By Bridget Amaraegbu
From time, all societies pay allegiance to hierarchy among their members. There are leaders and followers, elite class and the poor class, urban and rural dwellers, the strong and the weak, rich and poor, servants and masters. The world is full of opposites.
In every society, social status has continued to remain a major barrier to love. It is common to hear people say their children wonâ€™t marry a particular person because he doesnâ€™t belong to their class. Several marriages and other relationships have equally failed because of differences in education, socialisation, religion, race, ethnicity, or income.
In most cases, education has remained the major focus. Going by statistics, many graduates, especially women, will not want to marry an â€™Oâ€™ Level certificate holder as they feel that the man would be timid and inferior,Â while some think he will always feel jealous.
Also, some men do not feel comfortable that their women earn higher than they do. So, they feel oppressed andÂ ashamed in such marriages, which has led to many broken homes. While some other group of men believe they canâ€™t control their women because she earns higher. This week, weâ€™re taking a look at some of those issues relating to class distinction which can affect our happiness. .
I wonâ€™t settle for less â€” Porttia Yamahan, Actress
Letâ€™s be realistic and leave sentiments alone. The issue of class is not such that can be overlooked or such that anyone can say it doesnâ€™t matter because itâ€™s a serious issue. The truth is that nobody wants to settle for less. I donâ€™t know if you want to but I donâ€™t. You can imagine an SSCE holder or someone who didnâ€™t finish secondary education aspiring to marry a University graduate or someone with a Masters. Human needs and wants are just insatiable. Itâ€™s good for people to dream big but sometimes it doesnâ€™t work like that. Why do you think the words â€˜he doesnâ€™t belong hereâ€™ is in everyday use? Even in offices, you find people who work in the same organisation equally use such words because we all do not have the same kind of reasoning, education or exposure.
What about cases where some young people in love canâ€™tÂ marry each other because their parents wonâ€™t let them as they donâ€™t think theyâ€™re of the same class. I donâ€™t want to mention names but I know a particular CEO of a bank who disowned his son for marrying a nobody, according to them. The only thing that can make a relation of this sort work is if the man or woman involved is self established, that way their parents wonâ€™t interfere much.
Iâ€™ll give you another stunning example where a man whoâ€™s wife owns three shops and the man forced her to sell those shops because he felt that she was getting richer than him. He actually told his friends his reasons and people were astonished. You know that poverty can cause some people to start thinking like witches and wizards. And these are some of the reasons why most people who have stepped up would not want to settle for less. Cases like that of this man come up, especially, when you settle for somebody who doesnâ€™t share the same vision with you and I must say that itâ€™s not an African thing. Itâ€™s everywhere.
Class and material wealth, myopic â€” Kalu Ikeagwu, Actor
Social class does exist because people are tied so much to material wealth, which I consider very myopic, especially where true love exists. People who allow the issue of class to ruin their happiness are not being sincere with themselves. We can always make the next person a better being if weâ€™re true to ourselves. So, the issue of whether they belong to our class or not will not arise. If we truly embrace the kind of love that nature preaches, the issue of class difference will be forgotten.
No one wants to be associated with poverty â€” John Njamah, Actor
The first reason why class exists, which I think is a psychological problem, is because some parents have actually gone through a lot of difficulties, which they wouldnâ€™t want their children to go through. The second one is ignorance,Â both on the side of the first class and the second class citizens. The man who is in the first is ignorant of the fact that the other man may have something to offer, while the second class fellow wouldnâ€™t like to go near the first class man because he feels inferior. Another thing with class is pretence. Most people want to belong to a particular class, whether theyâ€™re worth it or not, which is why most people wonâ€™t settle for less.
Class as old as creationâ€” Chuks Chukwuemeka, Politician
The issue of class is as old as this world. In the Bible, God commanded the Israelites to marry from their tribe because he didnâ€™t want them to marry anybody who would infest them with an inferior god. The same God told us that heâ€™s a jealous God and we must not worship any other God except him.
Class is the reason why a medical doctor will like his child to become a medical doctor so that no outsider can take over from him. What about the CEOs of several other organisations and businesses? Many of them want their children to tow the same line of business. Why? Everybody wants to protect his own empire from the second class people because they believe theyâ€™re first class. The reason parents want to
arrange marriages for their children is class. Why do people hangout in bigger places? Class. Why do some people do their shopping in places like Shoprite and other big places when they can get the same goods cheaper at Oshodi or Yaba? Class. What about the use of Blackberry phones instead of 3310 or Sagem? Why do people subscribe to designer clothes, wristwatches and perfumes? Class. The issues associated with class are so enormous that I may not be able to say them all.