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The long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place

The long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place | Haak's APHG | Scoop.it
How alarmist, racist coverage of Ebola makes things worse. A dressing down of the latest #NewsweekFail.

Via Seth Dixon
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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 9, 2015 2:21 PM

Before I even read the article, my first thought went to the Linneaus classification.  That really damaged history with this one chart.  I think people still think of Africans and blacks(very dark blacks) as dirty or unintelligent.  Which is horrible and couldn't be further from the truth.  Misinforming the public is criminal.  News media and social media need to be careful and educate properly.  I've been asked from a customs offical, "Have you been to Africa in the past 6 months?"  Which is a very blanket question because Africa is a continent.  There were areas that were not hit with Ebola.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 27, 2015 4:37 PM

Those who deny the continued influence of racism in our society are blinding themselves to the truth. Contemporary influences of the racism that plagued the preceding centuries are still found in most major media depictions of Africa. The Ebola epidemic has served to highlight the bigotry that plagues Western media, as the assumption that all of Africa is diseased and dirty is continuously perpetuated (when, in reality, Ebola only affected a very small part of the continent). Africa is presented as "other," a backwards continent that is in desperate need of Western help and guidance- in what was is that different from the European colonizers who also viewed their actions as benevolent attempts to "civilize" the uncivilized? That mindset has not left Western circles, and yet we continue to pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves for suddenly being so tolerant. The insensitivity of Western audiences to the concerns of black individuals both at home and in Africa related to the prevalence of racism highlights how determined mainstream media is to deny the existence of a problem. Until we recognize the Eurocentrism that continues to plague our media and make the necessary moves to correct the practice, harmful depictions of Africa will continue to loom large in Western media and in the opinions of many Europeans and Americans alike.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:12 AM

Africa has long been treated by the western media as a dark , brutish, uncivilized place. Africa is a place were people starve and murder each other in large numbers. There is so much more to Africa than the picture I just described. The problem is, many people just do not accept the existence of a culturally complex Africa. That narrative would destroy the traditional  darker narrative of the past 500 years. A narrative grounded in the beliefs that blacks are inherently inferior beings. During the Ebola crises, the calls to cut off travel to Africa were quick and demanding. Had the crises been in England, would those same calls have been so loud? I think we all can guess the answer  to that question. Much progress has been made, but we still need to change our cultural depiction of Africa.

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AIDS/HIV

AIDS/HIV | Haak's APHG | Scoop.it

AIDS is a global issue, but clearly this impacts Sub-Saharan Africa far more than any other region. 

Great to teach about effect on populations in Sub-Saharan countries...

Tags: Africa, medical, infographic, development.


Via Seth Dixon
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Brittany Ortiz's curator insight, November 11, 2014 2:59 PM

If AIDS is obviously a bigger problem in SUb-Saharan Africa i would hope that, that is where we would send the most help and further educate people about safe sex and how to prevent from spreading AIDS.

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Let’s Talk About Geography and Ebola

Let’s Talk About Geography and Ebola | Haak's APHG | Scoop.it
Why knowing where countries are in Africa matters for how the rest of the world thinks about Ebola.

 

Cultural and media norms that often refer to Africa as one entity rather than an 11.7 million-square-mile land mass comprised of 54 countries and over 1.1 billion people who speak over 2,000 different languages.  This cultural confusion means that, when a dangerous virus like Ebola breaks out, Americans who are used to referring to “Africa” as one entity may make mistakes in understanding just how big of a threat Ebola actually is, who might have been exposed to it, and what the likelihood of an individual contracting it might be.  This Ebola outbreak is wreaking havoc on African economies beyond the three most heavily affected by Ebola, and that damage is completely avoidable. The East and Southern African safari industry provides a good example. Bookings for safaris there — including for the famed Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania — have plummeted due to the Ebola outbreak. These actions are based in fear, not reality.

 

Tags: Ebola, medical, diffusion, Africa, regions, perspective.


Via Seth Dixon
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Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 18, 2015 9:36 PM

It doesn't surprise me that the average person doesn't know his geography.  It shocks the hell out of me that a college would put themselves in a situation to look that stupid!  Do your research people.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 5:08 PM

This is another example of stereotyping taking its course through Africa.  Even though I am aware of the size and diversity of Africa, I was guilty of associating Ebola with the whole continent and not just the affected areas.  Same thing goes with the AIDS virus and other things, such as poverty.  Articles are great for people in other parts of the world to read to better educate them on the size and diversity of Africa and that there are many different ways of life in its 54 countries.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 12:44 AM

The Ebola epidemic over the last year put everyone in the world on high alert, not just those who lived in Sierra Leone and many countries in West Africa. It is important to understand how the virus spread so quickly and the advancements made to treat the virus. Geography played a big part of the spread of the virus. Because Africa, and the countries are far from modern medical technology, many non-profit organizations like Doctors without Borders were dispatched to those affected areas to help show and train physicians there the proper techniques on how to treat infected people with Ebola. That's why on the map one can see a far range of countries who treated infected people in facilities that were built to handle cases of Ebola.