The Stereotypes Of Kony In Jason Russell's Short Film Review

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Americans have the inclination to associate Africa with diseases and poverty, which can spark a feeling of superiority when talking about the continent. The short film, Kony 2012 produced by American filmmaker, Jason Russell, seeks to bring awareness to the abduction of children in Uganda by the warlord, Joseph Kony. One image in the film that shows a clear stereotype is when children are sleeping on a muddy ground with nothing over their heads. This image suggests that the African people are unable to effectively protect their children against harm and need the aid of Western countries. Russell surprisingly asks, “This has been going on for years?” which demonstrates that this situation has been occurring for a long time in Uganda and the …show more content…
Binyavanga Wainaina, an African writer, satirizes this stereotype in his essay, “How To Write about Africa” and mocks Americans like Russell for using such stereotypes. Wainaina claims that when a Westerner is writing about Africa they must include “…The Starving African” that “waits for the benevolence of the West” to mock this commonly held stereotype. Wainaina is teasing Westerners and non-Africans for their belief that Africans are constantly waiting for the West to alleviate their problems. The fact that the film is in English, not in Swahili or another African language, is emblematic of how Russell believes Western cultures, and not cultures, can help stop Kony. This common belief has undermined the African community by making them seem defenseless and weak. It suggests that the African people are unable to solve their problems and conflicts on their own. However, the fact that Africa has been able to undergo and overcome many difficulties like slavery and diseases, like Ebola, and is still standing highlights how capable and competent she is. They were able to overcome a potential Ebola outbreak by acting quickly and effectively and isolating those infected. Africans did not sit around and wait for the West to step in and aid them in overcoming these difficulties, instead they got up and overcame them …show more content…
Wainaina satirizes the prevailing cliché that Africans need “celebrity activists and aid workers” as well as “conservationists” to help them and promote awareness for the issues in the continent. The film states that the Invisible Children Inc. is “targeting 20 culture makers and 12 policymakers” to enact change. The filmmakers believe that if celebrities, like Angelina Jolie and Ellen DeGeneres, advertise and illuminate the Kony crisis in Uganda on social media, changes will be made because the people who follow these celebrities on social media sites will be exposed to the horrors of Joseph Konya and will want to do something to help. Russell is fixated on getting celebrities involved because he believes that these celebrities will promote Kony 2012 by encouraging their fan bases to get involves and by donating money to the cause, since it has been seen that celebrities tend to donate large amounts of money to charities and organizations that help people, especially children. By calling upon celebrities to get involved, Russell strengthens the idea of American superiority over Africans by indicating that Africa needs the money and attention of famous Western celebrities to help stop Kony. Additionally,

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