I’m taking an Anthropology course this year titled African modernities. It focuses on the troubles that many sub-saharan countries face in the modern era. We started yesterday, and we are first focusing on stereotypes. I don’t think I knew or faced too many stereotypes before my trip to Ghana. Besides the obvious misrepresentations in the media, I never heard any words directed specifically at Africans.
However, when I started to explain to people that I was taking a trip to “Africa,” the assumptions started to roll out.
“Don’t catch the AIDS.”
“Don’t get raped.”
“Don’t drink the water.”
“Watch out for naked people.”
At that point in time, the response of friends of family surprised me, but I knew they were just concerned with my safety. We were going to the other side of the world!
It is easiest to fear what you do not know or understand, and the variety of cultures and assumed strangeness of the people in Africa is an incredible example of this.
The film we are watching for class Wednesday reminds me so much of Ghana, a place I know and love and still think about. This film on Gambia takes me back definitely.
All in all, I’m very excited to finally be taking a class focusing on Africa.