So much to say about this. This does not only apply to the view of Africans. It applies to how we view “the other”. How we put people in boxes and accept single stories about masses of people. Not attempting to grasp some knowledge of the other–from the mouth of the other. Not attempting to see ourselves in others. I myself have had to squelch the views of others who talk of Africa as a country, those who asked me if I was starved as a child. But how much better am I if I perceive an African American as less than due to improper English, or have some unwarranted bigoted notion that I am better than them? Who am I? How can I have the gall to profess that I am a person of integrity when I allow myself to be prodded on a path of lies and ignorance.
You have to be willing to open yourself to challenge established truths that stemmed from ignorance and eventually possibly acknowledging that there is fault in what you have accepted.
So I challenge myself today, to not accept a single story because someone tells me it is true. To reassess what I think is truth (because it’s the way I was brought up).
This links with Thandie Newton’s TedTalk in that we are self-righteous. [see below]We’re brought up to see ourselves not as connected with billions of people. We do not see the world as our extended family. We see others as Puerto Rican, mulatto, Italian, poor, Islamic, disabled, etc. One thing I love about the way I was brought up is that I was raised to respect my elders and to understand the importance of family. I love this. But I know it was not perfect. I want to raise my children not only to hold these values and many other values in esteem, but I want to raise them to learn from everyone (black, white, Jewish, atheist), to love everyone (and I mean a pure love…not just the I’ll pray for you love…the kind of love that does not judge behind closed doors as if you are better than them), and so on.