In 2007, I clashed with the employees of a money transfer company in the 18th area of Paris, near the Red Windmill place, also known as Moulin Rouge – a touristic place full of flesh temptations, danger, lust and sex.
I used to go that agency to send money to my family back home. Like myself, most of the clients of the agency were Africans. Still, every time I go there I don’t see a single African in the staff of the agency.
That disturbed me much, and over time got me restless. I decided to stage a demonstration inside the agency and later send a letter to the headquarter of the company.
One day, early in the morning, before going to job, I dressed one of my branded monkey suit, like most the other corporate keyboard punchers, and headed to the agency.
When came my turn to be served, I told the lady in front of me I wanted to see the agency manager. She asked the reason why. I replied I’m a loyal customer of the agency – I showed a pile of my recent receipts for sending money through the agency – then said “I’d like the next I come here to be served by someone that resembles me.”
She asked what I meant by “someone that resembles me”. I replied by asking her to look at the clients sitting at the agency, and then look at the agency staff. “I want this company to employ African people in his staff. That’d be fair to our community.” I continued.
The African clients in the agency applauded, and in choir grumbled “yes, yes, yes”.
The lady got tomato, and responded nervously “We don’t do discrimination here”.
“Show that in your staff”, I commented.
“Write to our headquarter. We don’t recruit the people here”.
Two days later I sent a letter to the company headquarter. I never received a response. And, I never used again the service of that company.
It’s in the same way that I’ve stopped watching TV. I think there are to many white people on it. TV doesn’t represent me. It’s alien to me and my culture.
Even back in Africa, 80% of the time it was white people on my tv, when there is almost no white people in my country except few immigrants. I don’t like that.
I’ve once asked a white friend of mine how would he react if every time he would start his TV, most of time it’d be black people in the news, the talk shows, the movies, etc.?
He said he would be disturbed, and would certainly either stop watching it or complain to the media manager if the company is a public one, funded by his tax.
I think that is exactly what we Africans should be doing. Stop watching and consuming medias which don’t represent us, and our worldviews. And send complaint letters to public medias which display too much foreign content to our kids.
The over-population of the medias and films by white people bother even some white people. Read Olivia A. Cole take: “First, let me note that I am white. I am a white woman who goes to the theater to see probably a dozen films (if not more) in a given year, a white woman who readily consumes TV shows and series and often blogs/tweets about them. I love film. I love what Hollywood could be, but I must say that I don’t love what it is, and that is a machine generating story after story in which the audience is asked to root for a white (usually male) hero over and over and over (and over) again. I’m tired. I’m tired of directors pretending that white actors are the default and that people of color are a distraction when it comes to filmmaking. I’m tired of black women in Hollywood being relegated to roles of slaves and “the help” over and over again. I’m tired of films convincing themselves that they are taking on something fresh and new, the likes of which the world has never seen, but in actuality adhering to tired tropes and stereotypes.
“I can’t accept that. And I can’t accept that when we think about the potential of humankind and what our brains are capable of doing and thinking and feeling, that people of color would be absent from that imagining. I can’t accept that. And I won’t. I’m tired of seeing people that look like me crowding screens both big and small: I am not what the world looks like. Hollywood, stop whitewashing characters.” – Read full article here
Medias are not neutral, specially for kids. They affect deeply their psyche and root them into cultures which are not theirs. It’s not surprising that most our girls now want to look like white people bleaching their skin and wearing fake hair.
For change to come and be effective, we need more content creators for our audience, but also the political resolve to limit the influence of foreign medias on our people.