Category Archives: Africa

“Your Women Are Oppressed, But Ours Are Awesome”: How Nicholas Kristof And Half The Sky Use Women Against Each Other

By Guest Contributor Sayantani DasGupta

I just saw the most problematic image on Facebook. It was a photo of four blonde female pilots in combat gear with the caption, Hey Taliban, look up in the sky! Your women can’t drive, but ours CAN!

Despite the issues I have with militarism, or this country’s campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m all for cheering for female pilots (yea, bada&& flying ladies!). What I can’t just can’t stand by and let slide is this “your women are oppressed, but ours are awesome” rhetoric, a rhetoric which only illuminates how–both actually and metaphorically–racism, xenophobia, and imperialism so often play out on women’s bodies around the world.

To me, this photo represents how blithely and blindly women from the Global North allow ourselves to be used as (actual and metaphorical) weapons of war against women from the Global South. In fact, that offensive caption isn’t significantly different from comments I’ve been hearing this week like, “These are countries where women have very little value.”

Sadly, the place where I’ve been hearing such phrases isn’t on some conservative TV program or website (where I think that all-woman pilot photo originated), but rather, on the PBS film Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women, a well-publicized neo-liberal “odyssey through Asia and Africa” hosted by everyone’s favorite white savior New York Times reporter, Nikolas Kristof.
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An African Election: Premiere Night!

The public-media premiere for Jarreth Merz’s An African Election is finally here! So, what’s happening tonight?

As you may know, we’re really hyped about the people WGBH, Boston’s public TV station–in collaboration with Racialicious and the National Black Programming Consortium‘s (NBPC) AfroPoP.TV–scheduled to appear in-studio and on Skype to have a roundtable discussion about the  documentary and the issues regarding voting and democracy in both Ghana and the US:

That kicks off at 8PM EDT on PBS’ WORLD channel. We encourage you, Racializens, be a part of the Twitter discussion that’ll take place at the beginning of the panel. You just might have your pithy question or comment read on the air.

Then, at 8:30PM, the film rolls, and so does the live-tweeting! Please feel free to join the R (@racialicious) and (NBPC (@BLKPublicMedia) and our guest tweeters:

The hashtags for tonight are #AfricanElection and #AfroPoPTV.

See you in eight hours!

Related:

An African Election Podcast: Latoya Peterson with Barak Hoffman

An African Election Podcast: Latoya Peterson with Frankie Edozien

Women To Watch In Ghanaian Politics [An African Election]

An African Election: What American Women Can Learn From Ghanaian Feminists 

An African Election Tweet-Up: Ghanaian Women And The 2008 Election With Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

An African Election: African Feminisms With Minna Salami and Yaba Blay

What Votes Count? On Voter Fraud And Intimidation [An African Election]

The Right To Information: A Building Block Of Democracy [An African Election]

An African Election: Pan-Africanism and Ghana’s 2008 Election With Dr. James Peterson

An African Election: A 21st-Century Ghanaian Politics Primer With Dr. Benjamin Talton

An African Election‘s Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics

An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

 

Women To Watch In Ghanaian Politics [An African Election]

By Latoya Peterson

Like so many other nations, the political landscape in Ghana is dominated by men. An African Election takes a look at the key players in the battle for the highest office in the land–but aside from a few brief comments from Hanna Tetteh, the election is yet another boys’ club. But that doesn’t mean that women aren’t on the scene.

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An African Election: What American Women Can Learn From Ghanaian Feminists

By Tamara Winfrey Harris

The Manifesto therefore provides a platform of a common set of demands for the achievement of gender equality and equity and sustainable national development. It allows women to articulate their concerns in the 2004 Elections and beyond. Women are thereby empowered to use their votes as a bargaining tool and recruit others to do the same. The Manifesto provides female and male candidates with an agenda once they are elected to parliament and the District Assemblies.  Finally, it would ensure political party accountability as they would ultimately be assessed on the basis of where they stand in relation to issues that concern women as outlined in the Women’s Manifesto. (Read the full Women’s Manifesto for Ghana here.)

In America, we are so convinced of our brand of democracy’s superiority that we are loathe to look beyond our shores for inspiration. And if we did, it is safe to say we would not look to Africa, a place the mainstream still imagines as a “dark continent” of indistinct and disadvantaged countries and peoples. What could the U.S.A. possibly learn from a country like Ghana?

AfroPop’s documentary “An African Election,” which premieres at 8:30 pm ET, Monday, Oct. 1, illustrates that riveting, hard-fought elections; charismatic politicos; and engaged, change-focused electorates are not exclusive to America. In a short 55 years, Ghana won its independence from the British, experienced four coups d’etat, and successfully transitioned into democracy. And there is something else to be learned by American women concerned about legislative efforts to curb our freedoms–Ghana is exactly where we might look for a response to the “war on women.”

Read more at Clutch Magazine…

An African Election: Ghanaian Women And The 2008 Election With Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

Racialicious and National Black Programming Consortium’s AfroPoP.TV couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up our tweet-up series than to bring the tweetversation back to democracy…and how the one in Ghana affects the women in that nation. We asked our very wonderful guest tweeter, Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, to offer her insights about Jarreth Merz’s documentary and its portrayal of women, the election the documentary chronicles and the policies women’s groups agitated for in the Women’s Manifesto For Ghana, the struggles that Ghanaian feminists still face to ensure gender equity in the nation, and her own place in the larger matrix of feminism.

An excerpt of the tweet-up after the jump.

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What Votes Count? On Voter Fraud And Intimidation [An African Election]

It all came down to Tain. In An African Election, the results of the 2008 were decided based on multiple run-off votes. Each time, the paper ballots were painstakingly counted and verified, and there was much discussion about not disenfranchising the elderly and those who did not have formal identification.

But times have changed. Continue reading

The Right to Information: A Building Block of Democracy [An African Election]

What does it mean when citizens have the right to information? For a democracy to function, citizens must be able to make informed decisions, both in their daily lives as well as at the ballot box. As Ghana approaches its election season, the debates around transparency and access are at an all time high — but none is more watched than the Right to Information Bill (the RTI for short).

Democracy is a very simple concept with a very complicated execution. The creation and continuation of democracy is normally messy – entrusting the people to be informed and active participants in a society is a challenge for nations much further along in their histories. Between decolonization, military coups, and transitioning to Democracy, Ghana finds itself on the forefront of defining a new way toward democracy.
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An African Election Tweet-Up: Pan-Africanism And Ghana’s 2008 Election

Pan-Africanism has such a hold on quite a few progressive people’s imaginations, but why and, more specifically, how did it play out in the 2008 election of where that philosophy originated, Ghana, as captured in Jarreth Merz’s documentary, An African Election?

Racialicious and the National Black Programming Consortium touched on it in our last tweet-up with Temple University’s Dr. Benjamin Talton. This week, we’ll do an extended tweetersation about Pan-Africanism and Ghana with Dr. James Peterson, who’s the director of Africana Studies and is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University (and a friend of the R).

So, check us out out on Twitter tomorrow night at 9PM ET and join the conversation!

Related Posts:

An African Election‘s Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics

An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

An African Election on Twitter