"THE African Culture"

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."

It all had this tone of "those stupid Africans, destroying their environment and getting AIDS because they don't know they shouldn't eat monkeys, and if they do they should cook them and they don't even want to learn how to be better like we are."

Oh and according to one person in my class, all the Muslims in Indonesia hate people who aren't Muslim, to which my professor nodded.

It really bothered me. Just wanted to vent.



Are you going to complain to the Administration about this instructor?
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."

It all had this tone of "those stupid Africans, destroying their environment and getting AIDS because they don't know they shouldn't eat monkeys, and if they do they should cook them and they don't even want to learn how to be better like we are."

Oh and according to one person in my class, all the Muslims in Indonesia hate people who aren't Muslim, to which my professor nodded.

It really bothered me. Just wanted to vent.
Originally Posted by iris427
Wow, I'm sorry you were a witness to this type of ignorant behavior.
did you or anyone confront this attitude in the class? You couldn't have been the only person to feel that way.
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Without even stating the obious- I'm curious how this was relevant to your biology class? And why your bio professor would consider himself an expert in such matters? What is his purpose in spreading all this misinformation?
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That reminds me of the Professor I got for Irish Lit who started the first day of class by explaining how all of the stereotypes about the irish being nothing but drunken depressed degenerates were obviously true, because "Angela's Ashes" said so.

She was a native Italian. So I raised my hand and said, "Would it then be fair to assume that all Italians are pasta-eating, wine-drunk gangsters because mafia movies say so?"

I flunked that class. With pride.
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did you or anyone confront this attitude in the class? You couldn't have been the only person to feel that way.
Originally Posted by FreeCurls
FC, I really wish I would have said something! It's a new class and I still feel a little shy about speaking up, but I should have said something.

I felt like, if I speak up and respectfully say this is all wrong, will people be annoyed at me for derailing the conversation? (we were supposed to be talking about central African rainforest--although I guess the instructor derailed it herself with the whole eating monkeys thing ). I mean, everything that was said about African peoples was so ignorant, I didn't even know where to start, so I didn't say anything.

I really need to get over being shy with people when I first meet them, because then I just stew about things like this. It's something I'm trying to work on.

Without even stating the obious- I'm curious how this was relevant to your biology class? And why your bio professor would consider himself an expert in such matters? What is his purpose in spreading all this misinformation?
Originally Posted by Gemini13
The class is on tropical rainforests. Of course, no class on rainforests is complete without mentioning the destruction of rainforests, so that is how the topic of "the African culture" came up.

I have noticed a real tendency to look at the "third world" with disdain among some biologists. There is a subtle but real attitude like I mentioned above of all those ignorant people ravaging their beautiful environment and having too many babies. People say "rapid population growth" like it's disgusting. Never mind that we already ravaged our environment here and already went through the rapid growth stage of the population curve here. Obviously we are better than them.

That's terrible! I work for a Latin American center that does a lot of work on the South American rainforests. But everyone that works here is very respectful of the indigenous people. In fact, we have a program that educates people about rainforest conservation, while also helping preserve the indigenous cultures and languages. I cannot believe that someone who studies a certain area would be so ignorant of the people who live there (and who lived there long before anyone thought to study their land).
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That's terrible! I work for a Latin American center that does a lot of work on the South American rainforests. But everyone that works here is very respectful of the indigenous people. In fact, we have a program that educates people about rainforest conservation, while also helping preserve the indigenous cultures and languages. I cannot believe that someone who studies a certain area would be so ignorant of the people who live there (and who lived there long before anyone thought to study their land).
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Your job sounds awesome! Mind if I PM you about it? That's the kind of thing I would like to do once I get more education under my belt--helping indigenous cultures and their environments.

Africa is not my professor's area of expertise (she did her Ph.D. work in Puerto Rico). But it still doesn't excuse such ignorance.

I have noticed a real tendency to look at the "third world" with disdain among some biologists. There is a subtle but real attitude like I mentioned above of all those ignorant people ravaging their beautiful environment and having too many babies. People say "rapid population growth" like it's disgusting. Never mind that we already ravaged our environment here and already went through the rapid growth stage of the population curve here. Obviously we are better than them.
Originally Posted by iris427
Interesting...

Africa is not my professor's area of expertise (she did her Ph.D. work in Puerto Rico). But it still doesn't excuse such ignorance.
Originally Posted by iris427
In that case she shouldn't be discussing it as though she is an expert! Students who don't know any better are likely to take all of that "information" at face value rather than question an authority figure. She's teaching them lies!
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WTH are you going to school? (Please don't say Wash. U.)
Next time, simply raise your hand and say:

I'm so confused. I thought Africa was a continent with dozens of countries. What do you mean by African Culture?
WTH are you going to school? (Please don't say Wash. U.)
Originally Posted by Discgirl
No. My Bachelor's is from Wash. U. in anthropology actually and I never ever had a professor there say something stupid like this. In fact, all through class I was thinking, Dr. _______, you really need to take some anthropology classes like I did!

I'm taking classes at the community college here right now.

Scrills, I totally know I should have said that, and more! I'm just kicking myself. I might go to her office hours and say "you know, I was thinking, I don't agree with what we talked about in class."

Speaking of ingorant teachers:

A parent told me today her son's science teachers explained to them that there were 2 huge boulders holding up America underground. If North Korea continues to do nuclear testing underground it could shake our "boulders" and then America could collaspe in on itself.

WTF?


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I would think indigenous groups are among the least responsible for deforestation.
If there were more people on earth who desired their own happiness more than the unhappiness of others we would have a paradise ~ Bertrand Russell
I would think indigenous groups are among the least responsible for deforestation.
Originally Posted by KatieCoolLady
No, but apparently they eat all the monkeys.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
I would think indigenous groups are among the least responsible for deforestation.
Originally Posted by KatieCoolLady
No, but apparently they eat all the monkeys.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Dang monkey hogs - now the superior Americans can't fry them on a stick. :x

That professor doesn't deserve to be a professor if she's spreading all of this crap about a place that she not only isn't an expert on, but apparently doesn't know the first thing about. Why would she think this was okay? HUGE generalizations, rampant fallacy and disregard for the countries in a continent...ugh, I can see why you didn't speak up (honestly, I can say I want to but I don't know if I wouldn't be too scared at the time), but I know that now I would definitely go talk to her after hours about correcting the info in the next class. If she refused to use class time to retract her statements, I would take it up with a higher office.
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