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Ace Leben

Final Draft

Stereotypes, such as a people of widespread hunger, disease, victims and charity


causes, of Africa can distort the way we see Africa and Africans by over generalizing things and
downgrading Africa. Overgeneralization has caused injustice to the accuracy of issues and
situations and, how they apply to governments and individuals. It has blurred the lines of wealth
in Africa and caused the scapegoating of the wrong people. In contrast, it has spread the truth of
increasing poverty, mortality rate and disease so much so that the same truth does not apply to
the whole country. Stereotypes have downgraded Africa into a country of a hopeless cause for
charity and victims. This view of Africa discounts individual efforts from Africans like William
Kamkwamba, his father, Dr. Mchazime, the other African TEDsters and the students at African Leadership
Academy.

First, overgeneralization of wealth forces the perspective of developed and


underdeveloped nations to conflict. A great example that illustrates African ingenuity conflicting
with the perspective of advanced nations is on page 267 where Erik Hersman states that even
as poor as Africans are, they solve their problems by bending and manipulating garbage to
create and birth marvelous solutions. This perspective differs an imperialistic view,
where Africans poverty is seen as insurmountable and requiring enormous expense to solve.
Another example of different pursuits and measures for wealth is, in Malawi children find
happiness using materials found in dumpsters to create games like USA vs Vietnam(16) and to
create toy trucks(19). These materials in developed countries would be considered trash but, in
Africa they can give satisfaction and feed curiosity. The inaccurate perspective of wealth from
developed nations causes injustice to people in underdeveloped nations and how they view

wealth which is similar to the false concept of causality between the origin and cycle of crises
made by powerful societies.

Second, overgeneralization of causality makes it difficult to have an accurate view on the


cycle of crises in Africa. The sole example is the difference of the famine in Malawi in 2002 and
the famine in Malawi in 2005. In 2002 famine was caused by the government (87) but in 2005 it
was caused by a porous rain season (239). Overgeneralization of overall famine in Africa bother
countries discounts the difference of causality in the two famines and can make scapegoats of
the wrong people. Although overgeneralization can spread false views, it can also spread truth
unto incompatible situations. These truths are shown in data that sub-Saharan Africa has the
most percentage of people living under $1.25 per day and has most of under five mortality rate
(Social Stratification and Inequality) and, many points in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by
William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer that support the view of malaria and Aids as a common
occurrence in Malawi. A person without the scope of the whole situation in Malawian assumes
that all of Africans have a disease or is poor, which is somewhat true but leaves out the whole
truth and exceptions.

Lastly, Stereotypes have downgraded Africa into a country of hopeless cause for charity
and a land of victims. This view of Africa discounts individual efforts from Africans like William
Kamkwamba, his father, Dr. Mchazime, the other African TEDsters and the students at African Leadership
Academy. The best quote that symbolizes their unified goal is spoken by William when he says
My fellow students and I talk about creating a new kind of Africa, a place of leaders instead of victims, a home of
innovation rather than charity (286). These individuals epitomize the future of Africa and should not be
overlooked because of the stereotyping of all Africans.

In conclusion, stereotypes create an inaccurate views of Africa and Africans by overlooking


perspective, overstating causes, and undermining bright African individuals. Overlooking the
perspective of underdeveloped nations can result in misjudgment and an ignorance of wealth.
Overstating causality shrinks the scope at which we understand issues and blinds us from the
truth. Undermining bright Africans by lumping them with stereotypes makes it almost impossible
for the pride and future of Africa to be recognized for their collective efforts by other African
people and other nations. For those who reach for knowledge should be driven to create a world
that is without prejudice and without stereotypes.