So Africa is not a country and Africans don't speak "African." What about the most pernicious stereotype -- that in the face of ongoing civil war and unending famine, "Africans" are powerless and need our help?
If you see a problem in the world or even in your personal life, it is important to address it head on. Too often, people choose to look the other way to live in denial about a problem with the hope it will magically disappear.
Rather than disparage Kony 2012 and its makers, as if we'd like the video to disappear as breathtakingly fast as it appeared, I hope teachers in classrooms and families at dinner tables will take this opportunity to discuss these issues about which most of us are woefully ignorant.
Watching Kony 2012, I feel manipulated. I don't want to be coddled like a toddler or seduced by filmmaking strategies that appeal to my age demographic. I want to be challenged to understand the world differently.
It remains to be seen what will become of this spotlight. But the Kony 2012 movement shows that you can activate the next generation in social engagement -- in a purpose that's greater than themselves and silly cats.
Right now there are potentially hundreds of millions of youth interested in Uganda and hungry for guidance. Experts must positively engage this expanding global dialogue and to teach the conversation upwards.
If the aim, as Invisible Children purports, is ending armed conflict, then the "capture Kony" route is at best of limited effectiveness -- more likely still it is a myopic policy with a plethora of unintended consequences.
Invisible Children has been criticized for not spending enough money on programs. But Invisible Children is an advocacy organization. They spend money on media -- not direct aid -- because that's their strategy.