Even though it has been long established that the New York Times (NYT) is an extremely derogatory and racist publication, and leaves no stone unturned to reinforce the “white supremacy”, they find the need to come at it again- this time regarding Africa. A recent advertisement posted for inviting applications for the post of a new News Bureau Chief for its Nairobi Office in Kenya, New York Times has stirred up quite a controversy in the African continent, which has now become international news. The content of the ad is quite problematic as it points to the kind of racist and stereotypical culture prevailing at New York Times.
The job description read, “Our Nairobi bureau chief has a tremendous opportunity to dive into news and enterprise across a wide range of countries, from the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and the shores of Tanzania. It is an enormous patch of vibrant, intense and strategically important territory with many vital story lines, including terrorism, the scramble for resources, the global contest with China and the constant push-and-pull of democracy versus authoritarianism. The ideal candidate should enjoy jumping on news, be willing to cover conflict, and also be drawn to investigative stories. There is also the chance to delight our readers with unexpected stories of hope and the changing rhythms of life in a rapidly evolving region.”
The @nytimes advertised the following vacancy for a #Nairobi Bureau Chief position. If we wouldn’t know better you would think it was written by a colonial master that never left. Colonialism is still around in a big way, under various guises. Let #Africa choose its own stories! pic.twitter.com/Wp413KULGo
— Boutaïna Azzabi Ezzaouia (@Boutaina) July 4, 2019
As has been rightly pointed out by the Twitterati, the job description does seem to be written by a colonial master. By describing a natural resource in the continent as “pirate seas of the Horn of Africa”, the editors have not only insulted the continent but also the very people they seek to enlist for the job. NYT further describes Africa as an “important territory with many vital story lines, including terrorism, the scramble for resources, the global contest with China and the constant push-and-pull of democracy versus authoritarianism,” clearly having nothing good to say about the place or its people. To say that NYT believes that all Africa has are third world problems would be incorrect as in a very magnanimous gesture, NYT stated, “There is also the chance to delight our readers with unexpected stories of hope.” How absolutely lovely for the people of Africa that NYT believes that they too can sometimes, unexpectedly offer a positive story or two.
This ad just shows the kind of stereotypes the editors at NYT harbor. The worst part of the whole exercise is that the ad was intended to attract applicants. Unfortunately, the New York Times felt that the only way to do so would be to put the country of the prospective applicants down. More so, had someone else done the same thing, NYT would have wasted no time to label the particular act as “stereotypical”. When will NYT practice what they preach?
This blatant disregard of anyone situated east of them is nothing new to the supposed liberal publication. India has often been on the receiving end of their racism and supremacism. In 2014, when India had successfully put the Mangalyaan into the Mars orbit, NYT had published a very derogatory and racist cartoon in their issue. Instead of lauding India for its achievement, as an unbiased media organization would have, NYT sneered the countrymen and its cows- the holy animal, portraying India in a very bad light.
Not just the people, NYT has also insulted Hindu traditions and religion in the past, by publishing an article on UP CM Yogi Adityanath, titled, “Head of Militant Hindu Temple ascends India’s political ladder”. The title itself is quite scandalous in itself for it doesn’t merely slander Yogi Adityanath himself, who is fair game considering he is a politician, but slanders the entire Nath Sampradaya and gravely insults the centuries old tradition of the Monastic sect by dubbing a Temple, a place where Hindus believe Devas themselves reside, as ‘Militant’. One is forced to ask, how can a Temple be ‘militant’?
This just illustrates the arrogance of the NYT which is preventing them for being sensitive towards people of all religions and regions. The publication still lives in the 18th century ideals of white supremacy; thus, they expect places like Africa or India and their people to be barbarous and uncivilized, unable to progress as per the “western notions”. Moreover, should anything “development worthy” happen, it is an abomination of nature which is to be treated as “unexpected”. Such pre-conceived notions in the minds of the editors of NYT reflects the whole culture of the publication, and the people of Africa did right to point them out on their blatant racism which is neither accepted nor will be tolerated.