Mistaking Africa Summary

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Curtis Keim is a professor of African history, politics and culture at Moravian College in Bethleham, Pennsylvania. He has lived and traveled to Africa many times over the last thirty years. Mistaking Africa: Curiosities and inventions of the American Mind takes readers inside the history behind the inaccurate and stereotypical words and ideas about Africa. The author also offers alternative ways to get around these stereotypes and see the real Africa. The book focuses on white American myths because Keim feels they are the most dominant, negative, and in need of change. Keim’s argument is that through the media, magazines, newspapers, and children’s books, stereotypes and inventions about Africa are seared into the minds of Americans.…show more content…
Gregory Mendel’s genetic work with variation in pea plants seemed to give out a connotation, to some people, that some humans were evolved more than others. According to those sitting on top of the hierarchy, the greater the physical and cultural difference from Europeans, the less developed that other race was. With this in mind, Europeans began to invade Africa (1880s-1890s), this time using violence in order to stake their claim on Africa’s raw materials, and establish missionaries. Europeans became less concerned with converting Africans to make them civilized; instead they used this to their advantage. They made the claims that because they were uncivilized, this was a perfect justification for conquest. Europeans were looking for excuses to make Africa look like it needed European help; this made all African customs seem savage and not normal in the eyes of the Europeans. All of this encompassed the myth of the Dark…show more content…
I do understand his point that is gives people a false picture of Africa, but he may be blowing that out of proportion. An amusement park is supposed to be fun, hence the name amusement. Large animal attractions, ride down the river through the African jungle, etc, it is what brings people in. My point is that an amusement park could not feature a ride/attraction themed on the violence occurring in many African countries. These parks focus on suitable for children as well. Who wants to go on a ride called, The Machete: Watch Your Head, or on a river cruise where you see victims of genocide, starving people, etc. I think I make my point. I see what Keim is trying to say, but the parks are oriented to children as well, and they are meant to be fun and enjoyable. Perhaps if they had an exhibit on real African art, that might please Keim a

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