the white savior complex (what i do when i'm not taking pictures of myself...)

by Rachel Lynch in


I am excited to say that I will be spending tomorrow at the Global Activism Expo, participating in the "Kony 2012 and Beyond: Transnational Solidarities" discussion. After doing several writings and articles on the issue, my professor, who is part of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (and one million other things), invited myself and a few of my classmates.

My biggest concern that I want to bring to the discussion tomorrow is the risk of stereotypes and false generalizations. I see the video as having no real context of Africa today and only perpetuated (or perhaps even created) stereotypes about Africa. It enforces the western conception that violent crises are part of the continuing and daily,  "African condition" , which is simply not true. It also pushes this idea that Africa is constantly in a impoversihed and violent state, ALSO NOT TRUE. 

But what bothers me the most (#whitesaviorcomplex), is that we seem to believe that Africans lack the ability to solve their own problems. Members of African society are perceived as incapable and somehow not "civil" enough to deal with their own issues. Africa has many organizations and movements that are geared toward solving their own problems (and solving them BETTER), such as the Women's Peace Campaign in Liberia, the gacaca village courts in Rwanda, and The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission to name a few. I mean, think about... Do we ask England to solve our problems just because their economy is doing better than ours? No.

Don't get me wrong, if another country asks for help, we should by all means, HELP THEM! But, belittleing them in the process, I'm afraid, is doing more harm then good.