I'd won a free ticket to see a performance at Dance Place so we went to DanceAfrica, DC 2008 on Saturday. The three groups that performed were Americans who seemed to promote a very idealized view of Africa - bucolic, with multiple generations helping each other out "in the village." It was telling that during the introductions no one ever specified a country. I'm glad this was an opportunity for people to see a a bit of Africa, if an American version, but at least give proper credit to the origins.
We are certainly suffering from African, or more accurately Sahelian, temperatures today. The air-conditioning in the office was out so around noon I came home and actually got a lot done. I even saw MoBob when he came for lunch. Before I left the office I spoke with a colleague in France who'd like me to bring something for him: a prototype prosthetic foot. He assured me that I shouldn't have any problems going through customs.
I wonder if it is good for people to be exposed in such a manner, better than not being exposed at all...? Doesn't that just promote the same simplistic view that creates stereotypes, which treads on the road toward dehumanization?
Maybe they don't know because they made it up from their own heads and their own concepts of what "African" must be, and just called it "African!" I don't get the feeling that you like to get too inflamed about this sort of thing, but there's recently been a series of posts in sex_and_race discussing this white woman that's gone all "native American" and has been trooping around singing and dancing (and healing?) in different parts of the US. Sorry, but this is appropriation, and it's not innocent or useful. I'm not drawing a direct parallel between this and the dance troupe that you saw, but when people can't be bothered to attribute, it makes me wonder.