European proverbs, sayings, and idiomatic expressions
Afrikan proverbs, sayings, and idiomatic expressions
Ani's in her Yurugu, introduces a very interesting and valuable concept for understanding Western/European behavior. The concept is called rhetorical ethics, and it means a system of morality that exist in word only, not in action or deeds. This is a quality or feature rather unique to Western societies. She explains that this concepts fits “the logic of the European asili, assisting the culture in the achievement and maintenance of power.” Although Western anthropologists have created a supposedly universal distinction in all human societies between that society's "ideal culture" and its "actual behavior," Ani argues this is a false model that often masks the Europeans uniquely aberrant behavior.
In most cultures, especially Afrikan, the ''ideal'' is something that is emulated; something that has meaning for those who share it. The European has confounded meaning and commitment with mere verbal expression. Therefore in Western or European morality, it is the verbal expression that constitutes his morality and generally no action support those words. And in this context, it is not what it is that is important, but what something appears to be. Thus, image is everything. To be concerned with one's image as opposed to one's essence is the Western or European way. This also explains why apologies are so important in the Western moral construct--because they address the rhetoric. No matter how heinous the act, it seems to be totally absolved by an apology. This incongruity between words and deeds produces hypocrisy, an endemic feature of European culture, something that is sanctioned and rewarded by the culture
For the European morality exists in words alone--not in the deeds. This was also true of their folk wisdom: To utter the saying was enough, forget about living its special truth!