Thursday, July 22, 2004

Today I have been reading The Africans: A Triple Heritage and it is pretty thought provoking. I never did think about how map divisions are so artificial- Mazrui makes a pretty good case for many different definitions of where exactly Africa begins and ends. Also, I have not developed my thoughts on this, but Mazrui makes an interesting point on people who both try to act like Africa is different than what it is and was. I took away that it's best to engage with Africa on its own terms, not on what is considered impressive to Europeans.  Like people always want to talk about Egypt because it has big pyramids and people know about it, but I fail to see how starting the cultivation of plants that we know and use today, and creating complex cultures is any less important or interesting.

I guess what I mean to say is that we have to divest ourselves of European values that aren't very good if we want change. I'm not saying everything that comes out of Europe is bad, but we should examine our baggage, and see if we want that or not. For example, I think that the idea that the only important things in history is people killing other people is stupid. However, much of our society is based around that idea- the history channel is filled with war specials, and history classes are overly war based.  However, I don't think I have to agree with that, I can say, hey, wait a minute- what about what everyone else was doing?

The most powerful realization I have made is that you don't have to let society's perceptions become yours. It's not like I am a special person, but I am able to try my first steps on thinking for myself. I think that's a valuable thing to learn.

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