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Category Archives: Stereotypes

Tea and the “narrative of Terror”

Even as [Three Cups of Tea] appears to provide a self-critical and humane perspective on terrorism, [this] article argues that it constructs a misleading narrative of terror in which the realities of Northern Pakistan and Muslim lifeworlds are distorted through simplistic tropes of ignorance, backwardness and extremism, while histories of US geopolitics and violence are erased. The text has further facilitated the emergence of a participatory militarism, whereby humanitarian work helps to reinvent the military as

Also posted in Books and book reviews | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

The African Success Story

If there was a theme to the development stories I read last week it was that the good news about rising standards of living on much of the African continent is not getting the recognition it deserves in the mainstream imagination.

In case you don’t agree that people have a negatively skewed image of Africa as a whole, try this experiment: Ask an educated, well-read (but non-Africanist) friend or relative to estimate what percentage of…

Also posted in Books and book reviews, In the news | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Er, Yes, Madam, Muslims do want liberty

There is a common view that Muslims don’t share the values of liberty and democracy, as expounded by, say, to take a random example, Michele Bachmann from a few years ago.

Do recent events vindicate those who had already argued there was a universal hunger for liberty? One of them was Michael Novak, who says today in a Wall Street Journal oped  (gated, sorry) today:

{There was} the slumbering yet restless desire for liberty

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Human rights, In the news, Language | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

The Swimsuit Debate continues (sigh)….

…probably exhausting the patience of this blog’s readers. Robin Hanson responds to my updated post on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue:

Easterly doesn’t explain how exactly watching swimsuit models induces disrespect and harassment, and I find it hard to see the imagined causal path.

As I made clear to Robin in an email exchange, I don’t think this debate hinges on an empirical claim. Nobody decides whether to use the N-word or not based…

Also posted in In the news, Women and gender | Tagged , | 24 Comments

So now we have to save ourselves and the world, too? A critique of “the girl effect”

by Anna Carella, PhD student in political science at Vanderbilt University

Women have increasingly become the focus of international economic development projects, as exemplified by “the girl effect,” a catchphrase and global phenomenon that suggests that development projects aimed at women will succeed because women are more likely to nurture their families and communities.

The “girl effect” initiative was launched by the Nike Foundation in 2008 and has gained traction in the media (Save a Girl,

Also posted in Badvocacy and celebs, Women and gender | Tagged , | 45 Comments

Aid Watch Rerun: And Now For Something Completely Different: Davos Features “Refugee Run”

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Over the holidays, we’ll be publishing reruns of some of our posts from the first 2 years of Aid Watch. This post originally ran on Jan 28, 2008, and attracted a firestorm of comments, passionately for and against the idea. There will be a similar event again this year at Davos.

Refugee-Run-Text-4.JPG

When somebody sent me this invitation from Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I thought at first

Also posted in Aid debates, Badvocacy and celebs, Human rights | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Haiti we don’t see

Haiti is not always and all the time earthquakes, hurricanes, deforestation, misery, rape, corruption, kidnappings, poverty, garbage, violence, gangs, wasted aid, cholera, election fraud, dirty water, orphans and amputees.

These pictures, the result of an NGO-funded collaboration between a Canadian photojournalist and 22 Haitian teenagers living in Jacmel and Croix des Bouquets, are a beautiful reminder that Haiti is also babies with chickens, landscapes, going to school, solitude, hair-dos and cookouts. Via Linda Raftree, blogging at Wait…What?

Tagged , | 3 Comments

Africa Clichés, Part LXXVIII

The blog Africa is a Country reacts to the NYT Magazine’s Coverage of John “Save Darfur” Prendergast. The best summary is from former NYT Reporter Howard French’s Twitter feed: “Bwana Saves Africa, Part 3,276.”

The same blog had a post yesterday on cringe-inducing attempts to have a supermodel portray an “Africa” theme at a certain fashion show. It reminded me of crude Hollywood portrayals of Africa when I was a child.  And…

Also posted in Badvocacy and celebs | 6 Comments

Why doesn’t the other gender care about Gender?

Thirty years on, it is proving harder than many of us had hoped for gender and development policy and practice to move beyond familiar stereotypes – women as abject victims or splendid heroines, men as all-powerful perpetrators.

Axioms abound: ‘women are the poorest of the poor’, ‘women give more priority to others – men invest more resources in themselves’, ‘women live in a more sustainable way than men and cause less climate change’, ‘women are

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Women and gender | 9 Comments

World Bank busted for stereotypical images of Ghana

The World Bank has apologized for photographs on the web site for participants at its recent annual meetings, which showed offensive stereotypes about Ghana. A Ghanaian journalist broke the story after he saw the images portraying “a country full of hungry and miserable people.” This has prompted an outcry and debate in Ghana.

Also posted in Poverty | 7 Comments