It takes a lot for news and issues from the continent of Africa to make US headlines or get air-time. My theory is that the only reason the Ebola outbreak got so much media attention was because of the potential threat it posed to folks outside West Africa’s borders. But when Africa’s happenings aren’t perceived to impact us, the media is quick to program coverage over their scheduled time slots – in this case -in favor of things like an extensive debate about the defense’s case in the Chris Kyle murder trial or the Democratic National Convention.
Where has the coverage on the civil war in South Sudan been?…
Heard much about the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda lately?…
Sure, you can argue that Boko Haram has been in the headlines over the past year for the kidnapping female students. But, where was the media coverage in January when Boko Haram murdered more people than any other month to date? Yesterday, how many of you heard about the deadly blast they caused in a Nigerian market? The truth is that Americans eat-up humanitarian stories with catchy social media-ready phrases like “#bringbackourgirls,” but when it comes to the well-being of the African continent, without the hip-phraseology, US airtime will be allocated elsewhere.
About a week ago, Tim and I were watching the nightly news on CNN when we saw an ad that the following Wednesday (this past Wednesday) their Inside Africa show would be doing a story on how the lakes and rivers in Uganda are helping industry, ecology, and the Ugandan people. As a couple adopting from Uganda who are hoping to learn as much about the country’s culture as we can glean from books, TV, and the internet, we programmed our DVR, added the day/time to our phone calendars, and made sure we were home from our little dinner out in time for this show.
But instead, CNN decided to cover other things (see the first paragraph). The scheduled programming reader-board teasing me with the “Inside Africa” title still showing. Maybe they will just jump to it late. Maybe its actually on next. Or, maybe CNN decided, once again, to ignore Africa in favor of analyzing something that they had covered all day to death.
All right America, stop hash-tagging catchy slogans – I’m talking about you #bringbackourgirls and #blacklivesmatter – when they are popular, and start prioritizing programming that highlights black cultures in positive ways. Contrary to popular belief, some of us were actually looking forward to watching!