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 Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 From: Laurel Aguilar, St. Andrews University <email@example.com> As an American citizen, who spent some years living in Africa, and is now living in Europe, married to a South American citizen, I find myself disturbed by the categorizations of people in this discussion. I am finishing a novel set primarily in Africa, about Africans, and find much more to say about differences between Africans within Africa, within a nation, within a small geographical area, and indeed within adjoining neighborhoods, than differences between European and African peoples. Does the fact I am not born an African preclude me from writing this work? And does the same standard apply if an African person writes about a place they have lived, say, London, or Chicago?  Date: Wed, 23 Dec From: Robert Handloff <firstname.lastname@example.org> I am becoming somewhat exercised about the all too precious discussion on the disservice done to Africa by the fictional writings of westerners whether writing about Africa or with Africa as background. Somehow I cannot imagine American historians becoming so engrossed on whether or not Tom Wolfe's depictions of New York and Atlanta are valid and reliable or whether Mark Twain indeed needs to be rewritten to asuage injured sensitivities or whether Louis L'Amour has enhanced or diminished the image of the west or whether Flannery O'Connor's depictions of the rural south have done irreperable harm. Some fictional works by westerners depicting Africa and Africans have been gloriously successful in conveying images which are compatible with the Africa which we know. Attempting the same task, others have failed; but that holds true for all literature for all places. Why single out out Africa?