The World Cup is in full swing, giving Americans the rare opportunity to engage with other countries and wonder what life must be like across the oceans that separate us. And not only have the international games given us an opportunity to watch exciting games while drinking in bars and swoon over good-looking athletes, they have also shined a very special spotlight on how little we know about other parts of the world, particularly Africa.
The company's tweet drove home one clear point: we know nothing about Africa, even though we think we do.
Maybe it's because our first introduction to the continent as children made us think it was like this:
Whatever the reason, we don't know what we're talking about, and we prove it to ourselves daily.
For example, remember when people confused Morgan Freeman for Nelson Mandela after his death?
Or how about the fact that most people think all of Africa looks like this?
When really, some places look like this.
For some reason, we can't understand how people in African countries could possibly be watching the World Cup on the same devices and television screens we're using in the west.
— Africa is a Country (@AfricasaCountry) June 16, 2014
And of course we butcher African names any chance we get.
Oh hey, remember that time Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra. We're talking about Cleopatra the queen of Egypt. You know that country Egypt, the one that's in Africa? Sure she was a descendant of the Macedonians/Greeks, but historians argue she also had African ancestry and likely wasn't as fair-skinned as some would like to think she was.
And let's not forget how the glorious Internet has shaped our view of what life must be like in Africa. For example, two of the most popular images are the ridiculous child memes of the "Skeptical African Kid" and "African Kids Dancing."
Or how about the fact that people -- including celebrities -- don't even understand that Africa is a CONTINENT, not a country.
We'll just let Miss South Carolina of the Miss Teen USA 2007 bring this one home.
In short, we have a lot to learn about the world. But we certainly have a lot to learn about Africa and we really should start working on that.