Fear, Stereotypes and the “single stereotype” (triple participation + 12 points extra credit for midterm #2

Published October 20, 2014 by djlwsu

Watch these two videos and read this article – what are each saying about stereotypes and how stereotypes, flattened narratives, short-sided indexes, incomplete filters, and single stories not only dehumanize but fuel fear, harmful policies, and perpetuate inequalities (please watch the entire videos and offer specifics.  For those who engage the articles, who engage both videos and the article, you can earn 3 participation + 12 points extra credit for midterm #2) – Last day to participate: October 28

Our ignorance of Africa is more dangerous than Ebola


Left, Fox News host Andrea Tantaros says African Ebola victims may seek "witch doctors." Right, Nowa Paye, 9, is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday Sept. 30, 2014. Three members of District 13 ambulance service traveled to the village to pick up six suspected Ebola sufferers that had been quarantined by villagers. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Left, Fox News host Andrea Tantaros says African Ebola victims may seek “witch doctors.” Right, Nowa Paye, 9, is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday Sept. 30, 2014. Three members of District 13 ambulance service traveled to the village to pick up six suspected Ebola sufferers that had been quarantined by villagers. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

OMG EBOLA IS HERE! EVERYBODY PANIC. No. Don’t. I’m just kidding. Although many people already have started, so this might be a little too late.

The first case of the Ebola virus diagnosed on American soil is here with Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas. The Liberian man came into the United States last week and unknowingly brought the deadly illness with him, shattering everyone’s safety bubble in one instant (even though there shouldn’t be one but more on that later). He is one of thousands who the current epidemic has touched, but his diagnosis here seems to have created something that looks like ramping hysteria as people freak out that maybe they were next.

Last month, two Americans who got infected while treating patients were airlifted out of Liberia and taken to Emory Hospital in Atlanta. The panic actually started then as people wondered why the virus was being brought closer to home. Apparently, while it was in certain regions of West Africa, it was ok because that was far away. People wondered why the CDC wouldn’t want to “keep that in Africa.” Oh ok. Let’s not use modern medicine and the best scientific minds to see how it can be handled better everywhere.

We should be glad they did bring those doctors, because now that someone has been diagnosed here, we’ll need whatever they used to treat those doctors and whatever lessons they learned in the process to ensure that it is contained.

Ebola wasn’t “our” problem before, but we forget that the entire world is pretty much a 20-hour plane ride away. Air travel makes the world tiny, and something on one side of the world is not as distant as we all think. So we were not protected, because the disease was just on the other side of the globe before 2 weeks ago.

We felt a bit better about it, but now it’s not just a problem for Africans to deal with. And now that it went past our doorstep, we need to face the facts without hysteria.

The Ebola virus is not the flu, and it should be taken very seriously because it is deadly, with an estimated 70% mortality rate. However, panicking is not (and has never been) productive in fighting (and winning) any battle. With it comes misinformation, stigmatizing and the vilifying of an entire region and people. The media is especially complicit in that process, as reporters do the most with the absolute least.

Andrea Tantaros, a FOX News host had the unmitigated gall to tell viewers that “in these countries they do not believe in traditional medical care, so someone could get off a flight and seek treatment from a witch doctor who practices Santeria. This is a bigger fear. We’re hoping they come to the hospitals in the U.S., but they might not!”
All the NOPES that ever NOPED in NOPELAND. I already know that FOX News broadcasts are the place where logic goes to die a slow painful death, but that’s EXTRA ignorant, even for them. That foolishness is a bridge to folks also wondering whether travel from West Africa needs to be barred until further notice. No amount of facepalming is sufficient enough to express my disgust about this. NONE.

The narrative about Africa has always been a simple, singular picture of the poor helpless, disease-ridden child with mosquitoes all over it. The continent is seen as one huge Sally Struthers commercial pleading for help, and the media will not let go of that depiction. While Africa does need aid, Africa is also rising. However, right now it’s seen as the Ebola zone. Like my shero Chimamanda Adichie said, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

The entire continent is being stigmatized, and people are making stupid comments like, “You’re going to South Africa? Aren’t you worried about Ebola?” Yes, uninformed ignoramus. Because an Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone surely means you can’t visit anywhere else. Because Africa is one giant country.

As someone who was born and bred on the continent, I do feel extra sensitive about this, because I grew up hearing the bad jokes and the “did you all wear clothes?” teases. As if folks need one more thing to add to their pot of moronic jokes about Africans, this crisis has allowed them to double up.

What we need right now is for everyone to be educated on how the Ebola virus is transmitted. We also need governments from around the world to help the ones in West Africa who are in need of help in addressing and containing this epidemic. Communities are struggling, children are being orphaned and the disease is spreading, because in certain rural areas, there’s lack of adequate infrastructure to handle Ebola. We need the world’s brightest minds to help keep it from getting to pandemic proportions.

What we DO NOT NEED is panic. Although, if y’all keep freaking out and not wanting to go to anywhere on the continent of Africa, then prices for flights headed there will drop and the rest of us will buy these cheap tickets and go see the world.

While we’re on the topic of health, have you been tested for HIV lately? I mean … you have a greater chance of getting that than Ebola. In 2012 alone, 1.6 million people died from AIDS-related complications around the globe. You know how many have died from Ebola TOTAL? 4,000.

Come on, Saints and Aints. Chill.

Luvvie is a serial ranter and blogger who talks pop culture at Awesomely Luvvie, technology at Awesomely Techie and is the head behind DumbestTweets.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@Luvvie), Facebook and Instagram.


22 comments on “Fear, Stereotypes and the “single stereotype” (triple participation + 12 points extra credit for midterm #2

  • In the first video this young, nice Nigerian woman is speaking about being raised in Nigeria then coming to college in America and having to adjust to the way American portray people from Africa. She goes into detail about how when she was writing for a college assignment about growing up in Nigeria her professor questioned if the assignment was realistic. The professor just assumed that all countries in Africa are poor and full of diseases, he stated that her article was fabricated and too American. Before moving to America she never knew that this many people in America viewed Africa the way it does, they viewed it as being a poor beat up continent, something that she has never experienced first hand coming from the very modern country of Nigeria. She goes on to express her hate for the stereotypes about Africa and the cruel jokes about where she’s from.

    In the article the author talks about how people in America have lost it because one person in Dallas Texas has gotten Ebola. He goes on to express his anger at American panicking and expecting the government to cut off all flights to West Africa instead of sending our best doctors there to help or sending Ebola patients to America with our best doctors. This Ebola situation just brings back the traditional Africa stereotypes about how they’re dirty disease filled people and Americans will always be above them. Americans view themselves as too good to help other countries in a huge time of need. He stresses the fact that instead of panicking here in America we get educated on how the virus works and what we can do to help other countries. More inequalities arise when Fox News states that people in Africa use witch doctors which is very ignorant and another example of America in panic mode.


  • In the first video, where the women is talking about her experiences when coming to school and having a roommate that only knew what the “one story” of Africa; I realized that I as well as many americans have somewhat of the same kind of understanding of Africa. Many Americans see Africa as a poor, underdeveloped country as a whole. Where in reality Africa is a lot like America, it has its poor areas but also its middle class, and wealthy areas. The understanding of the “one story” Africa manly comes from media and the commercials we see of the poor hungry children in Africa, therefore shaping Americans views of the whole country being poor. The media is the main source of these stereotypes that are shaping Americans views of Africa. At the end of the video the woman even admitted and understood that If she was in her roommates shoes she would too have the same stereotypes in her mind.

    In the other video the girl shared a poem that had a lot of the same beliefs as the woman in the first video. It admitted that whites the Europeans only saw that they were saving other racial groups from underdeveloped land and they were bringing them to the “better world.” The Europeans views were one sided because they did not understand the culture and the land that the African people lived on. Just because that they lived a different way and planted their crops differently, the whites saw it as a way to “help” the Africans by forcing them to come to America. The reason the Europeans acted in this way was because they never took the time to understand other ways to live and to run a society, they didn’t see the good in Africa. This again creates stereotypes that Black is negative, and that White is right. This creates the views that the way the Europeans lived was correct and they were more dominant and important.

    Lastly in the article it shows that Ebola has now been found in Dallas, Texas. A man who went over to Africa to help people who were infected with the disease has now contracted it and passed away from the infection. This again pulls from the stereotype that a nice white doctor went to help people in Africa who were dying from the horrible disease. Again this portrays Africa as a country that has disease, poverty, and starvation.

    In the end America needs to realize that Africa is not just its stereotypes but it is much more than that. Africa is a place much like America with wealth, happiness and good things. It is not just disease and starvation. The stereotype are not true and does not reflect the country as a whole.


  • As time has passed and decades of images, media, and assumptions have been made, the stories of people are being flattened. As the second video primarily points out, Africans have been portrayed only in certain ways. As a “primitive” and “uncivilized” people. As “spear hurling savages” even. In the girls poem she revealed the single sided storytelling white people are portraying African history as throughout textbooks, media, etc. The white man in her eyes, continuously spoke about the African history in their view, while those people bit their tongues for survival and in turn went “blind.” They became unknowing of their own stories because the white man’s perception of it had been forced into their mind for so long, with them unable to speak out on the truth.
    You see stereotypes being pushed forward, as the Ebola virus conquers more and more people. Africa is not just some picture of a “poor helpless, disease-ridden child with mosquitos all over it.” The country is thriving while also tackling a terrible virus. Ebola is seen as a virus that has taken all of Africa and that if we let any Africans out of the continent or any Americans in we will all be infected. The truth is Africa is a huge place! Ebola should not be primarily associated with Africa just because of this early formed stereotype of this place being a disease ridden, poverty stricken world. What Americans and other countries are doing is placing this stereotype on all of Africa and denying them advanced medical aid in the process. As the Nigerian woman from the first video states, we are very “impressionable.” As a child we see and hear things from the media or even our parents and that’s what we will believe. Those TV commercials with starving African children laying around on the dirt floor of some torn down home is one instance of media coverage that reinforces a stereotype already in place. When the Nigerian woman read all those British and American books it triggered a mental shift in her mind. She did not think that girls like her could exist in literature. It was an “unintended consequence” of only being made available to western books. Only when we was able to read African books did she realize that she too could have a place in literature. Stereotypes are the consequence of only seeing certain aspects of a culture, group of people or other majority. Personally, I have a close cousin who will be moving to Africa in a few months to pursue religion and be with her boyfriend in Uganda. The first thing that my family said was” Oh no! You will get Ebola! You will die of Malaria! Don’t you want sterile living standards?” These people within my very own family had fallen to believe the typical African stereotype just as the Nigerian woman’s American roommate had. She had a “single story of Africa, a single story of catastrophe.” That single story made her roommate feel as though she had no similarities or equal ground with this Nigerian woman. That stereotype or singular image didn’t take into account personal experiences. That woman had a happy childhood with only a limited amount of negative experiences, but all that seemed to be heard or seen was a generalized negative image of her and all other Africans.
    Stereotypes are incomplete. They “rob people of dignity” and only “emphasizes differences rather than similarities,” steering people away from understand and equalization. Stories repair dignities and “when you reject the single story, we gain a kind of paradise.” So why not reject the story? Why not let someone travel to Africa? Let people be heard! Let the civilized ideals and tendencies of Africa be noticed. “Let the lion speak” and let the world hear all stories.


  • In the first video it is expressed that as a society we are vulnerable as to how stories present themselves. The speaker uses the example of her houseboy to show how society views a person by what they have or don’t have instead of seeing who they are as a person. A major stereotype that is seen in the video is when the speaker’s roommate questioned why she spoke English so well, she assumed that because the speaker was from Nigeria she had a tribal language but in reality English was her first language. The stories that are told influence how people see things. For example when the speaker talked about how people view Africa and Mexico differently because of the stories that are told or how the media portrays these places. Another point she brings up is that not all the stories that are told involve catastrophes. Stories can be used to inspire and motivate others. This is shown in the second video the speaker talks about how we need to tell our own stories because they are what define us. She continues the video by telling her story which shared similar feelings as the lady in the first video.
    The article talks about Ebola and how it is believed to have been started in Africa and until it was seen in Dallas, Texas most people in America ignored what was happening in Africa because they wanted to protect themselves instead of trying to help the people. This can be seen as a stereotype because Americans view Africa as a place filled with diseases instead of the beauty that can be seen in the country.


  • The first video is a woman, Chimamanda Adichie, who was born and raised in Nigeria that is talking about her experiences with stories over the course of her life. Being a part of a middle class Nigerian family, she wasn’t terribly poor & filled with disease, similar to the American perception of people from Africa. She is fluent in the English language and listens to most of the same music as Americans. When she comes to America for college, her white roommate is shocked by her and wants to hear about all the tribal stories of her home country. These instances tie into the main point in her speech; Americans are told a specific negative story about Africans, and people go on to believe that the one story is true for all Africans all the time. She relates this to her personal life when she goes to Mexico after hearing only one side of a story being that Hispanics always try to sneak over the border. She was obviously wrong. This “one story” concept is the driving force behind constant stereotypes. We shape our views on a specific culture based on a story or two, mainly the negative stories.

    The second video, a poem by Maya Wegerif, shares a similar message with the first video. The poem explains the history of Africans that have been told through the perspective of whites. She uses a common phrase “[t]he stories of hunting remain weak because the Lion itself is unable to speak,” to describe their lack of voice they had against whites. This poem is particularly interesting because it goes all the way back from pre-slavery to the hopeful future of African stories in America. For a very long time, Africans had no say in how they were portrayed to the world. A common theme of beastly, poor and primitive became the global norm in describing Africans, not their diverse culture or self-sufficiency. All in all, with the Africans having no voice, whites believed Africans were bad and only useful for slave-work. This created a negative stereotypical image of Africans that has been imbedded into history across the globe.

    The article about the Ebola virus is very humorous, as it mocks Americans’ response to the recent “outbreak” of Ebola. American’s are freaking out that literally a couple people have the virus on American soil. Now we have many people wanting flights to Africa cut off and to keep the virus in Africa instead of having some of the best doctors in the world, in America, work to treat some of the victims to find a cure to the virus. Those same Americans are wanting us to cure the 2 people infected in America then be done with it, without paying any mind to the thousands dead and the potential for more in Africa. Unfortunately, the African stereotype of no sanitation and disease is what fuels these extreme demands. Following this virus, there will be an uneasy feeling when Africans come to America in fear that they have the virus.


  • The TED talk in the first video is given by a Nigerian woman who, through her experiences in the united states, has been able to analyze the ways in which she has been stereotyped and the ways in which she believes these stereotypes come to be. The emphasis in this video is on “stories.” The reality is that every person has many stories, but not everyone can see them. With a little bit of research or concentration it is not hard to understand the stories of people, but the first story that comes to mind when a group of people is analyzed is often the stereotype. When people choose to accept this stereotype and decide that someone only has “one story” this is stereotyping. Specifically, the woman in the video focused on her American roommate. Her roommate had a pre-concieved idea about what her story was. She assumed things that I’m sure many of my peers might assume about Nigeria, that it is much less advanced, and that they don’t have some of the luxuries that Americans have. Some of these things might be true, but this doesn’t discredit the things that also play into who Nigerians are. Some things that were brought up were that there were many novice film makers striving to achieve their goals, her hair-braider just opened up a business, and many other people are making a life for themselves in Nigeria. This proves her other statement that is “where you start the story changes it completely.” These single stories fuel fear because they spread ideas and stereotypes that do not capture every side of a person or a group of people.

    In the second video it came down to a focus on point of view. The woman explained how the way people read history distorts their views and understanding of what really happened. A reccuring example through out the whole poem was that of slavery. Because the white people were suppressors they had the opportunities to write history. And their point of view was often seen as white people “helping” Africans by taking them out of the “dark” and bringing them to the “light” as in America. There are always two sides to every story and it seemed as if the white people were the ones who had the opportunity to share their side of the story regarding slavery. The metaphor she used repetitively to illustrate the situation regarding stories was very interesting and it went like this “The stories of hunting remained weak because the lion was whipped if it tried to speak.”

    As for the article, I always find the stigmas and stereotypes regarding “the country of Africa” very cringe-worthy. During my junior year of high school I had the opportunity to go to Ghana on a service trip, I learned so much about the country and even about the continent as a whole. I always knew there was a large amount of ignorance in America but I would assume that people running news shows would be some of the least ignorant(I guess not Fox news). This article ties into the other videos because this News anchor obviously has only heard one story about Africa. She has one view and it is based off of the biased things she has heard from other people. She sees Africa as a whole as a disease ridden, underdeveloped country..this is not the case. The anchor saying that people in Africa do not believe in modern medicine is almost too much to handle. Because I have seen first hand the effects of the absence of modern medicine in Ghana. These effects did not come because they only allow witch doctors to preform surgery..the fact that they were living in such extreme poverty makes the chances of modern medicine thriving decrease exponentially. Overall this article exhibited a very bad case of stereotyping and it did not help that it was over the national news.


  • In the first video, Chimamanda Adichie talks about her past experiences that demonstrate how “a single story” or stereotype can be very harmful to the way people are viewed. When she was a very child she began writing. All of her stories would focus on white people and their culture, because that was all she had ever been exposed to through literature. When she became introduced to Nigerian literature a new world was opened up to her where the literature was reading related to her and she realized she could write about things that weren’t foreign to her. When she moved to America to go to college her roommate saw her as someone to feel sorry for because she only knew “the single story of Africa” full of catastrophe. Living in America it cannot be denied that the majority of Americans see Africa as poor and underdeveloped land rather than many countries with varying economic classes. The “one story of Africa” is drawn from media portrayal, through selective news coverage and media. Adachie even admits that when she heard a single story over again about a family growing up, it was difficult to see then past anything than what she knew from the story. A single story can be harmful and lead to racism and hurtful stereotypes.

    The poem that the girl shared in the second video backed up a lot of the points from the first video. It tells the story of white Europeans bringing Africans to a “better world” as if they were helping them, while they actually repressed their lives and culture. The whites thought of themselves as superior and Africans did not have equal opportunities in that world to show they were equal. Again this video highlights the fact that we need to stop using a single story to define an entire continent full of various cultures and people.

    The last article talks about Ebola and how it has showed up in Texas. The reporter said that the countries that are currently infected with Ebola do not believe in medical care, but that they actually seek treatment from witch doctors. This enforces so many stereotypes about Africa. The articles tone makes it seem that it is alright for Ebola to be in Africa but not the United States and that Africa is behind in areas such as medical care. The article as a whole portrays Africa as a place only filled with poverty and disease.


  • In the first video a young woman by the name of Chimamanda Adichie was born and raised in a middle class family of Nigeria. When attending school in America, the many disillusions of Africa came to her attention through the reactions and perspectives she discovered the majority of Americans have towards Africa. The media has helped engrave the image of Africa as strictly a poor, disease-filled country with little social structure and proper education. One example of this was when she was asked how she spoke English so well and how people expected her to be a lot less financially well-off coming from Africa. Through this video one can build understanding that Africa has its own social constructions as we do in America. It is not simply a poor, low-class country throughout, but it is divided through social classes, with the inclusion of wealthy, highly educated people living in the country. Chimamanda admits she may have drawn the same stereotypes about Africa if she was raised in America. The media has a strong impact to build perspectives due to the exposure of discrepant information founding the opinion of our generation’s society towards Africa.

    The second video included a poem written by Maya Wegerif, which gave a unique insight on the visualizations the early Europeans held towards Africans. The poem is extremely well-written, with great use of incorporating metaphors to truly get the emotional appeal across to the audience. The second video held similarities to the first one, as both women had honorable intuition to share for the American audience of the true usefulness and greatness present in the continent of Africa. Maya shares the spectrum she feels has never been taught throughout history, elaborating on the misconception of the European and African peoples relations. She explains the misunderstanding and lack of consideration the Europeans expressed towards the Africans use of lands and their cultural habits. The Europeans neglected the emotions and establishments the Africans had in their homeland and abused them to their own benefit for farming and alternative labor by exporting them from their countries. Through the long-term suppression Africans suffered under the control of whites, their voices and opinions could not be heard, let alone taken into consideration. Without the power to write history as it happened in the eyes of the victims, the white population has had the ability to sculpt inaccurate opinions to historians through literature written by White men, and the voices and experiences of the blacks faded. In relevant consequences, the general global opinion has formed that Africans were slaves and laborers helping the economy and growth of many nations. This opinion has been formed opposed to the deprivation of freedom and loss of chance to sustain and build communities through the culture established prior to the extraction of the African people the Europeans manipulated. These false narratives have attributed to the stereotypes our society has built to put faith in the voice of whites rather than listen and put trust in the experience of blacks.

    The article interprets the ignorance Americans have come to possess due to media exposure. A female anchor embarrasses the unfortunate opinion American’s have come to own towards the Ebola crisis on national broadcasting. Fox News goes as far to describe the medical staff treating Ebola in the continent of Africa as “witch doctors” and that modern medicine is not in their belief system. This relates to the videos shown as the lack of information Americans obtain on the education and professions some African civilians have acquired. The author of the article is outraged at the extent of dramatization the media has helped our country form towards the disease of Ebola. Although it is an immensely dangerous disease, the disease has not truly migrated to America which should subdue the fears accompanied by Americans. There has been cases of it in America, such as a Dallas man who was killed by the disease, but it does not justify the ratification to believe Africa is a threat or plague towards our country. Simply visiting Africa is not a realistic reason of concern to contract Ebola. The disease is a complex one under much medical examination, the stereotype of Africa as a hindrance to the health of others is just another display of the dehumanization the American society has portrayed towards the African population. This trend of opinion acts as an expression of inequality, which lays proof of the existence that disparity still pertains in our country.


  • The first video of the single story was a huge eye opener for me. Chimamanda Adichie expresses her feelings towards stereotypes of Africans from a point of view that in not regularly told. She talks about how single stories have given off false ideas about the people that live in Africa, and that the stereotypes are not always accurate. The story she used to back up her statement was that of her roommate and how she responded to her experiences growing up in Nigeria. This single story dehumanizes the Africans and makes them all seem like black poor slaves, just like some people think all immigrants are Mexicans. This particular speech shows how single stories can also build fear. We take what we hear about other societies and cultures and judge them based on these single stories. As Adichie explains, we become fearful about others based on our personal judgments and inferences. We become fearful because we do not know the other stories.

    The second video of Maya Wegerif also included some frustration with single stories on African people. In her poem that she resisted, it is easy to see the emotion that Wegerif gives off to the audience. Her statements are bold and loud. This video had some connection to the first in that both deny the common stereotypes ascribed to the people of their race. Single stories, in her opinion, filter out the majority or hard working people in Africa, and skip right to the poor people who cannot barely get by. The poem also talks about he the stories told by other people, “whites”, are all one sided and not accurate. This can become frustrating to people of that race. These stereotypes are an example of locked in because the same ideas are constantly being reproduced. This is an example of how racism still exist today in our society, and how we still ”dehumanize” people we have no real information about.

    The article posted, corresponding to the videos is another example of how single stories have effected all of us, and changed how we handle crisis. The man who wrote this article expressed his anger towards the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Some people think that all flights and any transportation should be cut off from this “infected land” and we c=should not have to deal with this. This is because most western societies view Africa as a land where everyone is poor and everyone has diseases. We think this way because it is what we have been taught. This single story has changed not only how we think, but also how we act. After watching both the YouTube videos and reading this article, I have better understood how single stories have impacted stereotypes, and given off biases that are not in any way true.


  • The videos and the article highlight the stereotypes that surround Africans. The first video, “The Danger of a Single Story,” is about how many of us only know a single story about Africa. Chimamanda Adichie grew up in Nigeria and read mostly foreign novels, so she began to write in the spirit of these novels even though she was unfamiliar with many aspects of these novels, such as talking about the weather and eating apples. When Adichie went to college in America, her roommate expected her to listen to tribal music and otherwise fit her roommate’s idea of what an African girl should be like. Similarly, many western writers such as Locke and Kipling described Africans as “people without heads” and “half devil, half child.” One of Adichie’s professors criticized her novel because her characters were not “authentically African” as they were not starving or experiencing harsh poverty. All of these examples demonstrate the idea of a single story of Africa. Adichie describes that when we observe the negative stories of people only, it flattens their personality and dehumanizes them. Also, she describes how these single stories influence society: “show a single story about a people over and over again, and that is what they become.” Basically, the single story is a self-perpetuating prophecy.

    “Floetry,” by Maya Wegerif, was similar. Before she recited her poem, Wegerif described how most African stories are told by non-Africans, and so there tends to be a single story of African people. In her poem, Africa is a lion, metaphorically. She describes how Africans are described by some as “spear hurling savages” because, historically, Africans were forced into slavery by whites and they were not allowed to tell their story (“the lion could not speak”). Later, the media created the stereotype that Africans were helpless and were completely dependent on help from white people, and so still they could not tell their story. In this way, Africans were constantly treated as inferior and are still unequal to whites today. Wegerif urges us to hear the story of Africa told by Africans so that we avoid dehumanizing an entire continent.

    “Our ignorance of Africa is more dangerous than Ebola” by Luvvie Ajayi, is a current view of the issue. When one person entered the US with Ebola and two people contracted the disease while in the US, many people’s “safety bubbles” were shattered. Ajayi challenges this view because “air travel makes the world tiny” and what is a problem in Africa is automatically a problem in the US. She proposes that we use what we have learned in the US to help those Ebola-stricken countries contain the disease. However, many Americans are of the opinion that we should not help West Africans and that we should not allow people to enter the US from Ebola-infected areas. This is partly because of the idea of the single story from the two videos. In Ajayi’s words, the single story is a result of the media “stigmatizing and vilifying entire regions.” People are afraid of Africa and Africans because the news has, for example, described that West African nations do not believe in traditional medical care. Furthermore, Africa is often treated as one giant country, and so the entire continent is stereotyped. This dehumanization of a whole continent thus creates fear of Africa and fuels the creation of immoral policies regarding Ebola response.


  • In the first video, Chimamanda goes over the importance and everlasting effect of knowing only “one story”. She uses the example of her houseboy when she was young and how her mother continued to preach how the houseboy’s family was very poor and there was nothing more to that. Her perspective changed when she visited his family one time and was astonished to see a fully patented basket that she didn’t believe his family was capable of producing. This short indexed single story opened her eyes when she came to America. She felt dehumanized when her roommate was very unaware of what she was capable of doing because of the single story and ideology that she had of people from Nigeria. She acknowledges power and its ability to make the other side of the story be heard and settle inequalities that many people go through. She continues to emphasize how stereotypes incomplete the story. She ends with saying once you realize there’s more than one story; stereotypes are eliminated and the nature is humanization is regained.
    In the second story, the African girl conveys the meaning of how pre historic stereotypes were brought upon by whites. She explains how whites judged them, and only through the white-eye and black was the color of ignorance. The one sided story about this never got to be told by the blacks themselves. The story of blacks never got told within them by rather got told by others outside their culture, religion, and love.
    The article one again shows the stereotypes that are composed upon Africa. Americans are panicking because a couple people on American Soil have contracted the disease and believe that Ebola should be kept in Africa. Americans are sitting on one side of the world making these assumptions and continuing to stereotype the entire population of Africa. The stereotypes are essentially a way of displaying inequality upon the Africans rather than supporting the act of U.S helping Africa during this horrifying time.


  • In the first video the African American woman begins by talking about how she grew up very smart at a young age. The books that she read influenced her books that she wrote. She would write about young white children and the stereotypes surrounding them based off of the books she read. The lady came from a middle class Nigerian family and her dorm roommate once she moved to America for college did not understand how she could speak English, use a stove or favorite band was Mariah Carey. This video is pretty inlighting about how we view certain people and the media portrays Africa only in bad light. This leads to the stereotypes that the roommate thought of when first meeting her. She also explains that if you look at the situation differently then the story is completely different in Africa.

    In the second the girl reads a poem about how Africa was exploited and the whites thought they were doing a favor to the people. They set stereotypes on all the people in Africa about how they were uncivilized and needed to be taught. She also talks about how the Africans voices were taken away. The whites fueled fear so much that the Africans no longer respected their own voice. She ends by saying that the lion needs to speak up in front the hunter.

    The article starts out with the stereotype that Ebola patients in Africa should see ‘witch doctors’ while they are actually being taken care off in hospitals like everyone else. The author then continues to say that no one really cared when Ebola was Africa’s problem but now that it is here hysteria is going crazy. Africa has been stereotyped as the, poor, disease ridden and immensely mosquito populated area and Ebola is just adding to that. The article also shows how we all think of Africa as one giant country and generalize all of the news we hear coming out of ther


  • The very first video I watched was very eye-opening. What I really liked about it was the way she explained how we are all at fault. It was not one of those videos where someone points out that white people treat black people less than they would another white person. I liked it because she put her idea she was trying to get at in metaphorical sense. She gave the “One story” example and used that to successfully get her point across. She did talk about how shes been a victim of racist comments or actions against her she put a twist to it. She put herself in their shoes, something very few of us do. She talked about the way her roommate thought she would be before she had met her, her roommate thought she listened to different “African music” and probably didn’t know how to speak English. She talks about how her roommate had already fit her into one story. But what she does instead of being angry is try to understand her, she says if she had grown up to only hear certain things about Africa and how the people there would then she would only have that knowledge to use. Chimamanda shares her story about the young boy who she knew from her child hood whom she always pictured as poor because her mother had told her over and over again that his family didn’t have all that food nor money. Because of this it was very shocking to see the reality when she met his family and they weren’t dirt poor, they were nice people that could make things to sell to keep themselves moving forward. The side affect of the single story is that there isn’t room for other, better ones. Its a single story and the problem starts right there with the word “single”. It is impossible to explain any one person in just one story let alone an entire race.

    The second video was also using a good example to get a point across. The young girl was using the lion as a symbol to represent black people and the way that they have been treated through out history and how they never have been represented accurately. It really makes you realize how much hurt and pain black people have gone through and the way that their rights have been taken away in the past. At first black people were seen as beats and bad when in reality they weren’t any better or worse than a white person. She talks about how whites thought they were doing them a favor and giving them a shelter with food and with that alone they were sold. No need for further questions asked, they were simply making their lives better and they would help them. She makes a really good point when she says that most of the time when black history is talked about it is not even discussed by black people, it is shared by white people. How is the story ever to be heard truthfully if the same people whom called these black people beasts are the ones intending to explain how it actually all happened. Through the years the lion finally had the opportunity to speak but when it could it was impossible to find words. Its a really touching poem that points out the flaws in our history when it comes to the treatment on black people.

    The last article was as they said very ignorant. The way I interpreted it was that it was easier to make this serious matter (Ebola) a sort of joke or cause of laughter than to get the real facts across. Instead of giving a report about how Ebola is transmitted or information about the virus they focused more on how African would rather consult a witch doctor. Not only are they making Africans as a whole look bad they are feeding to the a new forming stereotype that people that come from Africa have Ebola. This connects to Chimamanda point about creating a single story, not only is it incomplete but it is also untrue. Just like the article concludes, instead of panicking about Ebola and making it such a big issue we should be focusing on being worried about HIV because statistically that’s killing way more people off than Ebola by a long run.


  • In the first video, Chimamanda explains her upbringing as an intellectual child of Africa, and her early reading and writing were all influenced by English literature. A complete foreign subject influenced her until she was able to get her hands on African literature, which shifted her ideals into being able to recognize something within herself. She tells of how Africa; perceived to be a underdeveloped and poor country, but is not so much different than America; it contains similar economic classes. She explains how with media’s influence upon Americans and other foreigners has changed the view of Africa, with people like her roommate. This media has created stereotypes of Africa and its inhabitants, and how her dislike for the factors that cause this drive her to argue equality as humans.

    In the poetry video, the girl shares her ideas on how foreigners of Africa do not know what they have done to the people of Africa. She explains how westerners have pulled them from their continent and driven their ideals into them through slavery. The westerns believed that what they were doing was right, and that they were actually doing their captives a good deed, making them civilized. The westerners have created the dominant voice in African culture; not allowing the “lion to speak” and creating their own stereotypes for their people.

    The third article, on Ebola, tells of the entrance of the illness into the United States. The writer mocks the panic shown by the people of the United States and how the ignorance of people backs these stereotypes, which are also shown in the first two videos. I think that the author depicts these stereotypes generated by people from here quite well, and demonstrates the twists that media can put on things such as including that these “uncivilized people” are turning to witch doctors for help. The reactions of people here in the United States justifies how the author tears at the ignorance of some people; the best example, in my opinion, is how she brings up if these people have been tested for HIV lately, because statistically, one is more likely to get that than Ebola. She also takes a stab at people who consider Africa as one large country (mentioned in the first video), and how it would be oh so very dangerous to visit one region due to an outbreak opposite on the continent. I think that education on this virus is the best way to prevent the panic seen from everyone, as the author mentions towards the end of the article.


  • When I was kid I don’t remember reading books of black character because all story for kid had white character. Most Kids stories book doesn’t have black as main character. Which is seemed like racist and discrimination toward back people. When Chimamanda Adichie said, “single story can create illusion”. For example when her mother told her poor family cannot afford food, she was influence, and she always thought family living in poverty doesn’t have anything until she realize that was not entirely a truth. Another example when our media show Middle East countries first thing media portray is violence or bombing. I never saw news, which describes Middle East countries peaceful. Media and book is powerful weapon for mankind. Writer such as Locke and Kipling described African as people without heads, half devil and half child created fear in people for Africa and African people.
    While if you look at brown, white, black people. They all have stereotype in certain category. In first video the Nigerian women tell her story-facing stereotype by her roommate. People come from different country because they think this is land of opportunities but instead this country is land of stereotype, discrimination and racism. In my country people describe America as a heaven.

    Other video is poem “who told our story” this poem talk about the history of slavery. White saw themselves as savior of African people. They think forcing African to come in united state is saving them by bringing in better place and better world. They treat black people like a dog and like a human vassal because propose of bringing black people to America is for work.

    Ebola is major concern in Africa and in America. Sooner or later people will start to blame African for bring Ebola in United State and discrimination begin to form. The article mention in Africa most people don’t believe in medical care but seek for traditional witch doctor. In my country, people seek witch doctor because there isn’t enough medical care and it is very expensive.


  • In the first video a very nice and educated Nigerian woman told us her experience in the depiction of Africans from an American standpoint. She was born and raised in Nigeria and then later went to school in America. When she was in America she began to see the ever so real prejudices and stereotypes that are negatively aimed towards blacks. She was confronted by one of her professors about a paper she had wrote about her experiences growing up in Nigeria and her professors main issues were about the legitimacy of the experiences she had growing up. The professor had a predetermined bias of the continent of Africa and said that it was a country that was underdeveloped, poor and full of disease and those were her issues with the legitimacy of her paper. Her roommate also was surprised as to how well she was able to speak English, again reinforcing the stereotype that Africans only speak tribal and are very uneducated when in truth English was the Nigerian woman’s 1st language. The overall message to take away from the video was that, the way that American society is set-up, is set-up in a way that associates poverty, disease and uneducated peoples with the continent of Africa. The reason for that isn’t even necessarily our faults as Americans, we are shown what we know of Africa based off the bad news we hear from there either it be social media or the news, our information system associated with educating Americans about Africans is bias and racist.

    The ideas from the poem were mostly based off of the perspective that Americans are taught to reinforce racism. The way that we as Americans learn about the culture of Africans are all based off of the perspective of white people. She explains how it is impossible to understand the hardships and cultural differences between whites and blacks if you only see one side, the white side.

    The news article is one that talks about the new outbreak of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. This article is a very interesting, in the sense that it shows how ignorant and fearful Americans are of Africans. Towards the end of the article the consensus of the author is to send our best doctors to cure the disease and then essentially forget about it. When articles like this get into the public image you begin to see more and more Americans favor the idea that “oh now that Ebola isn’t in America we shouldn’t care anymore”. This mentality is linked to the stereotype that whites are clean and blacks are dirty, virus carrying animals which is a very wrong and very explicit bias. What we should be doing is sending our best doctors to the thousands of affected victims of Ebola and not be so selfish and not focus on 2 Americans having the disease when thousands have already been affected.


  • In the first video the audience gets the viewpoint of young African American woman from Nigeria. She grew up in a middle class family where she was educated and learned to read at a young age. Chimamanda starts off by telling a story of how she uses to read books of young British people. She goes on to say that since they drank ginger beer she wanted to drink ginger beer even when she had no clue what it was. She goes on to tell the story of how her family would have people from rural villages come in and help around the house. There was young boy that would come to her house, she saw this boy as poor because her mom would give him the left over food. She didn’t see them as anything else. Chimamanda later on in her life felt that feeling of being looked down on. When she went to study in the US her roommate was shocked that she knew how to speak English and even knew how to use the stove. The ideas behind her stories are that all youths are impressionable no matter where they come from. It should be the responsibility of the adults to better educate their children to not be impressionable.
    The second video is a poem on how the whites exploited Africa and the African people. The whites saw the African people as lesser and thought they were coming in and doing them a big favor in their attempt to “civilize” Africa. The author goes onto say that she felt the African voice was being taken away by the whites, because of this their community was getting torn apart. This reminds me of the movie the House I live in. In the movie the drug laws were becoming more of a problem to the community then a good.
    The article starts off with a very outlandish claim that the way Africans are taking care of Ebola is by seeing witch doctors. This article is made to show how the stereotypes of Ebola are incorrect. The author points out that no one really cared when Ebola was just Africa’s problem but now when it spread to America and the rest of the world everyone is freaking out. I feel like because this virus originated in Africa there have been way too many false claims. I feel if there was better education to the greater public than the stereotypes of Ebola and West Africa would die down.


  • In the first video Chimamanda Adichie – who was born in Nigeria talked about her experience with stories over the phase of her life. She was born and raised in middle class Nigerian family and she was not terribly poor and full of diseases – which is the American perception of people from Africa. She talked about the way she was stereotyped and ways in which she believes these stereotypes come to be. Most of the peoples in America see Africa as a poor and underdeveloped country as a whole – which is not true. One of the major stereotyped that is seen through video is that when the speakers roommate was shocked by the speakers ability to speak English so well, her roommate that she was from Africa so she must have tribal language but she did not knew that speakers first language is English. She speaks English fluently and she listens to same music Americans listen to. This ties in to the main point of her speech – Americans are told specific story about Africans and people believe that one story is true for all Africans all the time. She also talked about single sided story telling how white people portray African history through media, textbook, etc. she shared her own personal story – before she went to Mexico she had one sided story about Mexicans but after she went to Mexico she realized how wrong she was and how medias portray of Mexican overruled her judgment. The one story is the driving force behind constant stereotypes – people shapes their views on a specific culture or nation based on medias perception and what is shown to them.

    The second video is a poem by Maya and it shares a similar message with first video by Chimamanda. In this video Maya talked about Europeans one-sided story because they did not saw and understand the culture of African people. The main recurring example and point throughout the poem was of slavery. She talked about how whites thought of themselves s superior and Africans did not have the equal rights. There are two sides to every story and white peoples get to share their one side of story because of their superiority. She used “the stories of hunting remain weak because the Lion itself is unable to speak,” to describe the lack of voice Africans had against whites. The whites one-sided story created negative stereotypical images of Africans and it has been imbedded into history across the globe.

    The article talks about how the Ebola situation brings back the African stereotypes – how Africans are people filled with different diseases. This article also pulls the stereotype how white doctor went to help people in Africa who are suffering from deadly diseases. Article also focuses on the fact that Americans are freaking out because some people have caught the virus in America. This article ties into the two previous videos because of the news anchors one-sided story about Africa and her views are based on the stories she had heard from other people. She sees Africa as underdeveloped and filled with disease country, which is not the case.


  • In the first video, Chimamanda Adichie, who came from a middle-class Nigerian family, began by saying she was an early reader and writer but only read American and British books that a Nigerian child like herself could not relate to. She eventually attended an American University by the time she was nineteen years old, and said that her roommate was shocked that she could speak English so well. The roommate had a preconceived pity towards Chimamanda, she automatically assumed she was poor and believed Chimamanda couldn’t relate to how people in America lived, even though it was much more similar than she believed. Chimamanda says that western literature is partly to blame for these types of preconceived notions towards Africa. That it is a dark, negative, and different place. Rudyard Kipling, a poet, even said in one of his writings that foreigners were “half-devil and half-child.” When told by a student that it was a shame that Nigerian males are physical abusers, Chimamanda replied that she had just read “American Psycho”, and that it is a shame that young Americans are serial killers. This proved her point that sometimes people will accept a single story and apply it to a whole society or group of people. This video emphasizes how a “single story” can vastly warp a society’s view toward another society that is foreign to them. It also points out the importance of how showing a balance of negative and positive stories of a society would give foreign people a more realistic view of that society. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but they can just as easily restore it.

    In the second video, Maya starts out by saying African history is most often not even told by Africans and is most often negative. She then starts her poem, saying how white people exploited Africans with slavery, and made Africans believe they were inferior. She also points out how whites have twisted the story of slavery, that the whites were “helping” the Africans by bringing them to a “better” land. This video puts into perspective just how much Africans have been suppressed throughout history, and how slavery is still having its negative impacts today.

    The article about Ebola highlights how the Ebola “epidemic” has been blown way out of proportion and is not as pressing of an issue as the media makes it appear. The author mentions how Africa has been shown in a negative light throughout the media. A Fox News host said that in African countries, the people don’t believe in traditional medical care, relying more on witch doctors to be cured. The author also mentioned how after thousands had already been infected, when one American got infected, the people of the U.S. were suddenly much more concerned than “when it was just Africa’s problem.” This article relates to the videos because of the stereotypes towards Africa being displayed in the media. If people were more educated on Ebola, there would be much less widespread panic than there currently is.


  • First video, Chimamanda Adichie ‘The Danger Of A Single Story’ she portrays how when she was young she read about stories of whites and how many stories talked about snow and weather. Where she comes from, Nigeria, there is no snow so she wanted to get a feel on how impressionable a story that the book can show through its contents. She couldn’t personally identify many things featured in foreign books, hence she had a perception of the world with a great difference. Those books opened her mind, but she didn’t know that with her skin can she incorporate herself into those scenarios that she read about. This built a stereotype based on what she read about in the foreign books. A white lady asked about “Tribal music” and she instantly felt sorry for Chimamanda and patronized her because she was from Africa, third world. There was an instant stereotype that she encountered when talking with the white lady. The white lady even thought that she didn’t know how to use a stove, even though she was listening to Mariah Carey. She quotes John Locke 1561, about his voyage about the “black Africans with beast without houses and also people without heads having their mouths and eyes in their breasts”. This caused a tradition of stories to be passed onto Europe and create such a stereotypical view on any African. On the other hand, Africans could also portray whites with weird comments or derogatory terms.
    Second video, Maya Wegerif ‘Floetry’ talks about her stories to show the world. The poem, she tells that whites made Negros slaves and that giving them shelter and food would be better than what they were doing before. Making them slaves is allowing them to become civilized. Whites preyed on Africans and took what they want by exploiting Africans and putting horrid stories about Africans. She states in her poem how Africans are Lions that are stuck and cut off of their own will. The Lion was never allowed to speak and the West kept making stories that continued to produce stereotypes that caused such a tremendous impact on how whites looked at Africans. The whites are portrayed as Hunters that keep on hunting the Lions for anything and everything. She emphasizes that Africans should be the ones telling the stories not the whites.
    As for Ebola, it has hit USA the first case Thomas Eric Duncan from Dallas, flew back from Liberia and unknowingly brought back the virus. Air travel is the greatest concern for viruses of any sort because with a 20 hour flight anyone can go around the world. Ebola has a 70% mortality rate. Ebola originating from Africa has again caused panic amongst other countries and people. The image of famine and disease, third world, has put another chunk of stereotypes into the world. The stories are continuiously portraying Africa as this and that, bad terms. Instead, the world should help Africa. Africa doesn’t consist of just one country there are many. The outbreak started in Liberia and Sierra Leone, this doesn’t mean that all of Africa is Ebola territory. Many people think that Africa equals to every country, but clearly it is a continent, just like North America. Media needs a new source of income by stating facts not blowing up stories to get news coverage just to get views.


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