The Perception of Africa as a Single Entity Essay

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Looking at Africa as a single entity has been an issue facing how the world perceives it. When news of Africa hits the stands it is rarely talking about specific places but rather a story about the whole of Africa. Viewing Africa as a single thing has lead most of the world, especially Western cultures, to see it in a generalized way which has led to a negative stereotype of Africa and its people. During the time of European expansion, many in Europe only knew of Africa, though the letters of self-appointed anthropologist and adventurers who described Africa as a dark continent; the people were dark skinned and primitive; they worshiped idols and practiced mysticism. This was evident in the way that British colonist described the …show more content…

They were to the European simple people but useful. The boarders that were created meshed together different tribal groups, all with their own customs that made them distinct from one another. Ignorant to seeing this or perhaps just uncaring, the colonists and missionaries then moved toward civilizing the Africans by wiping them clean of their identity and instilling into them a new identity. Their reasoning was to bring the Africans into the modern world and to make them useful. These motives of course were not simply to help the African people but turn them into a labor force. This movement was fueled by the belief that the Africans were in nature primitive people and in need of help. Just like James Ferguson said “Western societies have found in Africa a radical other for their own constructions of civilization, enlightenment, progress, development, modernity, and, indeed, history” Africa was a place that was seen as a means to judge the standards of western progress and culture (Ferguson 2). This meant that Africa and the people who lived there were reduced to a lower standing on the social ladder. Africa was a testing ground for western nations to test their ability to bring culture to the uncultured. Even today most of the world judges their way of life, their culture, and prosperity based on how they compare to a 3rd world country like Africa.

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