Mar 29 2011

the Persistent Pornography of African Pain

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 1:35 PM

Rwandan-based journalist Jina Moore illuminates anew a common failing in Western media depictions of bad behavior in Africa: the pain is presented so graphically as to raise questions about whether the reportage reinforces negative stereotype of Africans and dehumanizes the victims of social breakdown even as the media demonizes the actors perpetuating this carefully-documented, even pornographic violence. Moore’s fresh examples and solid analysis comes in an article, “How Not to Write About Rape,” supported by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

Brutalized Africans are not alone in being further brutalized by insensitive journalists seemingly unaware that they might be over-exposing the pain experienced by people in war, poverty, disease or natural disaster. But as I have argued elsewhere, and most expansively in my essay,“Just So Stories: Stories We Tell About Africa (and those we don’t),” literate people around the world remain profoundly influenced by negative meta-narratives about Africa, and its people, that make telling fair and balanced stories about African situations surprisingly difficult.

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