There’s a map of the world you can find on the internet which shows what everything looks like from an ignorant, stereotype-inflected Western viewpoint. Russia = cold and vodka; Japan = emotional repression and weird vending machines; that kinda thing. There are a number of versions of this map, with different cartoonish nonsense ascribed to different places, but the one area of the globe that seems to vary the least in terms of how it is often seen or portrayed is Africa. Thanks to one hell of a combination of ignorance and racism, Africa, a colossal landmass with unparalleled environmental diversity and an equally staggering range of cultural and societal variation, is so often shown to be a homogeneous monolith. For a depressing amount of people, the extent of the imagery they hold in their mind when it comes to the continent doesn’t often stretch much further than sand, camels, and poverty. Part of the reason for this is the under-representation in our media of voices actually from, or with experience of, Africa. As such, the air is filled with misconceptions, lies, and warped truths.
In that spirit, the other day Reddit asked the question: ‘Africans of Reddit, What Are the Greatest Misconceptions People Have About Your Native Country?’
You can check out the full thread here, but below are some of the highlights:
(Header image courtesy of Getty Images)
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