“When you think of Africa what comes to mind?”
My class of middle school students answered confidently.
Then I asked them, who has been to a country in Africa?
Without traveling to Africa my class seemed to know a lot about the continent. Most of their information comes from television, movies, books and Google image search.
By showing I am an African Man I hoped to show my students that the stereotypes they have about Africa are incorrect. I am an African Man is a two minute video featuring four twenty something African men. Throughout the video the men confront stereotypes about violence in Africa by being sarcastic. They say things like “a day without war is a day not worth living” and “smiling is stupid”. Meanwhile Hollywood movie clips play in the background showing examples of how African men are portrayed.
Students are surprised to see the men are college students wearing “normal” clothing and playing sports. They are even on Facebook! By giving students multiple sources of information about places in the world we can help them to discover that people throughout the world are more alike than different.