U.S. media falsely portrays Africa, speakers say

Amelia Eramya/Staff Photographer Michael Strong speaks to a crowd of students Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Education and Human Services Building French Auditorium about human rights and gender roles in Senegal as a part of Human Rights Month.

Michael Strong and Magatte Wade said mainstream media gives Africa a negative view.

The couple offered their perspective on human rights and gender roles Thursday in the Education and Human Services building as part of Human Rights Month. They tried to show students a different perspective of gender roles in Africa.

“The news only shows one side of what happens,” Wade said.

Wade told the audience that African countries are so badly portrayed that, even when a journalist tries to write or comment on something good about an African country, their editors do not want to listen. She said this is similar to how the general public feels.

Eve Famutimi, a senior and Mount Pleasant resident of Nigerian decent, said the first half of the event was “a very interesting perspective about Africa.”

“They painted Africa in a positive way that we don’t see most of the time,” she said.

The second half of the show concerned how other countries view the U.S.

Wade said that France, where she once lived, views the U.S as an “extremely racist country.”

Wade said the U.S. media’s portrayal of Africa is congruent to how the French media portrays the U.S. — only the negative aspects are depicted.

Grand Rapids freshman Krista Parks said the event was an eye-opening experience.

“It was very interesting,” Parks said. “The speakers’ viewpoints might even convince me to change my viewpoints.”

Wayne sophomore Renaldo Powell said the event was more interesting that he thought it would be.

“We have to know more about things that are not taught in the classroom,” Powell said. “In Africa, they look to the U.S as role models and you don’t learn that in the classroom.”

Wade’s future plans include continuing the selling of her products that are made of indigenous ingredients.

Her main purpose with the products are to create jobs back in her home country of Senegal and to develop an education system that will help students become independent thinkers.

“I hope to show a different view of African entrepreneurs,” Wade said.