Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Shithole Countries"

Bonjour Tout le Monde,

I hope this post finds you well. I am excited to introduce my first blog post in the "Mes Pensees" series. For those of you who aren't familiar with French, it simply means, 'my thoughts'. I received an interesting article this morning and I thought I would share it. All links and pictures in this post do not belong to me.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"When well-meaning people describe poverty as a hellhole, we shouldn't be surprised that people end up thinking of poor places as 'shitholes', tweeted Dina Pomerantz, a prominent development economist at the University of Zurich.

We're using the same old stereotypes.

"While many NGOs and aid agencies are working to shift the narrative around poverty, many still use the tired old tropes. Images that emphasize poverty and deprivation have a strong effect on the way Westerners view people living in low-income countries. Specifically, these images can cause Americans to perceive Africans broadly as lacking agency and autonomy."

-Micheal Artime, professor of politics and government, Pacific Lutheran University

Personally, coming from an African country, I find comments such as these to be quite normal. When I first came to the U.S., I used to receive so many negative comments, questions and just thoughts from people who knew nothing about Africa, besides what was circulating around the web and television. In the beginning, I use to take great offense to this, but I quickly realized that the true issue lies within the information that was being put out.

Yes, without a doubt, poverty exists in numerous countries within Africa. Yet, there are numerous hidden gems and amazing attributes within those countries as well. For example, Nigeria has 186 million people with almost 100 million of those people living on less than $1. Conversely, Nigeria has the third largest movie industry, while nearly beating out Bollywood. It is an emerging/frontier market, a global fashion market, and a musical powerhouse. These are the hidden gems that no one talks about. So, I believe that once the narrative starts being balanced, we can start telling the story better.

Link to article:




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