Both of the articles I read share the same idea of trying to see the culture from different perspectives instead of just preserving the conventional thinking.
The article China in Africa started with the author Tao was not expecting to find an authentic Chinese restaurant in Accra, Ghana, whereas it turned out that his family had a truly authentic dinner and he even went back again before he departed Tema. Through talking to the Chinese people who were also dining in that restaurant, he was impressed by the fact that there were currently 70,000 Chinese people in Ghana without any safety issues. However, after talking to a Ghanaian taxi driver, he found out that there were more and more Ghanaians have bad conceptions towards all of the Chinese people, because there many Chinese gold miners do illegal poaching and they were detained by the Ghanaian government. However, Tao wants to argue that these negative perceptions can only be attributed to those Chinese gold miners who conducted illegal poaching, most Chinese people and especially Chinese government are friendly even generous to African countries. For example, many Africans have undoubtedly benefited from more than 20 billion dollars of aid provided by Chinese government. In addition, “China has established 48 Confucius Institutes in 38 African countries and 27 Confucius Classrooms in 15 countries” and there are about 60,000 African students in China.
Based on my interpretation of those misconceptions of Ghanaians have towards Chinese, I think it is not Ghanaians’ faults to magnify their misunderstandings towards all the Chinese after their homeland receive threats from Chinese people, after all some Chinese people did betray the law. Yet, in my opinion, those misconceptions cannot represent the credibility of all-Chinese, because the majority of Chinese are nice and supportive when it comes to the establishing China – Africa economic ties. Furthermore, I am a Chinese student came to Ghana to have a May – experience course with my college. As a tourist and student, my goal is about gaining the culture experience while acquiring more understanding about the connection between culture and media. Instead of doing harmful things to Ghanaians, I contributed auspicious effects to the Ghanaian society. For example, I went to Krofu village with the students and faculty members from my school to help out with construction work and played with African children. Moreover, I brought positive cultural images of Chinese people to my host families, even the Ghanaians friends I made during this trip. While I am living with my Ghanaian host family, I not only gain some Ghanaian culture, but also give my host family some Chinese thinking.
For the article The Case of Contamination, the author Appiah evokes readers to think about that mixing of different cultures is sound to achieve globalization and cosmopolitan. For example, Appiah uses Kumasi as an example to exert reemphasize this idea that without immersing in different cultures, Kumasi may not be able to help Africans fight against racial discrimination. Instead of considering incorporating a variety of cultures as homogeneity, Appiah reckons these associating features more as integration, that different people from different cultures adopting ideas which can have contributing effects to their own societies. Furthermore, by promoting this idea, Appiah also suggests that stagnant cultures cannot make themselves being thrive all the time, because no continuities and changes are applied on them. The preservation of traditions of a culture is crucial to perpetuate its distinct identity, but it is meaningful to select the good features from other cultures and dispel the features, which would not be beneficial to itself. I might use myself as an example to reflect my agreement with Appiah. So far I’ve gained a lot of cultural experiences after I came to Ghana, and there are pros and cons. For example, I really enjoyed the hospitality of all the Ghanaians so far I’ve met. They are all so nice and kind. Every single day the cook in our host family asks us what do we want to have for dinner before she prepares it for us. In addition, my host brother offers me rides to go to different places and tries to hangout with us just in case we might feel lonely. And those precious identities from nice Ghanaians I’ve met so far really impress me and make me appreciate them. However, Ghanaians are very not punctual, and I’ve already had so many experiences of endlessly waiting. Moreover, most Ghanaians think that our dresses and shorts are too shorts and suggest us to change them into longer ones. I really respect their ideas of being conservative about clothing, but I think I will preserve my own dressing style as long as my outfit does not have a bad influence to the society.
China in Africa: What’s the Real Story? By Xie Tao
The Case for Contamination by Kwame Anthony Appiah