Disproving Misconceptions About Africa

Topics: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar Pages: 5 (1736 words) Published: May 6, 2007
Disproving Misconceptions about Africa

Africa is a country filled with primitive tribesmen who have made insignificant contributions to history. Today most Americans pride themselves on being open-minded, politically conscious, and socially aware of world wide problems. Yet when discussing Africa, its history, and present state, most misconceptions as seen above are accepted without question. These myths have been developed over a century of time and have become imbedded in the minds of the Western world as a sad truth regarding Africa. In order to progress and move ahead as a society, the fallacies of Africa must be disproved and misconceptions need to be replaced by facts.

Before disproving the misconceptions, it is important to understand why and how these myths came to fruition. Philosophical necessity is the biggest root of these misconceptions. Most Europeans during the late eighteenth century believed that they were the advanced and most prominent civilization at that time, and all other non-European nations were by default inferior. Based solely on preconceived thoughts and ideas, not only were these nations unequal in terms of their civilization achievements, they were also seen as ignorant and evil. This philosophy caused many Europeans to feel justified in their enslaving Africans because they lifted them from a poor state and gave them the opportunity to gleam from their righteousness while in a state of slavery. These myths were perpetuated in society from theologians who sponsored mission trips in the jungles of Africa to philosophers who justified the noble savage theory. As a result, the misconceptions continue to persist in society in all medias whether intentional or not.

Africa is a country. Years of primary and secondary education teach that there are seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica that make up the world. However when discussing Africa in a college classroom, most students still refer to the continent of Africa as being a country. Never do you hear of someone addressing the European countries: France, Germany, Italy, or Spain as Europe, rather each country is respected as its own individual entity that makes up the whole continent of Europe. The question becomes why does this occur when referring to Africa? Many might consider this a slip of the mind, since Africa is not a common conversational topic. However, the issue runs deeper than that. Minimizing Africa to a country reaffirms the superior attitude that the Western world has to other countries considered "third world."

Africa, the second largest continent, is over 3 times as big as the United States, yet Americans cannot keep from calling it a country. Africa is by far not a country rather it is a continent that is comprised of 54 countries. These countries are widely diversified in their geography to languages. Most commonly accepted is the division of regions by geographical traits as classified by the United Nations; this divides the continent into five regions: North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Just as no place in America has the exact climate, neither does Africa. It is not solely the typical Animal Planet image of jungles or grasslands. Rather Africa is comprised of deserts, vegetation, beaches, rainforests, and savannas. To add to the diversity, Africa is home to over 1,400 languages and dialects. This reality is far from the country of Africa where the ignorant village people only speak African. Africa is primitive. Primitive is often used in reference to the first civilizations of mankind. This can be applied to ancient Egypt. Located in Northern Africa, Egypt is not the Middle East, a concept created by man describing the area of Northern Africa and Western Asia. It is apart of Africa. This adds validity to the fact that Africa is the origin of the human species. Egypt is often credited for being the...

Bibliography: Bohannan, Paul, and Philip Curtin. Africa and Africans. 4th . Long Gorve, IL: Waveland Press, 1995.
Du Bois, W.E.B.. Africa, Its Geography, People, and Products. Millwood, NY: KTO Press, 1977.
Du Bois, W.E.B.. Africa - Its Place in Modern History. Girard, KS: Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1930.
Martin, Phyllis M., and Patrick O 'Meara. Africa. 3rd. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995.
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