You know I never minded when Americans asked me crazy questions about Africa. Because how are they supposed to know? They've never been here. They'd ask if we all speak the same language [no] and if we pay taxes [of course!]. I always appreciated honest questions because that's how we learn about each other.
Agreed, I prefer the Americans who have never been to Africa. It's the Americans who have been to Africa that drive me crazy... Listen, just because you did Peace Corps in a "village" in Zambia doesn't mean you know anything about the country I'm from.
|From a collection of drawings by students in Congo: "Stereotypes about Africa."|
I think a lot of Americans feel ashamed that they don't know about anything that's going on in my country. But how can they?! Any big city in the US will have more local newspapers, TV and radio stations than we have in my entire country. How can I possibly expect Americans to keep up with all their local news and what's happening in my tiny country. It's impossible. Me, on the other hand, I have to keep up with international news. I can't afford not to.
Everyone warned me that Americans would judge me by the color of my skin. In my experience, Americans fell over themselves to accommodate me. The only time I experienced racism in the United States was when a shop owner followed me around his store because he thought I was going to steal something. But it turned out he was French. [Followed by uproarious laughter.]
You know what I never understood about Americans. Their emotions! They're so afraid to show they're sad. My co-worker's father died and she only took two days off. TWO DAYS. And I never saw her cry. I have to take two days off work if I even start thinking about the day my dad will die.
More from the collection of Stereotypes about Africa.
Stereotypes about America by students in Africa.
My, my. Aren't stereotypes fascinating.