The Stereotypes of Africa

A society is defined by the people that come together to live as a unit. Many a times the differences in culture and other aspects of humanity posit the natural distinction in development and civilization.

smiling young attractive African woman

Thus, the condition undermines the expressions of the victims of the circumstances. This way, writing has been a common platform to allow the voice of the victims heard in the contemporary society. Several scholars use literature to inform, educate and express their major concerns in the plight of the victims. Chinua Achebe in his article “Things fall apart” transcends the norms of the society to express his concerns on the Western culture that oppress the rights of the communities in Africa. In the article, he uses social stereotypic misconception and western cultures to justify the need for equality and social justice in the world. I think Achebe’s article is a masterpiece in blueprint. It typically echoes the voices of the true African heroes in the world places. The history of social judgment and cultural discrimination is a dominant cult that Americans use to exploit the African resources.

Using the image of the African culture in the Nigerian context, Achebe successfully introduces the theme of culture and civilization. He uses the landmark differences to discredit the western domination of the civilization concepts of the societies. This art is set in the Nigerian context with an exemplary focus on the Igbo. The whites use their prowess in civilization to undermine the aspects of the African cultures and reasoning perspectives in the societies. Thus, the Igbo community faced a destruction regime and a threat to the social development aspect of community aspects. A common element of external culture threatens the development of the local community and the general stereotype in the context that places the Africans as uncivilized and backward in the social prowess. “How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart”
Human civilization does not owe judgment on race, language or religious knowledge. However, the western missionary their religious culture as a concept to boast about and the most acceptable mode of super-existence in the world. This way, the traditionalist used in the novel, Okonkwo and Obierika, are used as the central characters to explain the core values in the cultures of a society in religion. Interestingly, the introduction of the land dispute paves way for the conceptual declaration on the rift between the Americans and the blacks. Their thinking that a local court cannot handle a tribunal land case shows the level of underestimation that the whites had over the black race in the world society. In my opinion, such reasoning sounds destructive and not human. Thus, Achebe’s exemplary use of the famous religious quotes of a common god and the universal nature of the human existence is a timely adventure in the history of social justice and equity. Again, civilization portrays a personal perception in the level of development that should only be measured based on own goals and subjective achievements and not on religious understanding.

Typically, several western writers to portray the African as very uncivilized in the world have used Social Darwinism and the American perspectives in writing about culture. This is what offends Chinua in his conscience and freedom of expression. Consequently, he uses religion to explore the intrusion of the foreigners in the land. Religion is a good social element for the people. However, religion has a double impact in the society. According to Achebe, it is both constructive and destructive at the same time. Historically, it lays the background of the American reasoning. From their quest to conquer and colonize the African society to their regime in missionary activities in the continent, the western society perceived the African structure as a pool of uncivilized individuals who did not fit in the global standards.

Achebe shows the intention in countering the imperialists’ stereotype by clearly illustrating the significance and relevance of the African culture in Igbo community. The extent to which the author has detailed the relevance and sobriety of the African culture in this community portrays the passion and usefulness of social dignity in its contexts. The reader can understand that the original culture bears the backbone of the society and therefore the visualization and the practicality of such a culture over rules the western strategies to brainwash and undermine the local cultures.
Openly, Achebe demonstrates the tribute of self-awareness to the existence of the variety of mini-languages in the African cultures using the Igbo community. There is a lot of cultural wealth in this society. The people live together and adored each other prior to any religious seclusion as introduced by the Western missionaries. Actually all races are equal and thus considered manly based on the religious aspects of any religion.

Moreover, the aftermath of the colonial and British impact saw the democratic structure of the country destroyed. Evidently, Nigeria had a peaceful society in the wake of pre-conquest and colonization by the west. Nevertheless, the missionary impact introduced the struggle and scramble for power and political influence in the region. Such a consequence would only exist in destabilized society. However, the reign of the African cult portrayed a sequential order in leadership structure in line with the traditional religious matters.

The self-centered images painted on Africa, as a black continent is another vice that is evident on the racial prejudice and hatred and the whites. A common belief that many writers hold on the African value as a continent of poor, illiterate and dependent people is a stereotype the not only stains the image of the African development, but also portrays the egocentric nature of the American people. Interestingly, no nation would be amused at the rise and the independence of the African countries because majority of the American leaders perceives the countries as fully dependent on them. This way, Achebe’s literature is a demonstration of the potentiality endowed in the continent that surpasses the usual perception of many western cults.

Many writers in the western culture as eluded by Achebe have misused family values. The role of gender aspect, for instance, is a common concern that raises an alarm among many writers. While the local communities in Igbo society value the masculine and feminine roles in the society, the western perceived that as neglect in the gender rights. Thus, a conflict in human dignity and social values arise. Umuofia and Okonkwo exemplify this in the story. Perhaps, a common perception that all Africans are primitive, backwards and not human dominates the minds of the missionary. Such facts undermine the dignity of the common man in any region of the earth. Family values are the pillars of the society. The society has to build on the family values. It shows the initiation of the religious aspects of existence.

Ideally, in using the contextual settings of the Nigerian cultural, a typical illustration of the real African confident is boosted among the readers. Besides, there are various confrontations between the two social norms. The struggle for power may conceive the dominance of the western missionary. However, the conception receives a hostile declaration in the host culture that demands a close look in the view of the foreigners least they lose their faith and cultural fundamentals.

In addition, the response of Chinua Achebe justifies the call for global understanding and the rise in anti-slavery and racial prejudice. While the Africans truly embrace their own culture, the Americans and other whites want their foreign cults and beliefs to dominate the world countries. They not only want to rule the world economy, but also want to dominate with the Eurocentric views in the world at large.

Concisely, many other unwritten plights the African continent went through in the verge of the foreigners’ invasion into the land. Many aspects of cultural erosion and complexity tackled in the novel are real issues in the contemporary society even in the current situation. A good scholar should therefore derive the information as a source of historical background in any cultural study. Achebe’s concepts portray the real aspects of the societies we live in.

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