Saturday, March 24, 2012

Teju Cole: The White Savior Industrial Complex

"One song we hear too often is the one in which Africa serves as a backdrop for white fantasies of conquest and heroism. From the colonial project to Out of Africa to The Constant Gardener and Kony 2012, Africa has provided a space onto which white egos can conveniently be projected. It is a liberated space in which the usual rules do not apply: a nobody from America or Europe can go to Africa and become a godlike savior or, at the very least, have his or her emotional needs satisfied. Many have done it under the banner of "making a difference." To state this obvious and well-attested truth does not make me a racist or a Mau Mau. It does give me away as an "educated middle-class African," and I plead guilty as charged. (It is also worth noting that there are other educated middle-class Africans who see this matter differently from me. That is what people, educated and otherwise, do: they assess information and sometimes disagree with each other.)"
Read the rest of this March 21 article in The Atlantic here.

Comment: It is somewhat amusing that Teju Cole is being criticized for making relevant and true observations about what he calls the "white savior industrial complex".

I like most of what he has to say but I find it somewhat tiresome that he thinks it necessary to explain the vantage point of his critique.

In effect he distracts from the strength of his own argument that there is too much feigned nicety in the talk about racism to the extent that black/brown voices are silenced/muted.

Call the sh*t like you see it and let the chips fall as they may is my motto.

Still, the article is a very worthy read making known points that the black/brown Other is probably sickened by due to acute white fatigue.

Before more folks call me a racist let me borrow an explanatory habit from Teju Cole and say that there are many whites who get what is being critiqued here.  And there are whites who are anti-racist to the bone - even here in the delusional rainbow.

Now if only they would discard the identity of being white we would actually be making much more progress to eradicate racism.  


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