Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: How Not To Talk About Africa



I just adore this video, a satire piece by Binyavanga Wainaina of Kenya—and not just because it stars the absolutely delicious Djimon Hounsou. Wainaina uses this thought-provoking, at times comical commentary to point out the more ignorant attitudes that find their way into Western literature and other written stories about Africa. Personally, I think we could sub in pretty much any group—black folks, Latinos, other developing countries, poor people, urban and rural folk, teenagers, women—and make the same point. At the base of it, Wainaina's video is commentary on stereotypes, and our need to open our eyes, dig a little deeper, and suspend judgement before we pretend like we can claim any authority over subjects with which we're only minimally familiar. Really think about what Djimon is saying, and pay attention to the beautiful images that flash in the end. Really, really smart.

(With nods to Kiss My Black Ads, the terrific advertising blog where I first saw this video. Keep doing what you do!)



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3 comments:

  1. Great video and really timely for what's going on in my little world. I just had a conversation this evening in which I tried to explain stereotypes to my 7-year-old who is determined to dress like a Native American for his second-grade affair. I really felt for him and am letting him make the decision. At one point, he cried, "Mama, I don't want to talk about this anymore. You're making this too hard. I want to dress up like everyone else, but I don't want to hurt anybody." So, he struggled with many of the specifics, but he gets the concept. Again, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the video. Very interesting, sad but true.

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  3. Goodness this is great, hearing it!

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