Being African (Part 3) – your childhood

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You will be amazed at how much our perceptions are shaped by the media. 3 years ago, during my time in Missouri, I often cultivated relationships with folks from different extractions. This was a deliberate plan. I wanted to see the world from their perspective, I wanted to know how they thought and reacted in different situations, I wanted to basically blur those lines society and the media have drawn on us for their own benefit (which is what spawned this series).

During one of my conversations with a neighbor, he asked me if I was a first generation American. I answered in the affirmative. I could see his curiosity grow, “So, how was your childhood”. I was like, “err…normal”. He added, could you explain normal. I told him that I had a normal childhood, I grew up in the city with my 4 siblings in a stable home. I went to high school and had my Engineering degree in college. I told him I grew up with cartoon network and watched cable. I told him that I did all the crazy stuff boys my age do in high school and college – basically a normal childhood.

I could feel his brain crank into overdrive. He then went on to ask (note, we were very open with each other, no subject or opinion was taboo) “really? You grew up normally? I usually thought that kids down there rarely go to school and are involved in wars. Have you seen Kony’s children?”

Note – Kindly refer to google for the scoop on Kony’s children.

I understood what he meant, the central part of the continent is basically in chaos. This is all that is being reported in the media; and that was the image that was imprinted in him. I basically reminded him that Africa is a continent with 50+ countries (disputed or not) many of which have a normal way of life. I was fortunate to be born and raised in one of the reasonable ones.

 

PS: In-case you are wondering, that is not me in the picture. LoL

Photo credit: Google

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