Black Man's Burden

by Mack Reynolds
Reviewed date: 2018 Dec 7
Rating: 2
95 pages
Serialized in Analog Science Fact and Fiction December 1961 and January 1962
cover art

A bunch of educated liberal black Americans cruise around North Africa using all manner of subversive propaganda to spur the people out of their primitive and petty tribal ways and into a modern future. Perhaps a united Africa will soon be a world superpower to rival the Western and Soviet blocs.

Homer Crawford works in Africa with the funding of the Reunited Nations. He figures the tribesmen are still too primitive and wary of outside ideas (because of colonialism and such) so whenever he introduces Western ideas he ascribes them to a fictional African leader named El Hassan.

But do the Africans themselves want this? Can a bunch of black Americans funded by the Reunited Nations and operating from a paternalistic Western worldview actually know better than Africans themselves what Africa needs?

Of course they can! Homer Crawfords throws off his allegience to the powers that fund him--goodbye Reunited Nations--and takes up the mantle of the savior Hero of Africa. He becomes El Hassan for real.

Maybe this story was better received in 1961 when it was serialized in Astounding, but in 2018 I found it tiresome and outdated.

Link: Black Man's Burden []

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