Like many others, I love going on vacation. The only difference is that when I go on vacation, I don’t take photographs with people of color for my Instagram. It is understandable to take pictures of the beautiful location you might be visiting, but it’s a different story when your feed is full of you bending down next to a person of color.
The White Savior Complex is a mindset where white people see themselves as the saviors of people of color. These people, or person, are seen as helpless and unable to solve problems of their own. The white people in this scenario are supposed to be the hero that the person of color always needed.
Understanding what White Savior Complex is a necessity. And understanding how people of color, especially children of color aren’t your accessory, is a necessity. I’m not trying to call anyone out, but I’ve seen multiple people share photos demonstrating this behavior. Trust me, you can enjoy your vacation without having to make sure someone takes a quick snap of you doing “charity work.”
The White Savior Complex is seen in the plots of many movies such as The Blind Side, literature such as To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Instagram feeds of too many white people who go on vacation to developing countries.
As a person of color, it’s extremely uncomfortable to see an average white person to hold a child of color for a self-serving purpose. There are ways to raise awareness, all of them better than holding a child as if they were your golden ticket into heaven. Your “good deeds” are great, but they should be done out of a desire to be helpful and not to show off in an attempt to impress others. Our everyday oppression isn’t for your own benefit, and we don’t need to be rescued.
You will not find yourself or your morality from “saving us” and we shouldn’t be seen as anything less than normal human beings. Your intentions may be good, but this is not the way to solve or spread awareness of any issue. Feeding your ego by victimizing people of color and attempting to feed yourself a false narrative of your heroism is embarrassing.
Your intentions may be good. But to people of color, it’s disrespectful. Be the compassionate good samaritan that you want to be, but use the many actions available to you in order to be good.
Being a passionate learner of culture and understanding the differences between reality and stereotypes is how you respect us. Don’t pity anyone because you believe they have less than you, especially when the comparison is based on your privilege. Just being aware of this, being able to realize mistakes and taking responsibility is a great start. You can be a good person without having to put others down, and be an example of change. •