Cultural Stereotypes In Africa

2032 Words9 Pages
As a young Black male attending an HBCU, it could easily be believed that my attitudes towards Africa and African people are much more positive than that of the average person. Even I like to think that’s true, as I consider myself to give people the benefit of the doubt if I haven’t met them, unless their actions lead me to believe otherwise. After listening to a few lectures of our class, it’s surely occurred to me just how different my view is of what is modern Africa to what actually happens in the continent. Even as a child, movies, music, family and friends, and many other cultural experiences have shaped my opinion on Africa to what it was today. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been to Africa. Everything I know about the…show more content…
Believe it or not, the stereotypes that we have are actually a (relatively) recent invention. In fact, until the 1400s, European’s view of their African counterparts was largely benign. African people played varying roles in the development of European history up until the 1400s, and Europeans treated them rather neutrally in return. Following this time period, many European countries continued to grow in wealth and power. The Portuguese, British, Dutch, Spanish, and French all expressed a desire to gain more wealth, and to an extent, colonize the world and shape it in their image. It’s well known that Africa was one of their first targets, rich in human labor and natural resources. What’s more important though, is the justification they used to target other people of the world. The belief that their culture was superior was present even before they began colonization. They only felt that all other cultures were inferior. However, their view of African citizens became increasingly negative as their exploitation of the continent continued. They were depicted as savages, dark-skinned people that did have the means to raise themselves to a higher standing, and that lighter-skinned Europeans must take up the burden of raising them up themselves. This was evident in their efforts to make free societies for recently freed black slaves (and to get them out of Europe). Noticeably, there was a marked shift in European’s perceptions of Africans around the 18th century. The advent of the Enlightenment, as well as several other advancements in technology in trade, resulted in large amounts of wealth and power earned by the largest European countries. With their increases in social standing among other nations, the main European countries began to look down on other continents, most notably Asia and Africa. With the
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