Stereotypes And How They Challenge Studies On Africa

In I didn’t know there were cities in Africa, Brenda Randolph argues that “images in the news, popular media and school textbooks often highlight African people living in abject poverty; rarely do they show the realities of wealth, power and good health that also exist throughout the continent,”[1] demonstrating the prevailing stereotypes about Africa. Many people outside the continent have a flawed understanding of the continent and the quality of lifestyles experienced by individuals in the region. Stereotypes hinder the thought process of individuals and inhibit them from learning the facts about a topical issue because of their impact on the people’s perspectives towards life.

Many scholars have explored different approaches that can be used to reduce the impact of stereotypes that portray Africa differently from the rest of the world. Despite the technological interventions that have emerged from Africa, many foreigners believe that the continent is uncivilized and still embraces stone-age practices, which involved hunting and gathering. Paulin Hountondji proposes African studies within the continent to provide individuals with undisputed knowledge about their origin and existence in the world today.[2] The seasoned anthropologist also urges scholars to review their research approaches to tell an authentic African story that allows foreigners to connect with the people’s way of life.

Stereotypes affect the thought process of individuals and limit their understanding about a topical issue because of their impact on the people’s perspectives towards life. Significantly, the African story has always been misunderstood because of the numerous stereotypes about the continent and the type of approaches used by individuals to overcome problems in their immediate environment. However, remodeling the African story and inviting foreigners to experience the continent’s authentic cultural identity will counter the false impressions people have about Africa.

 

 

Bibliography

Hountondji, Paulin J. “Knowledge of Africa, knowledge by Africans: Two perspectives on African studies.” RCCS Annual Review. A selection from the Portuguese journal Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais 1 (2009).

Randolph, Brenda, and Elizabeth DeMulder. “I didn’t know there were cities in Africa.” Teaching Tolerance 34 (2008): 36-43.

[1] Randolph, Brenda, and Elizabeth DeMulder. “I didn’t know there were cities in Africa.” Teaching Tolerance 34 (2008): 36-43.

[2] Hountondji, Paulin J. “Knowledge of Africa, knowledge by Africans: Two perspectives on African studies.” RCCS Annual Review. A selection from the Portuguese journal Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais 1 (2009).

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