the rant

18 Feb

Image

When someone says the word “Africa” what are images that come to mind? Grassy plains, wild animals, huts, half naked villagers, emaciated babies, flies, dirt, dust, bare feet, and weird looking trees. These are the images that since birth have been handed to the American society as some sort of window into another culture. Growing up in the United States with an African family confused my perception of American values; it caused me to always question what we really value in this country. What does it say about America’s value system to represent certain countries in one way and others in a less favorable light?  If you really think about this issue it almost seems as if America is a society that runs on stereotypes. The idea of a mass categorization of the world in order to make sense of it, and re-iterating this notion to its citizens seems like a way of perpetuating ignorance. What does this say about America’s value system? It may allude to the fact that we pride ourselves on sweeping our dirt under the rug, meaning it could be a way of fostering a belief that no matter what happened in the past as far as slavery and segregation the black community is better off, because we took the out of a wild environment that, to this day, remains vastly underdeveloped. Maybe the intent is not that malicious, it might be a huge oversight on the part of the media corporations in the United States, I might go as far to say it might be pure coincidence that the majority of the time the continent of Africa is portrayed it is always in a less than flattering light. If this is mere coincidence does it go unnoticed to the vast majority of consumers and viewers that this value system of stereotypes is being portrayed to our youth? My parents are both African and when I was much younger I used to imagine Africa as a real life “Lion king,” until I was educated and told otherwise. Again I ask the question, what does this portrayal of Africa say about our value system in America? The answer might actually be a combination of an unwillingness to deviate from the typical “American” view of the world, and a lack of attention to a huge oversight on the part of mass media. Even today with the world of social media blurring the idea of distance and aiding in the idea of transparency for the majority of Americans stereotypes towards other countries still exist.

FYI this is a more accurate depiction of Africa #breakthestereotype

      

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