Mama's Back George Packer Analysis

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The average American is in constant need of space for more clothing in their closet. Every year, we get rid of clothing we don’t want and give it to various second hand stores that accept donations, seemingly solving both the problem of lack of closet space as well as our first-world obligation to help the less fortunate. However, this act of philanthropy may not be that beneficial after all. George Packer, in his essay entitled “How Susie Bayer's T-Shirt Ended Up on Yusuf Mama's Back,” featured in the New York Times Magazine, follows a donated T-shirt all the way to Uganda, revealing what really happens to our hand-me-downs. Used clothing industries present an apparatus of helping the needy but in reality dissolve the deep-rooted cultures…show more content…
People see things on TV or in magazines and decide to change their lives because of it. Those who live in third world countries such as Uganda understand other cultures from media sources, especially Western culture which is the most heavily publicized. Packer’s essay reports, “Whose braids and clothes look straight out of Brooklyn… I hate Africans. She’ll only marry a mzungu, she says, because she knows from the movies like “Titanic” and “Why do Fools Fall in Love” that white men are always faithful, unlike Africans.” (Packer 49). Susan, an African native whom this quote is referring to, has decided that she doesn’t want to marry an African based off the fact that American movies have showed her that white men are always faithful unlike their black counterparts. Not only has the media influenced her romantic opinion, but her outfit choices as well. Susan has never been to Brooklyn in her life, but because of the media, she is able to see how Americans look and dress, and has decided to look like them despite the norms of her culture. African culture continues to be affected by Westernization through the media more and more as American movies and TV shows become more popular in Africa. In Packer’s article, he acknowledges, “Yusuf Mama wanted Susie Bayer’s T-shirt, they say, because a mzungu had touched it.”(Packer 58). The media is changing the self-image of Africans by giving the impression that Americans, and more specifically white people, are superior. Therefore, African people have begun to abandon their culture because believe that they need to change their image to be

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