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To dislike how Africa or black people are shown on TV

101 replies

BeenWondering · 19/06/2015 21:49

Pretty much that.

I was watching something on TV last night about an Ethiopian tribe. All very well some might say but I despise the way Africans are portrayed as some naked, bead-wearing persons without autonomy.

They never show, at least on primetime, the technological developments in East Africa, or the wealth that West Africa offers.

And when it's time to 'give money' r.e comic relief, or whatever, it's always some starving face gawking at the screen.

Why can't they ever show on primetime the go-getters, the ones striving to achieve, the innovators? At present it makes me think wtf!

OP posts:

CrystalHaze · 19/06/2015 21:51

If it was a programme about tribal life, why would they show people working in an IT suite? Confused


travertine · 19/06/2015 21:54

If it's to gain money for charity then they're hardly going to show a successful African person doing well are they!


QuestioningStuff · 19/06/2015 21:55

Yanbu. I have family in Sierra Leone and when I went with my white British friend to various places in Africa including there she couldn't believe how 'civilised' it was.


travertine · 19/06/2015 21:55

Meant as in the drought/disease ads.


manicinsomniac · 19/06/2015 21:56

Isn't the same true of any culture or society? TV programmes get made about the unusual, the extreme or the intriguing. Not the mundane everyday.

Eg - programmes about people in the UK might include the lives of the richest and poorest, the extremely religious or those with an unusual skill or hobby. It doesn't include the lives of the average suburban family going about their middle class business.


QuestioningStuff · 19/06/2015 21:56

I think the previous posters have spectacularly missed the point.


QuestioningStuff · 19/06/2015 21:56

Sorry that wasn't including manic


BeenWondering · 19/06/2015 21:58

CrystalHaze You don't get it. That was a case in point. Obviously if the show is about a tribe then it's about a tribe. But when have you ever seen on primetime a programme about go-getting, far-reaching Africans?
Same for you travertine Charity is one thing but there is no need to bring a whole continent down for the purposes of 'charity.'

OP posts:

FarFromAnyRoad · 19/06/2015 21:58

Some Americans remain convinced that the British eat squirrels. It was ever thus. Do we get many programmes about the Italians, say, going about their mundane middle class business? I must have been out that day.


Socalled · 19/06/2015 21:59

You're right about a lot of media depictions of Africa, obviously, OP. Just pointing out that 'Africa' and 'black people' are not synonyms.


travertine · 19/06/2015 22:00

Can you point it out for me then please. (Seriously)


QuestioningStuff · 19/06/2015 22:02

But there is no stigma like this surrounding Italians FarFrom. With so many people in the UK having African heritage (including me) I think it would be nice to challenge those prejudices.

I've had some ridiculous things said to me when people learn I'm African. Not because they want to be hurtful (most of the time anyway) but because they genuinely believe that we all live in mud huts/have bones through our noses/have had malaria.

Poverty is a huge problem in Africa and of course it shouldn't be ignored. Tribes are a beautiful and fascinating part of the culture which of course people will be interested in. But in terms of ignorance about Africa we haven't come very far at all.


KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes · 19/06/2015 22:03

I've seen 4 black people on TV today.

One was a gangster who was shot in the head. One was a radio DJ. One was very kindly doctor. Final one was a female groupie.


HoldYerWhist · 19/06/2015 22:03

I think the problem is that the stereotypes make good TV.

Look at that trash Benefit Street or, heaven help us, Jezza Kyle.

People like to watch this stuff and feel superior, it has a weird fascination like looking at caged animals in the zoo.

Who cares if it's exploitation or irresponsible journalism. As long as you can gawk, it's TV gold.


BeenWondering · 19/06/2015 22:06

Socalled I didn't claim they were. A lot of English and European individuals consider Africa as their home town. But that is not my point. My point is about how Africa is portrayed on the world stage.

travertine What do you need pointing out to you? I'm more than happy to help?

OP posts:

travertine · 19/06/2015 22:07

I wasn't commenting on a whole continent. I was commenting on a particular advert relating to charity.


BeenWondering · 19/06/2015 22:08

KingJoff I'm afraid you'll end up agreeing with me...

Regardless of stereotypes, people often have to find a living somehow..

OP posts:

QuestioningStuff · 19/06/2015 22:08

travertine I'm pretty sure the point OP was making was that that's ALL that is shown of Africa in the media full stop.


MayPolist · 19/06/2015 22:09

And when it's time to 'give money' r.e comic relief, or whatever, it's always some starving face gawking at the screen.

Why can't they ever show on primetime the go-getters, the ones striving to achieve, the innovators?

Do you know how offence that sounds? Like the people who are starving aren't striviung enough!! And why would they not show images of the peop[le the fundraising is directed at?
You sound bonkers as conkers, OP!


FarFromAnyRoad · 19/06/2015 22:09

I lived in Africa for 20 odd years. I know exactly the kind of stupid stuff people would say to me when I came back here on visits. Stupid stupid stuff - from people who would not normally be even close to stupid. I came to think that maybe I shouldn't expect informed opinions about a place from people who had never been to that place. I'm not sure if we are all guilty to an extent - but I'd prefer to keep quiet and leave people unsure as to the depth of my stupidity rather than spout off and confirm it!


BeenWondering · 19/06/2015 22:10

travertine you are truly saying you've never seen an advert asking you to donate to the poverty or disease ridden Africans? If not then I take back my post.

OP posts:

CrystalHaze · 19/06/2015 22:12

But when have you ever seen on primetime a programme about go-getting, far-reaching Africans?

I've not seen a primetime programme about go-getting, far-reaching Indians, South Americans, Filipinos, etc., either. You could present the same argument about the rash of poverty-porn programmes about the UK in recent years. The media is never going to be unbiased or un-agendered, but it's not specific to the portrayal of Africa.

Nor do I agree that the semiotics of charity appeals 'bring a whole continent down' ~ they're usually fairly specific about where the issues are (e.g. in Comic relief appeals they always say which country/village they're in, an what the specific issues of concern there are). I've not seen one which pretends that it is representing the situation of all African nations or all African people.


QuestioningStuff · 19/06/2015 22:13

I suppose the biggest problem I have with this is the fact that Africa has been exploited and abused on such a huge scale by the UK in the past that it's hard not to take it personally when we are still basically being portrayed as savages.


travertine · 19/06/2015 22:18

Oh good god! I was saying that that was all I have seen! And that if that is what they want help for then nobody is going to show healthy successful people. Where did I ever say I had never seen an advert for poverty ridden and diseased Africans? Thought I was being positive when I saw this thread but apparently not. Have a nice evening everyone.


TTWK · 19/06/2015 22:53

But there is no stigma like this surrounding Italians

Yes there is. They are only portrayed as Mafia gangsters.

I'm really enjoying Tribe. The opening sequence where he comes out of his hut in the morning, stretches and yawns, you hear the cockerel crow and it turns out to be the ringtone on his mobile!

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