Opinion: China's positive spin on Africa

By Harry Verhoeven and Iginio Gagliardone, Special to CNN
December 19, 2012 -- Updated 0320 GMT (1120 HKT)
China Daily's Africa edition is the latest Chinese media venture on the continent.
China Daily's Africa edition is the latest Chinese media venture on the continent.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New "Africa edition" of China Daily part of Chinese media influence on the continent
  • It offers "positive reporting" on Africa, say Harry Verhoeven and Iginio Gagliardone
  • Chinese media must avoid mistakes of Western press, they argue

Editor's note: Harry Verhoeven is Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford's Department of Politics & International Relations and is the Convenor of the Oxford University China-Africa Network (OUCAN). Iginio Gagliardone is Research Fellow at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford.

(CNN) -- Last week, Beijing's leading English-language newspaper, China Daily, begun publishing a weekly Africa edition, focusing on financial news and targeting Africa's growing middle class.

Earlier this year, China's international broadcaster, CCTV, launched an impressive media operation in Africa, producing one hour a day of content from the continent as well as feature programs on African affairs, through a newsroom of more than 40 Chinese and 70 African staff members.

 
<cite class="expCaption">China's growing influence in Africa</cite>

Both initiatives add to the more established activities of China's news agency, Xinhua, which in recent years has deepened its partnerships with African media outlets and provides them with news from across the world as well as from the dozens of African countries where it has correspondents.

 
<cite class="expCaption">Can China tell the African story?</cite>

The lightning growth of Chinese media is part of the dramatic expansion of the presence of Chinese diplomats, peacekeepers, commercial actors (state-owned or private) and ordinary citizens that has been transforming the African continent in the last 10-15 years

From Angola's oilfields and Dakar's markets to Congo's mines and Nairobi newsrooms, supply and demand centers are being reconfigured, cultural encounters are shaking social networks and alternative political alliances are emerging. The new developments in the media offer an interesting lens to highlight the trade-offs and learning curves that define the increasingly complex China-Africa story.

Read related: Chinese media make inroads into Africa

Chinese media present a radical challenge to Western style journalism.
Dr Harry Verhoeven & Dr Iginio Gagliardone

In a context of Africa's growing importance to the global economy, Chinese media present a radical challenge to Western style journalism.

As was highlighted at a recent conference at Oxford University, Chinese news media are seeking to compete with players such as CNN and Al Jazeera, but they are rolling out what they claim is a different approach to journalism. What Chinese media are offering to Africa is "positive reporting," a style of journalism that focuses on collective achievements rather than divisive issues like political crises or sensational negative news like famines.

Their message is that Africa, similarly to China, has received too much negative publicity in the Western-dominated global media. In this view, Chinese and African voices are finally finding ways to tell their own stories which offer a healthy correction to stereotypes of Africa as the "hopeless continent," with endless wars, HIV and hunger.

The Africa of today, while still consumed by many intractable problems, is no longer the Africa of the 1990s: Millions of Africans are seizing on unprecedented opportunities to build new lives.

This optimistic message about Africa turning a corner has faced criticism on different fronts. One of the most pertinent charges is that "positive reporting" fails to deliver on one of the main mandates of journalism: acting as a watchdog and keeping those in power in check, rather than praising them for their successes.

The tight controls on the media landscape that dominate public debates in China are being mirrored in coverage of Africa, which does not question Beijing's ties with unsavory regimes like Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Dos Santos's Angola, and which does little of the important investigative journalism that is required to ensure Africa's real economic growth does not just accrue to the top 1% in society.

Read related: Is the West losing out to China in Africa?

Yet however justified the questioning of uncritical positive reporting about African economies and their political regulators is, the main risk of reporting Africa is not simply on the tone of the reporting: rather, it is the ability to shed clichÉs and use the resources available to promote a better knowledge of the continent.

A major potential pitfall is that an equally stereotypical positive image will substitute a stereotypical negative image of Africa.
Dr Harry Verhoeven & Dr Iginio Gagliardone

A major potential pitfall is that an equally stereotypical positive image will substitute a stereotypical negative image of Africa. There is a crowd of self-appointed experts of the continent who are reinventing clichÉs to stress Africa's untapped potential, when just a few years ago they were the propagators of a relentless Afro-pessimism.

This is unhelpful in terms of understanding what is happening in dynamic but confusing countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria or Mozambique. Nor can it be considered empowering for ordinary Africans who will continue to feel that media coverage ignores the complex dilemmas, challenges and opportunities they face as the continent tries to reinvent itself.

Read related: The Africans looking to make it in China

A second major danger lies in a creeping ideologization of the debate: An opportunity to bring new energy to the debate on how to produce good journalism risks being wasted by entrenchment of old positions and repetition of sterile debates.

The Cold War world witnessed a battle between positive and negative reporting that did not do much good to journalism. Western-style journalism risks being complacent and stressing its moral superiority in supporting "investigative work" while not realizing that uncovering corruption in Africa and not having the resources to follow up on that story will produce little or no results, apart from praise to the brave (probably white, middle aged) journalist who reported it.

Similarly, Chinese journalists may feel too attached to their idea of telling upbeat stories that they will miss many opportunities to learn about the complexities of the continent. That is a shame, because Chinese media would gain enormous international respect -- and a strong bond with African media consumers -- if they were able to expose corruption cases in which Chinese companies and individuals are involved.

We believe that in today's rapidly changing Africa, there is great room for experimentation and mutual learning: the continent could be at the forefront of an overdue exercise in soul searching by the international media, whether Asian, Arab, African or Western.

Above all, we expect that China will not just continue to reshape Africa in the coming years, but that Africa itself will force the likes of CCTV and Xinhua to participate in more intensive internal and external discussions about freedom of expression, the links between media, human rights and development, and the commercial durability of an artificial good news show.

As China engages Africa through the media, it is also in turn engaged and forced to think critically about itself: the greatest geopolitical force for change on the continent could find itself more changed than it originally signed up for.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Harry Verhoeven and Iginio Gagliardone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

Interesting story .... for a couple of reasons!!

 

First though, I find it interesting that the Chinese seek to put a positive spin on "Africa" as a Continent .... but not "Africans" as people/individuals.  Not too long ago I saw a report about how Africans IN China are just as, if not more, discriminated against than they are anywhere else in the world!!

 

Many came there figuring that with the intense focus of Chinese investment happening IN Africa .... there must be opportunities for economic grown for Africans IN China, as well!!  But ... that's not the case at all.  Most of them are relegated to small areas outside of towns ... and sell their wares at marketplaces.  The Chinese who come there do so to try to get their goods at dirt-cheap prices ... or far less than the market value they would have to pay in their own cities.  

 

Most Chinese are not respectful or nice to them ... nor do they offer then more prominent jobs or the chance to make middle-wage salaries.  So, for the Chinese to go INTO Africa and then want to tout then in some kind of positive manner ... for the sake of the cameras or a news story .... is BS if you ask me!!  

 

But then ... that should be surprising to anyone, I suppose. 

Originally Posted by EbonyRose:

Interesting story .... for a couple of reasons!!

 

First though, I find it interesting that the Chinese seek to put a positive spin on "Africa" as a Continent .... but not "Africans" as people/individuals.  Not too long ago I saw a report about how Africans IN China are just as, if not more, discriminated against than they are anywhere else in the world!!

 

Many came there figuring that with the intense focus of Chinese investment happening IN Africa .... there must be opportunities for economic grown for Africans IN China, as well!!  But ... that's not the case at all.  Most of them are relegated to small areas outside of towns ... and sell their wares at marketplaces.  The Chinese who come there do so to try to get their goods at dirt-cheap prices ... or far less than the market value they would have to pay in their own cities.  

 

Most Chinese are not respectful or nice to them ... nor do they offer then more prominent jobs or the chance to make middle-wage salaries.  So, for the Chinese to go INTO Africa and then want to tout then in some kind of positive manner ... for the sake of the cameras or a news story .... is BS if you ask me!!  

 

But then ... that should be surprising to anyone, I suppose. 

ER---

 

May I ask what are you basing any of that on?

 

It was a 30-minute documentary I saw on ... (I want to say it was) the Discovery Channel (it's been while ) ... where they took cameras into various "ghettos" throughout China and showed how the African immigrants there were living!!

 

In it, they interviewed both Chinese and African people ... and basically, the Africans felt slighted - although I found that strange because most admitted that they had not come because they had been offered jobs or a good livelihood ... but just because they thought they could find it there because the Chinese were spending so much money within Africa, that they just assumed the situation would be reciprocal!!  

 

The Chinese, on the other hand, had the attitude that the Africans weren't really liked nor wanted there.  They didn't deserve any "good" treatment (i.e., to live in the inner cities or really mix freely in the country!) ... but, that because the various goods and products that the Africans were having imported there to sell were of good/high quality ... they would come into their areas and be willing to buy.  But ... they didn't want to pay full-price (as they would in stores in the Beijing!).  So, they patronized the "marketplaces" the Africans set up to take advantage of lower prices.

 

In the end .... most Africans said they didn't like it there .. and wished they hadn't come.  But for many, they had no way to make it back home or said "home" wasn't much better than where they were.  

 

They also spoke of having to pay bribes to Chinese policemen in order not to be shut down or have their inventory confiscated.

 

But, for me ... it simply solidified my belief that .... nobody likes Black people.  No matter where they are.  We're always the least respected ... and most maligned people there.  

But, for me ... it simply solidified my belief that .... nobody likes Black people.  No matter where they are.  We're always the least respected ... and most maligned people there.

 

 

This is what usually catches my attention.  I understand it, and agree but not often for the reasons people may think.  We (understandably) look at white supremacy from the perspective of how it manifest against us (i.e. Dr. Fransis's if you're Black get back etc).  However, the same thing exist among "people of color" (which is a term typically meant to exclude that people lacking color). 

 

There are efforts to redefine relationships that do not use western influences as an intermediary or interpret.  This is why there are noticeably different articles and perspectives coming from news and journalist that originate in Asia or Africa concerning their relationships.  

 

I don't suggest that everything is all flowery perfect, but its there's also ongoing attempts to continue controlling how we view the world and how we perceive the world viewing us (and why).

 

I don't I've seen the particular piece on the Discovery channel, however, I remain skeptical on those types of "documentaries".  Some of what is out there is embarrassingly uninformed and/or poorly researched regarding the history, development and culture of China.  

 

......we not gonna even talk about the Black Chinese.  Yes, the Black man has been in China for a very, very long time.

Originally Posted by Muhammad Cipher:

I don't I've seen the particular piece on the Discovery channel, however, I remain skeptical on those types of "documentaries".  Some of what is out there is embarrassingly uninformed and/or poorly researched regarding the history, development and culture of China.  

 

 

 

To this I believe that everyone should always be aware of and keep in mind that e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y ... has an agenda of one form or another!!!    Of course, nowhere is that MORE prevalent than in the case of the general media.  

 

However ... more often than not .... the problem is NOT in having that agenda ... but WHAT, specifically, that agenda IS!!!  Some agendas are created to influence (as in the case of the mainstream media)... while some are merely intended to inform (i.e., documentaries on otherwise "neutral" outlets).  Then, too ... it also depends on whose documentary it is!! (i.e., the producer!)

 

The thing is ... oftentimes, when it comes to things such as documentaries ... I don't think most of them are created with the intention to be the "end-all, be-all" of the subject matter nor the discussion surrounding it!!  I believe everyone should do their own independent investigation of whatever subject they find interest in .... and never take anyone else's word for anything!!  If, for no other reason .... you may have a DIFFERENT opinion of the SAME situation than the person who's presenting the information to you in the first place!!

 

And ... (IMO) there's nothing wrong with that, either!!  We're all DIFFERENT individuals for a reason!! 

 

For me .... the MSM never gives a complete story about anything they report on!!  They tell you what they want you to know!!  For whatever reason they want you to know it!!    There's always MORE to the story.  And I never take their word, wholly, about ANYTHING!!  And, if you're interested enough, it's your responsibility to fill in the blanks from other sources!!  'Cause that's the only way you'd be able to ascertain ALL of the facts needed to make an informed opinion!!

 

But ... when it comes to documentaries/exposes about different things/situations ... especially those happening in other countries ... it's more about providing (a little more than basic) information about that subject ... giving you an idea or overview about what's going on .... and not really done to "influence" ... but more to give you facts ... hopefully some credible statistics ... but, mostly, to allow you to gain knowledge/education/information about something you would otherwise not know existed ... or have any knowledge about!!

 

And then from there ... it's up to you to do your own research .. make your own decisions .... and form your own opinions!!  Nobody can force you to believe what they want you to believe ... just because they want you to believe it!! (Although lord knows the MSM tries their level best to do just that!!)

 

But ... it's up to you what seems like more fact than fiction!!  And most times ... it's not all that difficult to discern the difference!  

Excellent my sista True dat in everything you conveyed here.  It is the SAME in this country....where the MEDIA says what it wants you to know.  It is only afterwards do you learn the entire truth.  For example:  the current massacre in newtown.  Well it was LATER that we learned that the mother had all these weapons in her home.  No one questioned why an elementary school teacher would have such an arsenal.  The focus was on her so-called "crazy but brillant" son.  So the media is legendary in what it will expose.  You have to be informed by researching ALL media inventory to come up with the COMPLETE truth.  That's the way....it's always been.  But!  

You know ... it is SO sad how many of our people do not - and, sadly, do not even KNOW - how to think for themselves, anymore!!    And it's not necessarily that they believe everything their told (although, in too many cases IT IS!!) .... but, it's more like they don't even consider that there's more or something else to what they're told .... that changes the TRUTH about what's really going on!!  So, they basically just live in 'ignorant stupor' ... instead of getting or being educated or informed!!

 

I have a niece-in-law who started complaining from the first day of her now-12-year-old daughter's schooling that there was no "critical thinking" being taught to the kids!!  It was all about 'teaching to the test' (GeeDubya was in office with his worthless NCLB thing!).  But nothing about actually learning how to comprehend and "think through" what was being taught ... so that they could learn to come to logical, intelligent and informed conclusions .. on their own!!

 

Although she said it and complained about it constantly (because it was one of the first things she had ever learned to do it school!!) ... her complaints baffled me somewhat .... I didn't really understand what the 'big deal' was about it ... why she was so insistent that this was a problem!!  

 

But NOW I get it!!!    After seeing how so many of our children can't figure out basic stuff like ... what kind of things makes common sense, and what doesn't ... how to discern when people know what they're talking about (and should be believed) .. and what people just talk out of their ass and say ANYTHING (and time shouldn't be wasted paying attention to!).  

 

That's one of the reasons why at least TWO of our generations were snowed over by the music industry who put out decades of filthy, disrespectful images of us through "hip hop' music .... sucking them in with false depictions of being able to gain (easy) money and fame .... when trying to emulate that lifestyle actually resulted in acting in ways that got most of them turning into criminals, increased violence, incarceration, the breakup of the Black family, domestic abuse, drugs, prostitution and a whole host of other negative conditions.

 

All because of a gullibility to believe unbelievable hype!!    Did NOBODY think .... 'there's a better, more productive, more creative, more flattering, more uplifting, more positive ... less destructive way to make money? To promote creativity? To showcase talent? To quit making fat-cat record execs billions of dollars while they received pennies on the same damn dollar?"  To open on their own record labels and make their own money and music?? 

 

The answer is HELL NAW!! No one thought "critically" about what they were doing ... or, worse, what was being done TO them!    No one had the ability to think past MONEY!!  And weren't even smart enough to insist on making as much of it as they deserved ... being that it was their talent, their creativity, their images, and their fame that was racking all the money in.  

 

I mean ... it's really simple.  Knowing that the American media is F.O.S. ... that's the FIRST thing you should be looking for when watching/reading their newscasts!!  Knowing you're only going to get the partial story ... you should be looking for the credible FACTS about something before those half-lies are even fully told!!

 

THINKING is not rocket science.    It might take a little effort ... but, it never HURT anybody!!  There's no DANGER in it.  And I wish more of our people would TRY it sometimes.  THINK for ourselves.  'Cause nobody else is going to give us the truth that we need to be knowing for us.

I think that is 85% of the people I know in the hood!  We talked about this very thing today.  How there are 5% of us at the elite and 10% at the middle level...but!  It's the 85%-which is the MAJORITY of us....at the core bottom level of a mentality that continues to keep us from progressing at a pace we SHOULD BE.  Cuz most of us should be  at the top of our game by now.  But nooooooooooooo.  We have those kneegrows who just don't GET IT!!!!  You know the ones who will wear their pajamas to the grocery store or maybe at the gas station,    Dem!  It seems they NEVER excercise common SENSE.    And this is why we are where we are.  And unfortunately the talking blue in the face DOESN'T work.  And therefore a generation is passed down once again of these types.  And I hate I hate I hate it.  You can't even TALK to them.  There like zombies.  And yes you are correct the music industry destroyed any decent, well behaved and adjusted "gene" that may had survived the civil rights movement. 

 

And this is what pisses me off.   Since I know that many of us don't practice common sense....I try to teach it to kids hidden in my programs....you would think the parents would support or at least appreciate it.... but!  No.........they try to sabbotage it by acting like hood rats not used to anything.  And this just grows old.  You know? Cuz this the question.   When do you START thinking for yourself?  You act like you still sharecropping and waiting on massa to tell you so you can believe...or HOW TO THINK.  So I'm hearing you my sista.  You're exact on the money.  Exact. 

 

Because the Chinese are not European they get a pass??  They have resource needs as well as economic needs. They as other outsiders see the chance to exploit the people and resources of a politically, economically weak Africa. I just don't understand how African descended people continue to lie in bed with Asians. Especially since we understand how they treat us in the U.S. Time to grow up politically.
Originally Posted by Yemaya:
Because the Chinese are not European they get a pass??  They have resource needs as well as economic needs. They as other outsiders see the chance to exploit the people and resources of a politically, economically weak Africa. I just don't understand how African descended people continue to lie in bed with Asians. Especially since we understand how they treat us in the U.S. Time to grow up politically.

I don't think they get a pass at all. They are acting in their own self interest in the context of a geopolitical and a particular economic system's reasoning---just as the African nations are.  

 

One of the issues with African economic development is that they are resource rich with economies based extremely heavily on export markets. Given the nature of how African countries have attempted to grow economically, this is no small nor minor matter.  The Chinese arrangements are far more attractive in partially because of what they DO NOT involve (ie degrees of Chinese political involvement and IMF style loans and conditions).  It also carries development internally because China (like Africa nations) is an export driven economy. 

 

Only time will tell the truth about what is really going on with the Africa-China relationship.

 

But, actually, if China, having the upper-hand economically, do right by Africa, not have or tolerate racism/racial condescendence, and unfair practices, the relationship has the potential to make China and Africa the most powerful nation/continent on earth.  

 

The sheer number of Africans and Chinese alone, would make an African-China alliance the largest and most powerful military coalition on earth.  

 

An Africa-China economic alliance, done fair and equitably, has the potential to make both Africa and China the most economically sound on earth.

 

China already has the military might to assist Africans in overthrowing ruthless dictators and corrupt leaders that are keeping the continent in poverty, war and suffering; however, it may lead to Africa leaning more toward Communism than democracy, or God forbid, China inserting it's own brutal, corrupt regime that will do the same as dictators they overthrow.  

 

If done right, fair and equitably, an Africa-China alliance would change the future of the world for centuries to come.

 

(But, even if done fair and equitably, a big down side would be Africa flirting with Communism).

 

Can Africa trust China?

 

Should Africa trust China?

 

Will China play fair with Africa?

 

Would China require Africa sacrifice their political ideology in return?

If done right, fair and equitably, an Africa-China alliance would change the future of the world for centuries to come.

 

(But, even if done fair and equitably, a big down side would be Africa flirting with Communism).

 

Can Africa trust China?

 

Should Africa trust China?

 

Will China play fair with Africa?

 

Would China require Africa sacrifice their political ideology in return?

 

All very interesting questions and things to think about. 

 

However is there anyone with an interest in people NOT thinking about a relationship between Africa and China in terms of economic impact?

 

This is where the value of knowing and understanding the history of Chinese (Asia et al) development shines.

 

I don't  hold the same view on African's "flirting" with Communism, mostly because its become a term of association and not of meaning.  Hard to say that we are a people of a history of being community orientated but dismiss social extensions of that. 

 

Totalitarianism is usually conflated with communal concepts for any number of historical reasons ranging from fear tactic's (raged by the existing power structure ie-what's happening in press accounts of Venezuela) to IMHO ill conceived attempts to use such control to force the existing (or overthrown power) to comply with those backing the authoritarian rulers. 

 

 

 

.....but that's a whole nutha subject.

 

Originally Posted by sunnubian:
(But, even if done fair and equitably, a big down side would be Africa flirting with Communism).

Do the Laws of Physics care about Communism or Capitalism?

 

The human race cannot escape or change physics.  How many cars are there in the world?  They are machines, they wear out.  Neither capitalist nor communist economists talk about what the world loses on the depreciation of that junk.  China is not Communist in how it really runs the economy.  They just talk communist propaganda.

 

But this global warming problem is PHYSICS and it is going to affect everyone regardless of ideology.  Capitalism and Communism are both obsolete ideological crap.   Why doesn't mandatory accounting in the schools make sense under capitalism?  Then why isn't it done?

 

Is the positive spin just telling Africans what they want to hear?

 

Xum

Sista Sunnubian wrote:  But, even if done fair and equitably, a big down side would be Africa flirting with Communism.

 

  But think about it....cuz could that be ANY worse than what is already happening in Africa? I mean at least the people will get fed and medication for the sick including the children who are always at the butt of a country's poverty crisis.  And really, I think China may evolve out of "communism" as it was back in the day cuz they have to keep up with what is going on in the world and if their people are affected by democracy then communism will backfire cuz of the exposure to human freedom and high technology.  And since China is educating many of its people....it will be hard for the govt to restrict something that is all around them aboard-where they are working and temporarily living.  How will they stay focus and look at what the govt wants if they see all this "candy?" i.e. freedom.  Usually when humans are exposed to some form of independence.....they seem to like it...regardless of what country they derived.  But!  Just sayin 

Originally Posted by sunnubian:

Only time will tell the truth about what is really going on with the Africa-China relationship.

 

But, actually, if China, having the upper-hand economically, do right by Africa, not have or tolerate racism/racial condescendence, and unfair practices, the relationship has the potential to make China and Africa the most powerful nation/continent on earth.  

 

The sheer number of Africans and Chinese alone, would make an African-China alliance the largest and most powerful military coalition on earth.  

 

An Africa-China economic alliance, done fair and equitably, has the potential to make both Africa and China the most economically sound on earth.

 

 

 

I agree with you 150%  

 

However .... I don't  see "fair and equitable" happening in an Africa-China relationship.  At all.  

 

I don't believe China will ever want or try to be a "social stabilizer" for Africa. I think the relationship, as it is right now, with China intentionally staying out of 'domestic/social disputes' between the governments and their people ... is the way it will continue to be for as long as it possibly can, as far as China is concerned.

 

Africa is accepting this Chinese involvement for the money.  And China is offering its relationship to Africa for its resources.  It's purely economic.  Not personal.  Not social.

 

And ... both sides are happy - and greatly prospering - with this arrangement.  Yes, Africa is getting 'the short end of the stick'.  However ... China is giving them more than they had or would have (before the relationship) ... and more than anyone else will offered them (with easier, less intrusive conditions for doing business than the West) and at least a possibility of greater economic growth.

 

If these African nations could take what they are getting from China now ... and turn it around and learn to use it in their own, personal, economic favor (i.e., mine, refine and export their own resources for themselves) ... then they WIN in the end.  And, yes, I think a better, fairer, more equitable, more equal agreement with China could turn that relationship into a global powerhouse!!!  

 

But, unfortunately, right now .... China is mostly picking the African countries with the highest degrees of political corruption, social discontent and poverty (as it's more economically feasible for them to just bribe their way into access of those resources!!).  Just so they can stay (politically) out of the way and keep it as a solely economic relationship as much as possible.

 

African nations themselves will have to get smart and economically knowledgeable to handle their own (financial) business in the most beneficial and prosperous ways.  Otherwise ... I don't see "fair and equitable" on the horizon for Africa.  So I hope they learn what they're doing.  

Originally Posted by Kocolicious:
 

 

And this is what pisses me off.   Since I know that many of us don't practice common sense....I try to teach it to kids hidden in my programs....you would think the parents would support or at least appreciate it.... but!  No.........they try to sabbotage it by acting like hood rats not used to anything.  And this just grows old.  You know? Cuz this the question.   When do you START thinking for yourself?  You act like you still sharecropping and waiting on massa to tell you so you can believe...or HOW TO THINK.  So I'm hearing you my sista.  You're exact on the money.  Exact. 

 

 

And I would implore you, Ms. Koco, to NOT let those parents deter you from doing your best to educate their children!!  

 

As much as I love and support our people ... ALL of our people .... it is with a heavy heart that I have accepted the need to "write off" many of today's "parents" (and I use that term loosely in these instances!) as "lost causes."  'Cause, in reality, that's what they are.    They can't be saved.  It's too late for them.

 

HOWEVER .... in a lot of cases .... their CHILDREN CAN!!!    The fact is .... our children (ALL children) are born with the potential for elevation and greatness.  It's somewhere along the way in the "upbringing" part that they will either gain or lose the ability to fully capitalize on it.

 

MANY of our children are simply (outwardly) victims of their surroundings ... and may not look (or seem) like they're capable of much.  But INSIDE brews the same  dynamic intelligence, perseverance, quest for knowledge and ability to excel as our ANCESTORS brought with them and our people have ALWAYS been able to display when given a chance!!

 

I watched a story not to long about about a young, Black, teen-aged girl who was basically a science genius ... and while she did well in school (all A's) ... she didn't really let her excellence show.  

 

Well ... she started skipping classes and seemed unusually depressed.  ONE of her teachers decided to check her out and discovered that she and three younger siblings had been living in a storage facility for the past 3 or 4 months ... her mother was a (mostly absent) drug addict and the dad was illiterate, took odd jobs, but mostly just didn't want to be around his family ... so the burden to care for her siblings was pretty much solely on her!!

 

She was managing to get all of them to school ... and feed them from the money the Dad brought home ... but, it was an awful situation for someone her age to have to bare.    But ... she bore it all the same.

 

Well, of course, getting that story out of her was like pulling teeth for the teacher .. but, once he found out, he did what he could to direct her to agencies that might help ... she and the kids went to a shelter (Dad stepped up enough to NOT have to have them go into the CPS system) ... the girl (with the help of the teacher) entered a science fair and WON a full-ride college scholarship!!!  

 

Of course, you can only hope she could see it through with the family problems she had.  She said the welfare of her brothers and sisters were still her first priority for her! 

 

Another girl's parents had abandoned her altogether!!  Just LEFT her alone - she said they said they weren't good enough to be her parents .. and thought she might be able to do better without them around!!    She, too, was educationally gifted .. but, trying to work (just to pay the rent .. she couldn't afford lights, water or other utilities) and finish high school.  

 

Someone at her school noticed, helped her, and now she, too, will be able to go to college on a scholarship!!

 

Our children are NOT their parents!!  And so many (albeit probably not most) that are stuck as victims of their (not of their own making) circumstances just need a chance, some acknowledgement, a little bit of assistance, and someone (other than their too-far-gone parents!!) to care!!!  And they CAN and WILL be able to excel!!

 

So do what you gotta do to bypass their (the children's) roadblocks!!!  And open up the opportunities for them ... as much as you can!!  

  I know this is OFF TOPIC....but!  The scenerio no longer exist where teachers have classroom power to mold children academically they the way they were trained.  Pedophiles posing as educators focked that up by molesting unsuspecting children in clear view and in the classroom during class time  So I as an afterschool instructor have to do the BEST I can to mitigate the damages.  But when you don't KNOW how many children are affected by this abuse or how many children's parent have been [targeted as children] affected by this abuse it's kinda hard knowing where to place the bandaid.  Plus parents aren't the way they used to be.  They only cry out when something rare happens and they wanna get media attention....or immigants bring their children to their school where classes are already overcrowded...then you will hear them whine loudly.....but other than that!  Nada.  Here's my frustation:  these new parents don't wanna ensure their children do their homework; these new parents take the word of the children before consulting a teacher/dean/principles to what the TRUTH really is; since parents aren't making them, children are less enthusatic about learning cuz they KNOW their parents don't care; the only time I see parents wanting to participate is when they've hear they can get something for free.   Then they stand in line with house shoes on and a boom box blasting wondering why the faculty is upset.  Where were these same new parents during teacher/parent counsel?

 

I for one had developed this technique years ago called earned and reward as oppose to reward and punishment....and it's hard to implement this program when you have these new parents i.e. uncooked grown folks forcing their children to participate in something they have no knowledge of or are too old to qualify.  But if a voucher/scholarship/funded program are involved....trust me these folks are gonna find a way to either get one of the above or do something to sabbotage it for the next parent. 

 

This is MY experience working in the hood.  I'm sorry.  I am TIRED of it.  Burned out.  Through the years I had worked like a dog to guarantee certain free programs to at risk student in under developed communities.  I have MADE sure that those small neigbhorhoods hidden behind big districts be included when funding is allocated for the whole city.  But!  My sista, I am fed up fighting massa AND the kneegrow too.  Can't do both.  Won't do both.  I insulted and offend that I even have to do though this with my OWN people,

 

Lately  I been in negoitations to launch two new learning centers in the heart of the hood.  This was to be a five-year plan that is to be sponsored by local government.  But during the townhall meetings to get the plans off the ground,  angry parents were more concerned over what the building will LOOK like-hell we don't even have the MONEY yet....slow your roll.  But no.  They talked and talked until the council adjourned without discussion of how this needed money is gonna come from the budget-that's first.  And the next session isn't until the mid-March.  Needless to say, I'm worn out....plus I had finals two weeks straight during these meetings.  So all this chaos and for what?  I'm getting tooooooo old for this shyte.  But! I hear ya my sister.  Yet for me it's whinning down.  It's time for me to move on.  I will agree to do consulting while still here and give reports from my 25+ experience working in the black community.  But it's a wrap.  I ai'nt fighting blackfolks no mo'.  Next year is  my last round of programs in the hood.  Hate to say it....but!  There are other advocates who want me to come to their diverse community and do programs.  They are willing to do whatever is necessary to get the job done.  I'm no spring chicken....I don't have the energy to give to folks who don't appreciate me and what I do.  They don't have vision.  And this 24/7 dedication I used to give to the hood unselfishly?  It's now over.   But!

 ... well, I ain't mad atcha, sistagirl!!    Like I told you ... my patience for dealing with (unsensible) human beings ran out a looooonnnggg time ago!!  

 

Now I just try to concentrate more on saving the planet, instead!!  

 

But ... I'ma give you a minute or so to take a good, deep breath ... find a second or two of calm ... and then see if you don't breakdown and relent and decide to give (them/us) another go!!    I know how hard it can be to actually change directions .... but, then again, I know what it means when enough is really enough ... the end ... and it's time to get!!  

 

So .. whatever you do, wherever you go ... as long as you feel rewarded by it .. that's all that really counts.

 

The important thing is ..... there are actually a LOT of people like you ... (maybe not enough but a lot!!) ... some that have been working tirelessly for a long time ... but, a lot of others that have only recently started ... to take our youngun's - at least those they can get their hands on - and give to them and nurture, uplift and literally save them a lot of times!!

 

But ... those people get no notoriety, their stories are not told ... and a whole lot of us don't even know they exist.  They rarely, if ever, get the credit they are due for their time and sacrifice.    But, the fact is .... they ARE out there, and small numbers at a time (considering the magnitude of the problem) ... but many of our children ARE finding their ways to a better place ... getting to use their intellect and talent and creativity ... and reaching out and reaching back to help others.

 

I've read/seem/heard about a lot of Black-college groups and programs these days that are going out and mentoring/tutoring to young kids ... specifically trying to keep them from 'falling through the tracks' and going down the wrong road.  A lot of young (and older) adults these days are making it their mission to try to catch kids at a young age (mostly because of their negative family situations) to give them a different view of the world.

 

There's also been a LOT of new organizations/charities created in recent years that take groups of young'uns to other countries (generally Africa) to give them the life-changing experiences that make them WANT to make the world better ... especially for those in their own communities!

 

So .... maybe it's from the aspect of one on the 'outside looking in' ... but, I am  more hopeful for this next generation that's coming up than I was for this last one.    Or the one before that.  We're finally getting past the hip-hop madness (thank God!!) .. and I think slowly ... very s-l-o-w-l-y ... there is a bigger focus and subsequent shifting of attitudes amongst some of our young people of a greater degree of self-respect and self-inflection.

 

That, coupled with what I think is renewed focus of the importance and need of education - and better education - in our communities and for our children .. and I'm hoping we've 'turned the curve'!!    We'll just have to see about that. 

  Ha!  You are tooooooooo funny sistagirl!  Yep we are on the SAME page.  And I like to think others like me set the stage and passed the torch to continued the quest of excellence for the newer generation.  It's a new breed of blackfolks with a whole different perspective and LANGUAGE out there!!!  I also like to think that those hundreds of interns through the years have kept their promise to do their part in pulling children from going off the "cliff"  if you will, to either death or prison.  We elders are gonna retire and enjoy our golden years with the notion that it isn't true....that no good deed goes unpunished.  I like to think that there are still folks out there with compassion and dedication to the offsprings of the 21st century.  In addition, it warms my heart to know that new organizations are springing up everywhere to address this issue....I ain't jealous....oh no....I'm delighted cuz I KNOW it takes a village and there is no such thang as a one-man island.  We all need each other to survive in this people eating WORLD.  

 

And you are correct....they are out there in small groups.  But that's how it is done.  Masses only cause confusion....but!  It is the one step at time or the drop of water hitting the rock....that guarantees break throughs to happen and it is the people no one pays attention to at the inception who makes a BIG mark on this planet....not the ones already in the spotlight-many of 'em are the problem if you ask me.  So in a nutshell my sista...I agree with EVERYTHING you've said.    And I'm one of those folks who know when to HOLD and know when to FOLD.   But!  I'm just saying

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