There is no way I'd be able to pull this one off without some of my fellow journalism students telling me that I am getting too snarky for my own good.
But when you're William Easterly, NYU professor and author of The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (mandatory reading for IDS students the world over, apparently), you can pull it off.
So here it is, straight from the Professor Easterly and the Development Research Institute at NYU:
The Exploiting Africa Academy Awards.
the Exploiting Africa Academy Award (EAAA) nominations to recognize
films who do the best against stiff competition to portray the most
insulting and exploitative images of Africans, usually being heroically
saved by some white people."
A few of the principal nominees, as recounted on the NYU Development Research Institute website:
Machine Gun Preacher. This
one is so exemplary that it inspired the EAAA in the first place. A
commercial film based on a violent ex-con turned violent Christian who
goes to central Africa to shoot bad guys and rescue any children still
alive after the cross-fire. Principal white saviors :
based on “true(?)” story of ex-biker-gang-member Sam Childers, supported
in the movie by a beautiful model playing his
Thankfully, Machine Gun Preacher didn't ever really get a lot of attention here in Winnipeg. Oh Gerard Butler, did you really have to act in this one? I don't think I will ever be able to watch P.S I Love You in the same way again.
Blood Diamond. Educated
the movie-going audience about the acronym TIA to be used whenever
anything horrible happens in the movie — “This Is Africa”. Principal white saviors: mercenary and smuggler Leonardo diCaprio supported by gorgeous journalist Jennifer Connelly.
Well...yeah. Except that I know quite a few Africans who would list this movie as one of their favourites. And as for TIA(This Is Africa)--I feel like that saying has been reclaimed by quite a few Ugandan men who like to tell me, with a note of pride in their voice, "TIA, Amanda--you must hold on tightly"--as we speed off on a motorbike on a dirt road or through Kampala traffic at rush hour.
Darfur. About how Western correspondents protect African females and children against male African killers. Principal White Saviors: macho journalists supported by one attractive female journalist.
Journalists are more than just chroniclers of events and circumstances. Telling a specific story in a specific way can have just as much of an impact as the events themselves. If you look at the full list of nominees on the original post, most of the films are linked to journalists/journalism in some way. It's something to think about.
Any thoughts? Please feel free to share comments below!