To start, I really think that as Americans we assume that we know most about what goes on in the world. Maybe we are arrogant, maybe we just assume that we get the truth from our journalists, but to be honest many Americans could probably care less about Africa.
I was lucky enough to be brought up in a household that shared other cultures and valued different countries. But being brought up this way has its disadvantages too, being taught about Sierra Leone and the culture, language, government, etc. made me think I knew about most of Africa. Thankfully, I learned the errors of my ways early enough to not make a fool out of myself in college. While reading this book I was surprised mostly by the overall ignorance of the American public. I didn’t realize how much we, as a country, stereotype so much of African life, culture, environment, etc.
My biggest disappointment is how we refer to anything and everything African “native”, although I don’t think most of us do it purposefully I can say I find it incredibly demeaning. The biggest blow to me is when Keim starts explaining to us how the Western world started keeping Africans down by threatening to stop aid unless they gave up the idea of industrialization, especially for a country who says they want everyone to live in a democratic society like our own. How could they force these hard working people back into the past while basically taking the profit from their work? This really gets under my skin.
Next, I would like to grasp this concept of “participatory development”. Why do we, as Americans, think that every country in this world that isn’t like ours needs our help to westernize? I’m starting to think we do more harm than good in these situations. Yes, some parts of Africa do need some sort of development, but it is something that can be taught to these incredible people to do for themselves. I have met a few Sierra Leoneans in my life and if they are anything like other Africans then I can say...
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