a child extends beyond childhood, spanning the entire course of life.
Parents take note. Children learn things that they think are important to their culture and by doing them they hope they will become someone important. Hence they develop the self-fulfilling prophesy that they can become successful by “wukking up” or being a young “socaholic”. They emulate what they see the older generation do in videos, on the Crop Over celebrations stages or on television.
For some children, “wukkin up” does not stop at the stadium; it finds its way into the classroom. It is at this point that such behaviour is not seen as part of “we culture” or cool anymore. On the contrary, it is seen as lewd and the children are castigated as “out of hand” and put down by the same adults who promote and instigate “wuk up”. What double standards! It is these double standards that make it extremely difficult for our children to discern right from wrong.
There is nothing wrong with wining and even “wukkin” up but the behaviour is definitely not to be accepted when the gyrations reach vulgarity. We need to set standards and good examples for our children at all levels of society – parents, calypsonians and the media.
There is a need to encourage and promote other cultural dances such as the Landship, tuk band and maypole. These dances do not assume sexual overtones and are not performed in scanty attire.
Dance is an expression of self. However, the level and manner of expression should be monitored and be in good taste as it relates to children.
Please let children be children.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, a National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc.

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