Despite the influx of more positive representations of Africa in Hollywood (hello Black Panther and A United Kingdom), there are still some negative stereotypes that continue to resonate with certain people. If you are from an African country or you’ve had the luxury of living on the motherland for some time, then you’ve probably heard a few of these upon moving abroad. Sadly, world history in the education curriculum of many American schools continues to lack, thus prompting certain folks to spew these particular questions and concerns out of their mouths…
1. “I’ve never heard of that country”
Well Sharon, I’m glad to hear that you’ve never looked at a world map. Interesting that you’ve never heard of the country where all the resources used to make your iPhone come from.
2. “What’s it like over there?”
It’s not so much the question that bothers me as it’s the way that it’s asked- with wide eyes and a sense of alarm, as if the continent is such a foreign, mysterious land, and they can’t imagine why anyone would want to live there.
3. “Is it dangerous over there?”
Ok, so the only movies you’ve seen about Africa are Blood Diamond and Captain Phillips, I get it. But why is it so hard to grasp the concept that violence exists everywhere, and isn’t limited to African countries?
4. “What’s it like living with tigers?”
THERE ARE NO TIGERS ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, AND THERE NEVER HAVE BEEN. End of story.
5. “Wow, your English is so good.”
Yes, people speak English in many African countries because of colonization *gasp*. In fact, most people are actually multilingual, which is a rather impressive feat considering that 75% of Americans do not even speak a second language.
6.“I’ve always wanted to adopt a baby from Africa!”
I’ve unfortunately witnessed several people hurl this highly ignorant statement. Why does the baby have to be African? What exactly is the issue with adopting a baby from your own country?Most importantly, why do you automatically assume that an African baby needs your help in the first place?
7. “I’ve always wanted to volunteer in Africa!”
Volunteer to do what, exactly? There are plenty of local issues that need attending to here in the U.S., and I’m pretty sure you’d be more impactful volunteering in your home country than traveling halfway across the world to “help people” in a nation you know nothing about.
What are some ignorant comments and questions you’ve come across upon moving abroad?