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"THE African Culture"

iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
Today in one of my biology classes, the professor said "what do you know about the African culture?"

:shock:

I couldn't believe someone so educated could be so uneducated in this way. There is no ONE African culture. The class then went on to discuss rainforest destruction in central Africa and how people there eat monkeys without cooking them properly. The professor said "you can educate people but they have to want to be educated."

It all had this tone of "those stupid Africans, destroying their environment and getting AIDS because they don't know they shouldn't eat monkeys, and if they do they should cook them and they don't even want to learn how to be better like we are."

Oh and according to one person in my class, all the Muslims in Indonesia hate people who aren't Muslim, to which my professor nodded.

It really bothered me. Just wanted to vent.
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Comments

  • M2LRM2LR Posts: 8,630Registered Users
    7 pager!!!
    :rambo:
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    :shock: :shock: :shock:

    Are you going to complain to the Administration about this instructor?
  • amerasiancurlsamerasiancurls Posts: 168Registered Users
    iris427 wrote:
    Today in one of my biology classes, the professor said "what do you know about the African culture?"

    :shock:

    I couldn't believe someone so educated could be so uneducated in this way. There is no ONE African culture. The class then went on to discuss rainforest destruction in central Africa and how people there eat monkeys without cooking them properly. The professor said "you can educate people but they have to want to be educated."

    It all had this tone of "those stupid Africans, destroying their environment and getting AIDS because they don't know they shouldn't eat monkeys, and if they do they should cook them and they don't even want to learn how to be better like we are."

    Oh and according to one person in my class, all the Muslims in Indonesia hate people who aren't Muslim, to which my professor nodded.

    It really bothered me. Just wanted to vent.

    :shock: Wow, I'm sorry you were a witness to this type of ignorant behavior.
  • FreeCurlsFreeCurls Posts: 4,408Registered Users
    did you or anyone confront this attitude in the class? You couldn't have been the only person to feel that way.
    [FONT=&quot]Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce & FreeCurls[/FONT]


  • Gemini13Gemini13 Posts: 5,000Registered Users
    Without even stating the obious- I'm curious how this was relevant to your biology class? And why your bio professor would consider himself an expert in such matters? What is his purpose in spreading all this misinformation?
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  • amerasiancurlsamerasiancurls Posts: 168Registered Users
    oops
  • sassette726sassette726 Posts: 694Registered Users
    That reminds me of the Professor I got for Irish Lit who started the first day of class by explaining how all of the stereotypes about the irish being nothing but drunken depressed degenerates were obviously true, because "Angela's Ashes" said so.

    She was a native Italian. So I raised my hand and said, "Would it then be fair to assume that all Italians are pasta-eating, wine-drunk gangsters because mafia movies say so?"

    I flunked that class. With pride.
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  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    FreeCurls wrote:
    did you or anyone confront this attitude in the class? You couldn't have been the only person to feel that way.

    FC, I really wish I would have said something! It's a new class and I still feel a little shy about speaking up, but I should have said something.

    I felt like, if I speak up and respectfully say this is all wrong, will people be annoyed at me for derailing the conversation? (we were supposed to be talking about central African rainforest--although I guess the instructor derailed it herself with the whole eating monkeys thing :roll: ). I mean, everything that was said about African peoples was so ignorant, I didn't even know where to start, so I didn't say anything. :oops:

    I really need to get over being shy with people when I first meet them, because then I just stew about things like this. It's something I'm trying to work on.
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  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    Gemini13 wrote:
    Without even stating the obious- I'm curious how this was relevant to your biology class? And why your bio professor would consider himself an expert in such matters? What is his purpose in spreading all this misinformation?

    The class is on tropical rainforests. Of course, no class on rainforests is complete without mentioning the destruction of rainforests, so that is how the topic of "the African culture" came up.

    I have noticed a real tendency to look at the "third world" with disdain among some biologists. There is a subtle but real attitude like I mentioned above of all those ignorant people ravaging their beautiful environment and having too many babies. People say "rapid population growth" like it's disgusting. Never mind that we already ravaged our environment here and already went through the rapid growth stage of the population curve here. Obviously we are better than them. :roll:
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  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users
    That's terrible! I work for a Latin American center that does a lot of work on the South American rainforests. But everyone that works here is very respectful of the indigenous people. In fact, we have a program that educates people about rainforest conservation, while also helping preserve the indigenous cultures and languages. I cannot believe that someone who studies a certain area would be so ignorant of the people who live there (and who lived there long before anyone thought to study their land).
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    Bailey422 wrote:
    That's terrible! I work for a Latin American center that does a lot of work on the South American rainforests. But everyone that works here is very respectful of the indigenous people. In fact, we have a program that educates people about rainforest conservation, while also helping preserve the indigenous cultures and languages. I cannot believe that someone who studies a certain area would be so ignorant of the people who live there (and who lived there long before anyone thought to study their land).

    Your job sounds awesome! Mind if I PM you about it? :) That's the kind of thing I would like to do once I get more education under my belt--helping indigenous cultures and their environments.

    Africa is not my professor's area of expertise (she did her Ph.D. work in Puerto Rico). But it still doesn't excuse such ignorance.
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  • Gemini13Gemini13 Posts: 5,000Registered Users
    iris427 wrote:
    I have noticed a real tendency to look at the "third world" with disdain among some biologists. There is a subtle but real attitude like I mentioned above of all those ignorant people ravaging their beautiful environment and having too many babies. People say "rapid population growth" like it's disgusting. Never mind that we already ravaged our environment here and already went through the rapid growth stage of the population curve here. Obviously we are better than them. :roll:

    Interesting...
    iris427 wrote:
    Africa is not my professor's area of expertise (she did her Ph.D. work in Puerto Rico). But it still doesn't excuse such ignorance.

    In that case she shouldn't be discussing it as though she is an expert! :evil: Students who don't know any better are likely to take all of that "information" at face value rather than question an authority figure. She's teaching them lies!
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  • DiscgirlDiscgirl Posts: 746Registered Users
    WTH are you going to school? (Please don't say Wash. U.)
  • scrillsscrills Posts: 6,700Registered Users
    Next time, simply raise your hand and say:

    I'm so confused. I thought Africa was a continent with dozens of countries. What do you mean by African Culture?
  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    Discgirl wrote:
    WTH are you going to school? (Please don't say Wash. U.)

    No. My Bachelor's is from Wash. U. in anthropology actually and I never ever had a professor there say something stupid like this. In fact, all through class I was thinking, Dr. _______, you really need to take some anthropology classes like I did!

    I'm taking classes at the community college here right now.

    Scrills, I totally know I should have said that, and more! I'm just kicking myself. I might go to her office hours and say "you know, I was thinking, I don't agree with what we talked about in class."
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  • afrosheenqueenafrosheenqueen Posts: 5,400Registered Users
    Speaking of ingorant teachers:

    A parent told me today her son's science teachers explained to them that there were 2 huge boulders holding up America underground. If North Korea continues to do nuclear testing underground it could shake our "boulders" and then America could collaspe in on itself.

    WTF? :?:

    Key word being....What?
    
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  • KCLKCL Posts: 1,663Registered Users
    I would think indigenous groups are among the least responsible for deforestation.
    If there were more people on earth who desired their own happiness more than the unhappiness of others we would have a paradise ~ Bertrand Russell
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users
    I would think indigenous groups are among the least responsible for deforestation.
    No, but apparently they eat all the monkeys. :roll:
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • wild_sasparillawild_sasparilla Posts: 4,306Registered Users
    Bailey422 wrote:
    I would think indigenous groups are among the least responsible for deforestation.
    No, but apparently they eat all the monkeys. :roll:

    Dang monkey hogs - now the superior Americans can't fry them on a stick. :x

    That professor doesn't deserve to be a professor if she's spreading all of this crap about a place that she not only isn't an expert on, but apparently doesn't know the first thing about. Why would she think this was okay? HUGE generalizations, rampant fallacy and disregard for the countries in a continent...ugh, I can see why you didn't speak up (honestly, I can say I want to but I don't know if I wouldn't be too scared at the time), but I know that now I would definitely go talk to her after hours about correcting the info in the next class. If she refused to use class time to retract her statements, I would take it up with a higher office.
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  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    I also found it interesting the things people mentioned about Africa in response:
    war, poverty, female circumcision, AIDS, that sort of thing

    My first thoughts about Africa are its rich, diverse cultures and its beautiful wildlife.
    3027585431_55b6195e50_s.jpg3028374752_0df4d81a1b_s.jpg3028422696_8dcef38baa_s.jpg
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  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users
    in their defense, the media really only portrays africa as war torn, poor and diseased.

    student ignorance is excused. the professor should be reported. at the end of the semester don't you have an opportunity to rate the professor anonymously? you can write just what you think about him without him ever knowing it was you. at rutgers university they always handed out a form that asked detailed questions for you to fill in the dot and then there was space for you to also make comments. keep record and use that as a vehicle to express your views.
  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users
    i got this from a poster from another website. it shows images of africa that are shamefully rarely depicted here in the united states:
    click here, be patient it takes some time for all the pictures to show up
  • love yourself firstlove yourself first Posts: 5,398Registered Users
    iris427 wrote:
    I also found it interesting the things people mentioned about Africa in response:
    war, poverty, female circumcision, AIDS, that sort of thing

    My first thoughts about Africa are its rich, diverse cultures and its beautiful wildlife.

    As Frau said, that's what the media spoon feeds to the American public. Africans are starving, Africans commit acts of genocide against each other, African are corrupt, Africans are disease ridden, Africans cannot manage money or national debt, African are sexually violent, Africans are poor and hopeless. And the list goes on and on. Pretty much no or extremely sparse coverage of anything postive or beneficial or smart occuring in the entire continent.

    As for the wildlife, yes, there are some who fancy Africa for an "exotic" safaric vacation. But I don't really see that extending to an appreciation of the continent or any country contained therein (except for many exoticized North Africa and possibly South Africa and the Cape). In fact, the whole Africa = Safari seems to further objectify the continent as being primitive and filled mainly with animal life and lesser developed cultures.

    Obviously, I find all of this dispiriting, sick and disheartening. I think the situation may change over time as people begin to demand more equal news reporting and speak up against the propoganda and ignorance. I think we all must bear this burden, no matter our color or background. If you spot, hear or see ignorance of this type, I think it's terrific to speak out against it. Otherwise, it just continues.
    "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."
    "I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
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  • love yourself firstlove yourself first Posts: 5,398Registered Users
    I also see an unfortunate connection between the media's depiction of Africans and african-americans. The same emphasis on the most downtrodden and worst aspects of these cultures and communities without nearly as much balanced coverage of positive, beneficial and smart conduct, choices and action. I'm not sure which came first in this chicken and egg scenario - african americans are at a disadvantage because of the African geneology and heritage, or Africans cannot get their act together just like their african american cohorts (or brothers and sisters). It troubles me a great deal to see other countries and cultures given respect and more balanced news coverage, which amounts to humanizing and valuing those groups, but then Africans and african americans are relegated to a social, economic and political trash heap. It makes me very angry and pissed.
    "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."
    "I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
    - Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

    (taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
  • love yourself firstlove yourself first Posts: 5,398Registered Users
    M2LR & Co. wrote:
    7 pager!!!

    Maybe 700 or 7,000 or 7,000,000 pages if that is what it takes. I'm not sure the right number. Are you?
    "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."
    "I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
    - Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

    (taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
  • KCLKCL Posts: 1,663Registered Users
    Thanks for the pics Frau. Some beautiful people and beautiful cities. It's a shame the information Americans receive about the rest of the world is filtered through the biased media machinery.

    Something you don't see every day:

    PB040059.jpg
    If there were more people on earth who desired their own happiness more than the unhappiness of others we would have a paradise ~ Bertrand Russell
  • love yourself firstlove yourself first Posts: 5,398Registered Users
    frau wrote:
    i got this from a poster from another website. it shows images of africa that are shamefully rarely depicted here in the united states:
    click here, be patient it takes some time for all the pictures to show up

    Does take a long time to warm up, thanks for the warning.

    These images are outstanding. They reveal many modern structures and buildings and a wide range of people and images. I don't see famine victims and rock farmers. I see more of what you probably do see in the continent without the obviously slanted, obviously racist US media "spin." Sadly, I think that in time, when all of the other areas are used up and fully pimped out (think of commercial development and tourism throughout Asia and parts of Latin America), Africa will be next as an object of foreign land speculation, tourism and other forms of commercial behavior. I suppose that is good because in the world now, to have commercial worth is to have value.

    I'm also intrigued by China's recent overtures to various African countries. Yes, I'm sure there are lots of selfish, land and resource grabbing type incentives. But I've also read where the Chinese think that the US scoffs, ignores and poorly treats African countries, leaving a gap for the Chinese to step in and develop key, strategic relationships. Do I think this is good? Perhaps, yes, although the dynamics inevitably will be more about US v. China and who is bigger and better v. giving a damn about African countries and nations.

    Anyway, rant ending.

    Thanks, Frau, for the incredible link. I'll be sharing it around.
    "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."
    "I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then we live with that decision."
    - Eleanor Roosevelt (both quotes)

    (taking a break from posting starting late august 2009)
  • curlyarcacurlyarca Posts: 8,449Registered Users
    iris427 wrote:
    Gemini13 wrote:
    Without even stating the obious- I'm curious how this was relevant to your biology class? And why your bio professor would consider himself an expert in such matters? What is his purpose in spreading all this misinformation?

    The class is on tropical rainforests. Of course, no class on rainforests is complete without mentioning the destruction of rainforests, so that is how the topic of "the African culture" came up.

    I have noticed a real tendency to look at the "third world" with disdain among some biologists. There is a subtle but real attitude like I mentioned above of all those ignorant people ravaging their beautiful environment and having too many babies. People say "rapid population growth" like it's disgusting. Never mind that we already ravaged our environment here and already went through the rapid growth stage of the population curve here. Obviously we are better than them. :roll:

    that's because we're patriots, and we do it with amurican klass.

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  • curlyarcacurlyarca Posts: 8,449Registered Users
    frau wrote:
    in their defense, the media really only portrays africa as war torn, poor and diseased.

    exactly what i was thinking.

    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

    4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
  • curlyarcacurlyarca Posts: 8,449Registered Users
    I also see an unfortunate connection between the media's depiction of Africans and african-americans. The same emphasis on the most downtrodden and worst aspects of these cultures and communities without nearly as much balanced coverage of positive, beneficial and smart conduct, choices and action. I'm not sure which came first in this chicken and egg scenario - african americans are at a disadvantage because of the African geneology and heritage, or Africans cannot get their act together just like their african american cohorts (or brothers and sisters). It troubles me a great deal to see other countries and cultures given respect and more balanced news coverage, which amounts to humanizing and valuing those groups, but then Africans and african americans are relegated to a social, economic and political trash heap. It makes me very angry and pissed.

    exactly what i was thinking also. and i think the africa-bashing came first.

    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

    4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
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