Friday, August 10, 2007

The Hearts of Darkness


The Hearts of Darkness

How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa

By Milton G. Allimadi

Published by:Black Star Books, Co.

ISBN #:0-9740039-0-5

85 pp

Reviewed by:Carol Taylor

This classic book had to be published – the truth had to be stated.

It has, con mucho gusto, by an African-born topnotch investigator, Ugandan veteran journalist Milton Allimadi, the incisive, clear thinking world affairs commentator, Publisher of New York City’s Black Star newspaper.

If words help to shape human behavior and deeds, and they do – then certainly, Allimadi’s well-chosen, descriptive quotes serve to reiterate the book’s important main focus on the racism (colorism) replete in white writers’ coverage. (Notice he doesn’t call them “journalists,” – many of whom contributed to the New York Times down through the years)

Quoting from his extensive ‘Sources’ list, he includes African Notebook by Albert Schweitzer, African Religions in Western Scholarship, by Ugandan Okot p ‘Bitek, Black Skins, White Masks, by Dr.Frantz Fanon, and Notes On The State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson, among others. These provide substantial grounding for Allimadi’s conclusion that, unlike news reports covering social unrest in Europe, (never, of course, “white-on-white crime”) similar unrest in Black Africa was always portrayed by white writers (and, unfortunately, by some low-self esteemed Black writers) as ‘tribal unrest’ and/or “Black-on-Black crime” – (an ultra-racist/colorist phrase).

One of the most harrowing aspects of Allimadi’s herculean and critical analysis of the misrepresentation of affairs in Africa is that those of us ‘Westerners’ who consider ourselves mightily literate and nicely well-read, have been arrogantly ignorant of how the white wool of color-biased reporting has been purposefully and continuously pulled over our eyes by writers who have been held up to us as “journalism’s finest.”

The Hearts of Darkness, thank veracity and goodness, has irretrievably snatched the wool off and illustrated, with vivid prose, that it’s really the truth - that’s ‘fit to print.’

Reviewer’s Warning: Be prepared for some strongly-abhorrent quotations from quoted white writers.

No comments: