thought provoking.

20 Jan

my african studies professor had us watch that video this morning in class. it was phenomenal. so much to process and think about.
the video is of a nigerian woman who shares the dangers of a single story. she explains how growing up in nigeria the books available to her were british and american. she begun to develop an idea of british and american people and would write stories of her own based on the american stories. snow, blonde, blue eyes. not common sights in nigeria. she then began to relate that to our one sided stories about places in life. we see africa as starved, poor, AID stricken, and a continuous war and killing. and although that is a part of africa, it’s not the whole part. you’re missing people living in middle class who have jobs and read and write and speak english well. you’re missing success stories. people graduating and making their lives better. you have an incomplete story and because of that an incomplete view of a person. unfortunately the downside is that the side of the story you have robs the persons dignity because it is all the bad stories. i highly recommend watching it for yourself.
this excites and frustrates me though. it frustrates me because it seems irreversible. i don’t know the other side of the story because i’m not told, not because i’m not listening. maybe they are out there and i’m not looking but when do i have time between school and life to search out for other sides of stories, especially if i’m not aware they exist. it’s exciting because it’s clearer now how important it is to be aware of how i look and think of groups of people. it’s easier to correct myself when i look at people as a whole instead of individuals. and i suppose the only way it can be reversed is if we learn, tell other people who tell other people and we turn this thing around. media has a huge impact on this too though. what they show us has to be more than tragedy. the media does deserve some credit though, as i feel like they kind of did this with haiti, running the orphanage story (praise the Lord, btw!) but as a whole there is a lot it can do better. but in reality, isn’t that the way of most things? there is a lot to get better about most things in the world?
i get really annoyed in that class though because i just feel offended 85% of the time. i feel like my professor’s main theme is how horrible we are to people from africa. how we stereotype and how we say the wrong words and how we offend them and how we ruined things for them. i came to this class to learn more of africa. no, i hardly knew anything about the different countries. yes, a lot of the times in my mind i clump it all together. but that is why i’m there. i’m there to learn about the countries and see how different they are. telling me i’m wrong because i don’t do that is not making the situation any better! the people he should be saying that to are the people who aren’t in his class, who don’t want change the way they think. not the people who signed up and are already on board. … these have been my thoughts for the past 4 class periods. …i’ve only been there 4 times.
but hey! at least i saw a great video from going to that class.

2 Responses to “thought provoking.”

  1. Elizabeth January 26, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    Ngong can be frustrating… and make you feel pretty upset. And we asked him why he teaches these small classes at Baylor when he could be working in Washington or something shaking things up on a grand scale (he's totally brilliant)… but he told us something important at the end of the semester. He told us that it was our job to do shake things up/give the wake-up calls… our generation has a better chance at fixing it and sharing the truth about Africa.Big responsiblity, huh?

  2. Adventures of Clairebear February 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

    Kelcy! I enjoyed reading this post, honest thoughts. I was often frustrated in christian church in africa, I learned a lot, but i spent a lot of the time being a little frustrated, ha. I think I learned strong, passionate intellectuals are not easily swayed….especially professors….especially professors who have anything to do with politics. I cant wait to hear more about your class though 🙂

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