Stratton has taken numerous negative reports about Africa, plus age-old popular stereotypes, and scrunched them together to create Chanda’s Secrets.

Readers will see the multiple sufferings of AIDS, but more than that, they will see Africa in general as horrifying. A novel about AIDS is potentially informative, but it can also be used as a dumping ground for cultural racism. Racism does not necessarily connect with the idea of “race” per se, but it “may have functional equivalents, culture being one of them” (Cashmore, 96). Since the 1960s, the idea (or theory) of a genetic basis for differences has not been as prevalent as differences anchored in a cultural context. Diverse classes, social behaviors, and educational disparities become functional equivalents of “race” when they generate serious ill-treatment: attacks, aversion, abhorrence, banishment, or hate crime.