Whenever I introduce myself to people I am always asked where I am from because of my accent and unique name and after replying that I am from Africa. Like clockwork, I am always bombarded with the usual questions about my country. Sometimes these questions are genuine, which I love to answer and sometimes the questions are so ridiculous the only thing I want to do is to just roll my eyes and ignore them. There is something called the Internet now, which could be used to research about other countries, so there is really no excuse as to why such ignorant questions are asked. However, in order not to sound like an idiot the next time you talk to an African, here are some questions that would help you think NOT to ask.
1. “Do you have any shorter way of saying your name?”
I know foreign names can be a hand full sometimes to pronounce but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to at least get it right. Trying to get an African person's name right would in fact, actually make the person more appreciative of your effort.
2. “Do you guys live in huts and jungles?”
The gif is my exact reaction to this question. Sadly, we don't. We do not live in trees and with animals like Tarzan and Jane. We live in buildings like every normal human being in the world.
3. “What to do you guys wear?”
I never really expected to be asked this kind of question, but alas, here we are. We do not walk around naked, we wear normal t-shirts and jeans like everyone else. We only wear our traditional outfits when we have important occasions or if we are in the mood to wear them.
4. “Do you know Beyoncé?”
This is kind of an insult to Queen Bey because it means she is not as worldwide famous as she expects. I do not only know Beyoncé, I know Rihanna and every other American famous person you can think of.
5. “How come you speak English so well?”
English is one of the vernaculars spoken in most African countries. It is the number one spoken language after a country's indigenous language, which is why most Africans are fluent in it.
6. “Do you guys have electricity?”
I was really surprised to be asked this question because we are in the 21st century, and there has been so many innovative technology making waves all around the world. But I suppose there are some ignorant people who do not know what's happening in countries outside of theirs. We not only have electricity, but we also have the internet and every kind of social amenity that every other country in the world enjoys.
7. “Do you know how to hunt?”
I find this question hilarious because i think it is quite flattering for people to think that I am brave enough to kill an animal, but unfortunately, Africans do not go out to hunt for meat whenever we are hungry. I am actually anti-animal brutality so I can't stand to see any animal get hurt.
8. “Can you speak African?”
First of all, Africa is a continent with over 50 countries in it. These countries have their own indigenous languages which they speak, so no, there is nothing like African as a language itself.
9. “Do you have any wild pets?”
I know the media portrays Africa as a beautiful continent with an awesome landscape filled with an abundance of wild animals but sadly, we do not keep these animals in our backyards or even keep them as pets.
10. “Is America really different from home?"
No, it is not. Everything available here in America we have back home. In fact, it is kinda like my home away from home.
I know some movies and the news portray Africa as a continent filled with a bunch of black Tarzans and Janes of the earth living in trees and dying in poverty, but it really isn't like that. We have evolved a lot as a continent so please and please, try to ask more smart questions about the countries in it.