Imagine if I wrote an article about the Yellow Vest protestors in France and I quoted a professor from Kenya in the write up. Imagine if I was an anchor of a newscast and I had a segment about the conflict in Catalonia only to welcome an expert from Cameroon to present his views on that topic. Imagine if I hosted a TV show that covered the history of Irish people and I invited an analyst from Zimbabwe to offer insights on Ireland.
I know there are some who chuckled at the thought of these things; a reaction wrought by the caste system of race that has conditioned us to place value on complexion above the complexity of people’s ideas. However, mainstream media outlets have no problem giving platforms to professors, experts and analysts from Europe and America to examine current events and news related to Africa as they willfully disregard all but a few token voices from the countries they dissect.
In theory, there should be no problem with the imagined scenarios I presented above; knowledge is not constrained by borders neither is understanding of a country the sole domain of those who live there. The problem is if I invite only non-native professional to assess the news and views of nations to the exclusion of those who reside there. The imagery is jarring; while Ethiopians, Kenyans, Nigerians are reduced to background props, pundits with lesser melamine are given spotlights to talk for us—this is nothing less than a vicious form of reductivism.
I had to contemplate for a while before writing this article; I wondered if I was feeding into the very same divides that I wrote against yesterday and whether or not I’m accepting the identity politics I reject. However, upon further thought, I came to the realization that ...continued...
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