To Most Gambians America Only Means White People

I can’t say for sure about the rest of the world (although I’m probably right) but in the Gambia America means white people,  unless they are Niki Minaj, Chris Brown, or Rhianna. (People here have a serious obsession with Chris Brown …its rather frightening).

Education is on the rise here but it is still seriously lacking. There are many Gambians who think Europe and America are on the same continent and occasionally the same country.  Most people have never seen a map of anywhere including their own country  and the ones who have can barely read one.

There is a  staggering lack of awareness of diversity about American in the Gambia. Most people here get their information about the U.S. from our movies and media (that definitely says something about the diversity in our media). They know people who aren’t white live in the U.S. but it never occurs to most they were born there and didn’t immigrate.

I cant tell you how many times people have questioned the fact I am American and its only my accent that even lets them half believe me. Once they do then they proceed to ask me “which one of your parents/grants parents is a white?” because you have to be “white” somewhere to be American.

I complain but its not everyone and most people eventually accept that a near relative does not have to be white for you to be an American.  The volunteers of Asian descent have a tend to have a much more difficult time in country than I do. I don’t even try to explain the fact that Korea and China are two different places anymore.



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