Blog Post 2; African Cultural Diversity

A very unsettling factor of the United States of America, is how we portray other countries, specifically Africa. Now, I know what is is like to be stereotyped against since I have lived in Iowa my whole life and people tend to believe we drive tractors to school, but the way we describe and portray Africa is a very different situation. Like the professors stated within the discussion panel, Africa: A Diverse Continent, as a nation we work with other countries on a business level, but with Africa we deal with them on a charity level. This is so unsettling because it is true, why don’t we work with Africa on a business level, why do we portray Africa as this underdeveloped and poor country who needs our help? Africa is a well flourished country just like any other country, and as a society, we have been shown the extremes of Africa where some individuals are malnourished and homeless, but this is not just in Africa, this is everywhere. I think it is a great concept for those of us who want to help out the poorer portions of Africa with health care and even clothing, but on the business side of things, we need not think of Africa as a charity.


Above I provide pictures of a few cities in Africa that are well developed, the top picture is a picture of Nairobi, Kenya, the second picture is Cape Town, South Africa, and the last picture shown is Accra, Ghana. As you can see, Africa is not this under developed country that people believe it to be. When I was younger, Africa was always portrayed as this picture below:


A malnourished country who needed our help in order to survive, but why were we given this false information about the conditions the Africans lived in? Every country has parts of it where people choose to live a different lifestyle, or happen to be homeless. I think the initial pictures portray Africa as it really is; a flourishing and business oriented country. While i was reading through The African Background by Adeleke Tunde, I was able to acquire some knowledge on how the Africans performed business between different cities. Once Africans discovered camels, it was much easier to conduct business since it was now possible to travel to the Sahara desert. The Sahara soon became a place for communication, and the traders began packing goods and traveling around to different cities for exchanges. Essentially, goods from the northern portion of Africa were exchanged for goods that came from the southern portion of Africa since they could not acquire those goods from back home.

One thing i did found interesting while reading through The African Background by Adeleke Tunde was how he explained the traditional African society. It was interesting to learn that if someone wanted to have a spouse, or even obtain a career, it was deliberated upon by the group. So essentially the group decided if you got to do something or not.  Something else that I thought was interesting was the amount of different ethnic groups within Africa. I figured Africa was a diverse continent, but Tunde provided a lot more ethnic groups then I could have imagined. Some of the ethnic groups are Bambara, Angola, Fulani, Asante, Hausa, and many others as well, a lot of people do not know how diverse Africa is, and this is another reason why this needs to be a required course for every college student.

The readings and the panel discussion really opened my eyes to a lot of different things that i did not know. It was sad reading that Africans dealt with cultural assassination; denial of african culture and civilization. People need to be exposed to this kind of information, I never knew that Africa was such a diverse continent or that in traditional African society, groups had primacy over an individual. This weeks information was a lot to take in, but it is very important. Africa is trying to change peoples views on their country, because it is not a dirty and homeless country. It is a well developed, business oriented country with parts of it containing malnourished and homeless people, which every country contains.


Blog 1; Introduction to African American Studies


In our society, there is a big debate on whether African American studies should be considered sociological and historical, or if it should be considered a major subject to research. Many colleges make their students take general education classes, and I feel as if every college student should be required to learn about African American history and culture. It is a very important subject, and I hope this first blog can bring you some insight on how big of a study African American studies really is.

“Over thirty million citizens of the United States of America are descendants of the continent of Africa”, as stated by Talmadge Anderson. This is an outstanding number of descendants from Africa, and is also a number higher than what I would have imagined. Throughout their history and the hardships, it is amazing to see so many African Americans striving to make the United States of America a better and more diverse place, and also striving to make themselves become the best they can be. With the United States being so diverse, why are we not all required to broaden our learning to other cultures and traditions other than our own?

Besides the American tradition, the second most learned culture and history should be about the African Americans, their history has so much important content that a lot of people will never be able to learn about. Fortunately, I and a lot of other college students are able to learn about how the African Americans struggled but were still able to fight through all of their hardships and how they were able to see the best in everything. With all of this being said, I think that African American studies should be its own major of study within all colleges. Because, although racism within the United States has become a somewhat better situation, it does still exist and I think this is why people need to learn about them a little bit more. If colleges made African American studies a major field of study, it could really help a lot of peoples views.


The top picture is a picture of Booker T. Washington in front of a crowd of people. Washington was one of many of influential African Americans within the 1850’s-1900’s. Washington was known as the leader for the Negro people, and during the time, many white people agreed with his views and actions. Besides his public speaking and influences, later in Washington’s life he became the builder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He therefore was able to help many African Americans receive a good education, when many of them never even thought about attending school because they were not allowed to. Although  some African Americans may not have completely agreed with many of his views, he was still able to improve their lives by giving them an education.

The second picture above is a picture of W.E.B Dubois. Dubois was an intelligent African American who received his schooling from Harvard University. He was a big time author who wrote a lot of books on the culture and history of African Americans, but he was also a social activist who helped influence peoples views. Dubois was one of the founders of the NAACP, which is dedicated to not only blacks but also whites. During his life, he was also able to perform studies on African American studies, although it was not successful in his lifetime, he was able to introduce this idea in which is now becoming very important in our schooling curriculum. All in all Dubois main objective was to improve African American life within the United States socially and politically.

The point in describing these two important and influential people is to show you how two people helped change the world. These are only two out of many African Americans who took a stand against the way Blacks were being treated, and who wanted to see the world become a better place for everyone. This is why African American studies needs to become a major field of study and required in general education, there is simply too much information to be learned about, and I think this could help a lot of peoples views about African Americans. This is a different type of study compared to a lot of other studies because of all the history that occurred in the nation that we live in today. If only people knew how horrible things were for the African Americans, I think racism could become nonexistent.

I hope this shows some clarity on why I think African American studies is such a big deal. There are a lot of opinionated and uneducated people in the world who do not know a thing about how African Americans were treated back in the day. I never knew that African American women were raped and that the slavemasters would sell their children as property. Some of the things I read were unimaginable, and I cannot believe that people could treat others in the way that they did. This is a huge part in everyones history, and needs to be taught in colleges and needs to be made a priority in every college students curriculum.

Welcome to My Blog!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

        My name is Heather McKinnon, and I will be using this blog to inform you on the subject of African American Studies. This subject is very important, and I think every college student should be required to learn about African American history, and what they had to go through in order to get to where they are today. I hope my blog brings informative information to you, and also allow you to see life in a different perspective.

Happy Reading!