"THE African Culture"

Kampala, Uganda pop. ~ 1.5 million



"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
Because of the US embassy, most Americans probably recognize this City. Still, some of the lesser known countries are of equal or comparable size and are still lumped in with chronic famine, AIDS, rock farming, female genital mutiliation, genocide and the other parade of horribles that are forced upon us every single time we see Africa mentioned in the mainstream press. When will this stop? When will we collectively demand that it stop?

Nairobi, Kenya pop. ~ 3 million









This one has real, modern impact and resonance


"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/i.../menu_XAF.html
This is interactive and very well done.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Africa
Lists 2003 data. Not so sure why it's so old, but a lot of information is densely packed here, and it's worth a look.

Population: 887 million (14%)
GDP (PPP): US$1.635 trillion
GDP (Currency): $558 billion
GDP/capita (PPP): $1,968
GDP/capita (Currency): $671
Annual growth in
per capita GDP: 0.74% (1990-2002)
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
Thank you Frau for posting the link and to deeply curled for posting the pics! They are absolutely beautiful! I hate how the media puts such a negative spin on everything, it's sickening, really. I suppose that's why I don't really care to watch the news anymore. Hopefully many people will see those pics and pass them on to everyone, I sure will be!
What deeply curled has been saying - and what gorgeous pics! I totally agree that part of Africa bashing is African-American bashing - absolutely. If we came from trash, we must be trash.

Iris, I would have said something - in fact I still would say something. I am sure other people in the class had to have been as uncomfortable as you were and would appreciate someone saying something. You are right that your I'd probably stand up and say, "Excuse me, but I find your views to be very offensive in that Africa is a diverse and beautiful continent with many different cultures and lifestyles, and it is not the African people who have raped their own environment - the West is to blame for that - but I really don't think that that type of political and racial debate is what we should be focussing upon when our topic is the rainforest." If you find he starts picking on you or marking you down after that, I'd talk to the Dean or whoever.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











I know this was all ready addressed, but if you felt so strongly about it, why didn't you say anything to begin with? That's the part I don't understand.

I just don't understand that if someone feels so strongly about something, why they don't speak up.

Anyways, that's all I really have to say about this.

I totally agree that part of Africa bashing is African-American bashing - absolutely. If we came from trash, we must be trash.
Originally Posted by Amneris
The parallels are strong and seem to support just that view.

For example, the media regularly reports that:

-- Africans have the highest incidents of HIV and AIDS. So do african americans. Never mind the havoc of the epidemic in other third world nations and minority communities, or among whites. When that gets coverage, like AIDS in Asia, it is seen as unique and not inevitable.

-- High rates of poverty and debt mismanagement, in Africa and among african americans. The pervasive image of poor African children and the now entrenched african american homeless, panhandler, often male.

-- High birth rate, young population and children out of wedlock. Africans and african americans.

-- Genocidal and sexual violence. Yes, check there.

-- Lagging behind every other country or ethnic/racial group in terms of economics, education and supposedly cultural development. Yes, based on what the media tells us and, therefore, what most people believe, same is true. Africans and african americans come in dead last.

Now, there may be EXCEPTIONS like Nelson Mandela and Boutrous Boutrous Gali or Colin Powell, Condi and Barack Obama. There may be an educated, economic elite or middle/upper class. But the CONVENTIONAL WISDOM regarding what it means to be African or african american is strongly informed by the above media-generated and media-perpetuated stereotypes and observations. It's a real problem.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)

I totally agree that part of Africa bashing is African-American bashing - absolutely. If we came from trash, we must be trash.
Originally Posted by Amneris
The parallels are strong and seem to support just that view.

For example, the media regularly reports that:

-- Africans have the highest incidents of HIV and AIDS. So do african americans. Never mind the havoc of the epidemic in other third world nations and minority communities, or among whites. When that gets coverage, like AIDS in Asia, it is seen as unique and not inevitable.

-- High rates of poverty and debt mismanagement, in Africa and among african americans. The pervasive image of poor African children and the now entrenched african american homeless, panhandler, often male.

-- High birth rate, young population and children out of wedlock. Africans and african americans.

-- Genocidal and sexual violence. Yes, check there.

-- Lagging behind every other country or ethnic/racial group in terms of economics, education and supposedly cultural development. Yes, based on what the media tells us and, therefore, what most people believe, same is true. Africans and african americans come in dead last.

Now, there may be EXCEPTIONS like Nelson Mandela and Boutrous Boutrous Gali or Colin Powell, Condi and Barack Obama. There may be an educated, economic elite or middle/upper class. But the CONVENTIONAL WISDOM regarding what it means to be African or african american is strongly informed by the above media-generated and media-perpetuated stereotypes and observations. It's a real problem.
Originally Posted by deeply curled
I strongly agree with all of this, and that deplorable "exception" attitude. It even filters down into little things, where people are supposed to "talk black" or the black person in the room must have some rapping skills.
OMG, LOOK!!

...It's a siggie.
I know this was all ready addressed, but if you felt so strongly about it, why didn't you say anything to begin with? That's the part I don't understand.

I just don't understand that if someone feels so strongly about something, why they don't speak up.

Anyways, that's all I really have to say about this.
Originally Posted by M2LR & Co.
Shyness and/or intimidation would do it.

Unless you're never shy and/or intimidated, then that wouldn't do it.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
Today in one of my biology classes, the professor said "what do you know about the African culture?"



I couldn't believe someone so educated could be so uneducated in this way. There is no ONE African culture. The class then went on to discuss rainforest destruction in central Africa and how people there eat monkeys without cooking them properly. The professor said "you can educate people but they have to want to be educated."
Originally Posted by iris427
Hey Iris- I just noticed this highly ironic sentence in your original post, which I am bumping and bolding for emphasis. It's kind of funny in a crazy, sad way.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
Did anyone else notice the amount of overdevelopment in many of those pictures? That made me sad. It reminded me of pictures I've seen of other urban places that made me feel the same way. It's good to remind people that Africa is not all "boogity, boogity" & headhunters. I just don't think it diminishes Africa or Africans to celebrate the cultures, ethnic groups, etc. that are trying to live as closely as possible to their traditional ways. One of the things I see in people & communities that choose to do so is a respect for nature, land and preserving it.

Urbanization doesn't automatically equal "progress" or what is best. I want to go to Africa for, among other reasons, the same reason I went to Alaska and the Inca Trail -- they're places where there are still wide-open, non-spoiled flora and fauna. I also want to encounter people whose lives are different from mine, but still culturally rich, culturally old and have a respect for things we've lost.

I think a huge chunk of what's wrong with that professor is a devaluation of anything not "Western" or "modern." She's equating that with ignorance, lack of civilization, abject poverty & filth. She's similar to people in those old Tarzan movies who referred to black Africans as "savages."
Discgirl-

The link that Frau posted is a thread about African cities, which by definition would tend to be urban and developed. I imagine that there is lots and lots of rural, undeveloped land throughout Africa. Farm land, mineral mines, smaller villages, etc..

Personally, I love cities, especially big cities. But there are plenty who don't. And I think that the African continent has much to offer travelers and tourists who want to see cities or go on safaris or see farm land and more natural, undeveloped beauty. What is wrong, and I'm sure you'd agree, is this flat, one dimensional and one-sided impression that all of Africa and all Africans are poor, diseased, hopeless, violent, tragic, starving savages who deserve their plight. That's the ******** party line that is drilled into our heads non stop and that too many people do not question and just accept.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)

I strongly agree with all of this, and that deplorable "exception" attitude. It even filters down into little things, where people are supposed to "talk black" or the black person in the room must have some rapping skills.
Originally Posted by wild_sasparilla
Don't forget that all african americans must have enyclopedic knowledge of all things black, like there is some book that gets passed around that other groups don't have but blacks have about black culture, the arts and black history. Some members of other groups either don't feel a need to find that book and read it themselves or make the gross assumption that to talk to a black person means that person will be able to (or want to) address any issue related to blackness.

As for being naturally gifted in song, dance and athletics, the simple answer is that some black people are and some black people are not. Funny, like everyone else.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
Re: Blacks being talented at athletics, music etc. I think a higher proportion of us are, but I don't believe it is genetic. I think it comes from what society sees as acceptable outlets for us, what we are encouraged into, what our families and communities value, what we are motivated to work hard at etc. Just as many Asians do excel in mathematics and science not because they are naturally smarter, as is sometimes suggested, but because this is how they are encouraged by their teachers and is what their families expect.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Re: Blacks being talented at athletics, music etc. I think a higher proportion of us are, but I don't believe it is genetic. I think it comes from what society sees as acceptable outlets for us, what we are encouraged into, what our families and communities value, what we are motivated to work hard at etc. Just as many Asians do excel in mathematics and science not because they are naturally smarter, as is sometimes suggested, but because this is how they are encouraged by their teachers and is what their families expect.
Originally Posted by Amneris
This is an excellent point, and explains clustering and dominance of certain ethnic groups in certain areas. Like Jews in the legal, entertainment, financial and academic fields. Asians in science and business, with growing representation in academics and the law. Carribeans in small business, education and perhaps government jobs. Etc... Over time, a network of people in your community builds up and that is how a lot of people break into certain areas (particularly immigrant communities), are pushed by family to pursue those areas or just have the simple encouragement of seeing others like them in those fields.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
Re: Blacks being talented at athletics, music etc. I think a higher proportion of us are, but I don't believe it is genetic.
Originally Posted by Amneris
The flip side of this is a higher concentration of black males, and latino males in prison. Or a higher concentration of poor, unemployed black men on street corners sleeping in boxes or asking for change. Or a higher concentration of latin american maids and office cleaners. Or a higher concentration of white men in executive positions in corporate america and local, state and national government. Or a higher statistical instance of white or asian women at home raising children in a nuclear family. People get typed into roles and society views those roles as a shorthand to who people are and where they belong. Thus, these trends and patterns tend to self-perpetuate. None of it is genetic. But it makes some people more comfortable to think or assume or imagine that it must be.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
my favorite pictures were on page 2 or 3. they were taken in ghana:


I stayed with some relatives in an area of Nigeria similar to those Ghana pics, frau. Absolutely gorgeous! I want to go back! There are neighbourhoods in the Caribbean that look a lot like that, too.

I realize that there is so much more in Africa that I never saw, so I NEED to go back.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Frau-

I didn't even get to page 2 or 3. I'll have to explore the rest of that link later, and noticed that it is many pages long. Those pictures you posted look like a leafy, wealthy suburb. It's certainly not an image that most Americans associate with the continent or its people.

Meanwhile, more links for public consumption:

http://www.africanculturalcenter.org/5_0people.html
Modern Africans are arguably the most diverse people in the world. More than 3,000 unique ethnic groups are recognized in Africa. The customs, languages, and cultural mores of people on the continent are quite different from country to country and from region to region

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Africa
This is necessarily overly broad. But at the bottom are country specific links that should be better.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/...blacklead.html

Conference notes, corrects misperceptions about Africa
Africa making more progress than thought, speakers assert

By Doug Gavel
Kennedy School Communications




Former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Jendayi Frazer delivers the keynote address, 'Transformational Diplomacy in U.S.-Africa Relations,' at the Kennedy School's Black Policy Conference. (Staff photo Justin Ide/Harvard News Office)

Jendayi Frazer, assistant U.S. secretary for African Affairs, sounded an optimistic note on the future of Africa during a speech Friday (April 21) at the Black Policy Conference at the Kennedy School.

"It is necessary to look at the real trends in Africa," Frazer told an audience at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. "The context is ripe for positive change, much of which is already under way."

Frazer, a former assistant professor at the Kennedy School who served as U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 2004 to 2005, explained that there are many common misconceptions about the continent - among them that is it replete with "death, disease and dictatorship" - when in reality many African countries are making significant economic and political progress.

"I believe that Africans are implementing better governance across the continent," she said. "They are creating the conditions for peace and prosperity, and that is really the picture."

Six African wars have ended over the past five years, Frazer said, and the 2006 Freedom House index (of the nongovernmental organization Freedom House) now lists 11 African countries as "free" and 23 as "partly free." "The trend lines are quite positive," according to Frazer.

The Bush White House deserves credit for taking a more active role in African affairs, Frazer said, noting that the administration employed a strategy of "transformational diplomacy" in the region.

"By engaging, the Bush administration has made a difference in the lives of millions of men, women, and children in Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and in Sudan," she said. "All of these changes are part of an historic shift, one in which Africans are taking leadership of their continent through the African Union and its new partnerships for Africa's development and its program of action."

On the economic front, the continent continues to make significant progress, Frazer said. The United States awarded $4.6 billion in targeted aid to African countries last year and has granted 100 percent debt cancellation for 14 sub-Saharan African countries. Growing international trade opportunities are also proving fruitful for many African markets.

And as wars end and economies grow, stable political systems are vitally important for the future of Africa. Frazer pointed to Liberia - which recently elected its first female president, Kennedy School graduate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf - as a "shining example" of what the Bush administration hopes to accomplish.

"We are trying to nurture strategic allies, and we are trying to invest in success," Frazer said. "We are trying to leverage regional institutions, build their capability, and we need to contain failing states. Local involvement is central. Building institutions is central, and working in support of African leadership is central."

And despite the looming challenges ahead, Frazer said she feels good about what is happening in Africa. "I think we've come a long way. I think the people of Africa have come a long way. I think prospects for the continent are extremely promising."

The three-day Black Policy Conference, with the theme of "Bridging the Gap," concluded on April 23.
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
- Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

(taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)

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