Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The World's a Melting Pot - the falsity of racial constructs in pictures

Mongolia, like Siberia live in my mind as mysterious, harsh, desolate places. We watched a travel documentary the other night that sparked my imagination and opened that travel bug within me.

The show followed two Canadian guys through Mongolia. Apart from the gorgeous scenery and stark solitude of it’s expanse, I was intrigued the most by it’s people.

I have always been interested in the peoples of the world – what they look like, what they do, where they come from.

Mongolia on a map is a largely empty area between China and Russia, and not surprisingly the people look vary Asian but also with Russian or Causasian features. Some are blond and blue eyed. They defied my preconceived notions.

This got me thinking about race as a concept and how the world is held together, but apart, by defining places and people within a racial framework. We assume that people from a certain part of the world will look a certain way, and we make sweeping judgments. Ultimately we separate ourselves based on these assumptions.

All of this rekindled my passion for learning more about people. I started scouring the net about groups of people that defy our preconceived ideas. People that prove race is a box we need to see beyond. I discovered that due to human migration patterns, genetics and various mutations, people around the world exhibit far more similarities than we imagined.

Many sites discuss these topics, and include photos of people that surprised me and intrigued me further. I decided to gather some of the photos to share.
Maybe we can all learn something about our connectedness through the innocent eyes of the children:

These are photos from the Hmong peoples in Laos and the Uyghur peoples in China:

These next pictures are of kids from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India from groups like the Nuristanis, Kalash, Kashmir, Kurghan, Rajasthan (very interesting to read about these groups of people!):

So who are the redheads of the world? Who has green eyes or blonde hair? The existence of these diverse characteristics across continents and geographies should show us how alike we really are, how some of us moved west, some north etc., but we left the DNA markers to remind ourselves that the boundaries we create now are a facade. Just look at the children's faces - it's in their eyes that we all are one :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Every Jealous is a killer, and other Ghana-izms

Here are a bunch of great photos from the streets of Ghana - borrowed from Arnold Quainoo Junior, courtesy of facebook - thanks for the laughs AQJ!!!

Sometimes a spelling error of just one letter can be tragic!

This one, although both cute and funny, is actually sad as well, since it speaks to the state of the Ghanaian public education system...

This is wrong on so many levels...

It can be scary if you miss one letter!

So you'll only need the place for 40 days then? Yes, starting on Ash Wednesday.

Every jealous is a killer.

Well, they did fix the E in MENU....

The spelling error for electrician could be explained away, but BATTLE CHARGER??

No doubt straight from China to the shores of Africa. No one will notice the minor difference!

Well I don't think they even needed the words for this poster...

Friday, July 2, 2010

1000 fans sent home, but 1bn rally around Ghana today!

"The stands will be slightly less studded with red, yellow, and green at the Ghana-Uruguay World Cup game today in Johannesburg. One thousand Ghanaian football fans, bankrolled by their government to cheer on the Black Stars, have been sent home due to lack of funding."

I read this article this morning with mixed feelings. I must admit I was shocked to hear that the Ghana government, in a country where the majority of the population live below the poverty line, and which collects millions in aid from around the world for the very basics, would spend what some speculate is over USD$5m on soccer fans!!!

But having said that, I was even more shocked and dismayed to hear that the funds ran out just before Ghana played their last game against the USA - and the 1000 fans that were shipped in for the sole purpose of supporting the team, were sent back home. Pathetic!

It hasn't been easy for these fans either. On their arrival in South Africa on a chartered plane, they were forced to land and held - with the pilots charged - apparently they had entered SA airspace without permissions or notification! Once cleared and set up at a hotel, these funded supporters created a vicious mob in the streets of Johannesburg, due to the mismanagement of their trip and the fact that many would not get match tickets... what a mess.

Despite all this however, Ghana has pulled through as the only African team to make it to the quarter finals - which means they will have at least 1 billion fans (about the population of Africa) for tonight's game against Uruguay.

I've never been a sports fan, never like soccer but I love to see people pulling together for a common aim. I love to see the pride in people's eyes, and the happiness that fills the streets when the team wins. I have watched every nail-biting twist and turn of the Ghana games. I was out there in the streets after the USA victory with my red, gold and green YES WE CAN! t-shirt. I've got it on again today. Hopefully the team feels the spirit behind them - it's strong!!!

I only wish Ghana would be half as successful at organising and motivating the government and the average citizen as they are at producing world class footballers. If Africa had the same unity of purpose on so many other levels, this would be a different continent today.

Go Black Stars, Go!!!!
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