What is a stereotype? In terms of social psychology, a stereotype is regarded as an individual who has a unidirectional line of thought or approach towards any specified task or activity. Although such thoughts and beliefs are more often than not far from the truth, stereotypes is a common occurrence in everyday society.
Stereotypes about Africans and where it all started:
With Africa always being held in bad light in the Western media, very few of its positive aspects are ever allowed to come to the forefront. What is mostly observed by the Westerners is black women who speak an odd tongue and do not cover their upper bodies. Talks of black stereotypes, men and women alike have always plagued our community.
Perceived stereotypes that give a sense of mistaken identity to Africans:
Although a large number of stereotypes exist about the Africans, most people would be surprised to learn that they are nothing but derogatory remarks far from the truth. Here we take a look at 10 stereotypes of Africans that aren’t always true.
• African men don’t like to work
While statistics show that in the Western countries, African men suffer from the highest unemployment rates, it has been confirmed by psychologists that this, in no way, has any connection to their choice or preference. Generally speaking, African men are hardwired beings, keen to provide for their families and would hence pursue all possible means for achieving that goal. “Not wanting to work” proves to be a negative stereotype labelled on African men and certainly does not hold true as far as majority of unemployment issues are concerned.
• African men are increasingly attracted to white women
The solution to this debate depends entirely on the ideals of the individual being questioned. Interracial marriages are on the rise in the Western world and the fact that it is becoming more common and acceptable in society probably forms the basis of such a perception. At the end of the day, it will be personal compatibility and not race that keeps a man and woman together.
• African men are inattentive towards their children
It is said that a good African man will always father his children wonderfully well irrespective of the circumstances. The real trick lies in avoiding those who look for the easy way out under difficult circumstances, a group that numbers aplenty and exists in all colors, sizes and shapes.
• Bush girl/woman
This refers to the women who live in the very hot, dry and often isolated regions of the African continent. These women wear no tops but only bottoms and are open to sharing a husband with other women belonging to the same village or clan. English is a language generally unknown to most of them. Modifications on the body such as large disk implants on lower lips and neck rings are among their unique features.
• The City girl
Spoiled and well-off, the City girl is a whiny young African in the age group of 17-24. Her parents are generally well-educated with a university education while the father is invariably a university professor. Her parents are eager to meet all her demands including hiring people to kill her rivals, more often than not other City girls, so that she can have unopposed marriage with her true love. She herself receives a University education but unlike her parents does so from abroad. Although she may be attractive, she lacks that ability to manage and run the household, having been surrounded by maids from a young age.
• The First Wife
There is no double meaning to this term as the first wife is married to her husband first and then has to share space with a second wife subsequently chosen by him. Overweight and older, the First Wife is always bitter about her husband’s choice of a younger woman as his wife. In order to break that relationship, she usually resorts to visiting traditional women in the bush who offer magic spells for ending the stay of the younger wife.
Submissive and slender with great looks, this is the woman that most African men drool over. She is also able to cook and possesses strong traditional family values to the extent that she is open to becoming the third addition to a man already with two wives. Pretty but from a poor background, the only reason she resorts to this lifestyle is for money. However, when the time comes for marriage, she is usually neglected in favor of virgins and has to be content with the role of second wife.
• All Africans embrace “voodoo” or Black Magic:
There exists a global misconception regarding Africa and its Black Magic traditions with people believing that everything here is run by juju or Nigerian Black Magic. It is believed that African men sacrifice children and their own souls in order to embrace sorcery and witchcraft in a bid to get rich. Far from the truth, this perception looks good only for the fantasy world of Hollywood movies.
• All Africans look alike
All Africans are thought of as similar in appearance by Whites and Asians, a feeling that is reciprocated by the Africans who feel that all Asians and Whites look similar. A common stereotype for people not belonging to a given race, this does not hold true for any community. Just as the Asians and Whites, no two African looks the same and one must spend some time with people of a particular race before drawing conclusions regarding their appearance.
• All Africans are giants with huge bodies and masculine physique
Weird and equally absurd, the African continent is home to people of all sizes, both big and small and devoid of any special feature worth looking at. Nowhere in the world is one likely to come across people of the same size and this holds true even for Africa.
As a concluding statement, these are some of the stereotypes that are held against people of Africa but happen to be far from the truth. Africa is a normal continent just like the others with many special things to add to its charm, superstition not being one of them. Also, unlike common belief, African natives are very welcoming and friendly.