Thank You, Associated Press
Africa is a Country | July 7th, 2014


We published “Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey” (to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil) on June 17th. The story included a list of race-colors from a 1976 study done in Brazil. On June 22 the big-time news agency AP published a “story” which basically consisted of the list. That story’s been repeated /shared / published / syndicated in a lot of places. Here’s the problem: the AP list is our list: it was originally translated by Lilia Moritz Schwarcz from University of Sao Paulo (who has done lots of work on race in Brazil) and edited by Achal Prabhala (who wrote our piece) and published by AIAC. It’s the same list, down to the last word, including Lilia’s very specific language (‘burro quando foge’ translated as disappearing donkey, for instance) and Achal’s editing–he changed some of the original entries for brevity and clarity. So it’s interesting the AP’s editors think they can turn an AIAC essay into an “original” AP article without any attribution whatsoever. We’re just a small website that runs on zero money, and we guess AP thinks it’s fine to take our stuff. Though, of course, it’s not at all fine if you take their stuff (reference: Shepard Fairey).

UPDATE: The AP, after a silence of a few days, published an apology at the top of the “story.” Basically, they just can’t acknowledge that they took the post from us. The apology reads: “These English translations were published by the website Africa Is A Country, which says the translations were by Lilia Moritz Schwarcz of the University of Sao Paulo and edited by Achal Prabhala.” So we said, not it is the case. The AP knows what’s up, so we’ll leave it there.  

* Image Credit: Screengrab from CBF video of Neymar after he was injured. That’s what we feel like right now.

Black Europe and Body Politics
Some young Danes thought they'd have some fun with colonialism
The following two tabs change content below.

Africa is a Country

Not that continent with 54 countries.

5 thoughts on “Thank You, Associated Press

  1. So – are you surprised? The list is correctly attributed by AP to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Translators rarely get credit.

  2. It’s not correctly attributed, though. Unless the AP writer who produced the brief actually read the study and wrote the brief after having read the study, then it’s not AP’s reporting. AP is using Africa is a Country’s reporting without attribution, and that’s plagiarism. The standard practice is for the brief to have included “Information from”.

  3. Did you actually reach out to the AP? They tend to be pretty sensitive about these things.

  4. Good question, did you ask AP to remove or acknowledge? While I sympathise, your blog did actively encourage people to illegally download our feature film. When we complained to you, there was no honourable withdrawal or apology. Hopefully now you will be more sympathetic to this kind of thing

Leave a Reply