Victimization Slows Progress

by Tre B.

While I'm usually the first to step out in defense of my African brothers and sisters in the motherland and at first this video upset me, I thought about it for a minute, and realized that this is just another example of the victim mentality inhibiting creative thinking and problem solving.  Whether it's the African's themselves or the Eurocentric journalists producing the story that are thrusting this victim status on these farmers, this line of thought does not result in productive solutions.  For example, they're saying that the solution is for the US government to stop subsidizing their farmers.  This takes control of the situation out of African hands and puts it into the hands of the US government.  In the long history of US/African relations, does it make any sense to think that the US will do what's best for Africa?  No, so why waste time and energy trying to change something that you have little power to change.  Why not focus on solutions that you can implement yourselves, such as:

1) Creating an African cotton trade association to promote African cotton as a premium product directly to consumers, who would then create a demand for products manufactured with African cotton (like the Made in Africa shirts that we sell at  These products may be a little more expensive, but the difference is minor to consumers in "developed" countries.

2) Get off cotton completely.  First, because it is not an environmentally friendly crop, it's water intensive, and it is an inferior fiber in terms of strength and durability.  Second, because monocultures of any kind are no good.  If all you grow on your farm is one thing, you will always be subject to larger fluctuations in your personal income.  Some better cotton substitutes would be hemp or bamboo, which produce better fibers for fabric and paper, and can be used to make tons of other products.

3) Instead of these organizations spending time and money lobbying the US government, use those resources to teach the farmers how to grow more varieties of crops on the same land and grow stuff that doesn't grow in the US so they don't have to worry about US subsidies.

Now, I realize all these proposed solutions are easier said than done, and I just thought of them off the top of my head, but they're much easier than getting the US to "play fair" with Africa when the US has a strong interest in keeping Africa weak and dependent.  Let the 21st century be the century that we Africans stop playing the victim and start controlling our own destiny.  As a matter of fact, I think I'll design a t-shirt around that concept...