Outside Looking In: An African Perspective on American Pluralistic Society

Outside Looking In: An African Perspective on American Pluralistic Society

Outside Looking In: An African Perspective on American Pluralistic Society

Outside Looking In: An African Perspective on American Pluralistic Society


Mr. Apraku gives the reader an outsider's analysis of the good and bad elements that make up the U.S. The author, a Ghanian who has spent the last 18 years studying and teaching in the U.S., brings his personal experiences as an emigre to this examination of American capitalism and democracy. He looks at the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the American democratic system. Many non-Westerners, including Africans, do not know enough about the western democracy of the American economic system they are being asked to adopt as a panacea to their economic, political, and social problems. This book should be especially appealing to scholars in international and economic development, developmental economics, political economics, and African studies.


This book is a reflection of my over two decades experience and impressions about the United States. During this period, several people made significant impressions on me. My host family, the Jack Robertsons, provided the love and direction that sustained me during my early years in the United States as a high school exchange student in Albany, Oregon. They made a significant and profound impression on my fragile and impressionable mind. I have since then gained tremendously from my school and university classmates, from my professional colleagues, from friends, students and neighbors. Who I am, what I think, my attitudes, perceptions, and insights have greatly been influenced by these interactions.

This book is not an indictment of the United States; rather it is an appreciation of the United States. If it is any good at all, it will provide a different perspective, perhaps a new way to look at the problems that confront the nation. and if this is so, it may well be my way of saying thank you to the United States for being a home away from home to me for the past two decades.

Indeed, as I wrote this book, I could not help but reflect on what John F. Kennedy, then an aspiring president, said of the United States, "America is great but it can be greater." Yes, I also believe that the United States is great, but can be made greater. the sentiment thus expressed in this book is my contribution to the discussions and debates aimed at that objective. Furthermore, it is hoped that this book will enable Africans to appreciate the strengths and successes of the United States while avoiding its mistakes. Yet, I am painfully aware that a book such as this, with its generalizations about Africa and the United States and its frank discussions of the problems faced in both societies, will necessarily arouse controversy. I welcome this controversy with an open mind and hope it will generate healthy and objective discussions.

In this book, I have tried to limit the use of the name "America." in those instances where it is needed, it refers to the United States of America, and not the entire people of North America.

Several people have been supportive of my work, and I would like to pay tribute to a few here. My beloved family has not only been supportive of my professional and political activities, but they have also actively encouraged these activities. They have paid for these activities, especially my political adventures, with their personal comfort and security, and long periods of separation. I am forever indebted to them.

Parts of the manuscript were reviewed and commented on by friends, students, and colleagues. I greatly benefited from comments by Dr. Bill Sabo, chair of the Political Science Department at University of North Carolina- Asheville; Dr. Susan Kask, assistant professor of economics at Western Carolina University; and Michael England, a student in my Humanities class. I am . . .

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