Confronting Racism

 Glenn Bigonet, M.A.

Social Activist for Racial Equity

Facilitating Discussions about Racism

 

617-462-6642

gbigonet@icloud.com

           

 

White Saviorism

 

"Funny. Slave masters thought they were making a difference in black people's lives too.

Saving them from their 'wild african ways.' Same shit, different century.  I wish people

like them would stop thinking people like me need saving."

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

 

White Saviorism is the idea that people of color need white people to save them and that without white help will be helpless and not survive. The greatest modern example I've read of this is the popular Sandra Bullock movie "The Blind Side". In this movie based on a true story a white family in the suburbs meet a challenged, black, high school student who clearly has intellectual challenges. This generous white family rescues him from his poor and dangerous black neighborhood, teach him how to play football and help him become an NFL player. So much in this movie just bleeds of outright racism and it reinforces the idea of white saviorism that only with the generous help of white people can people of color succeed in the world.

 

The whole idea of white saviorism is so patronizining and insulting to people of color. People of color are just as capable as white people are. They just need an equal playing field in which to operate on. If you notice you have a desire to rescue anyone you come across I highly recommend you don't. In most cases you will be doing them a disservice and insulting them. If you feel you can offer assistance to someone feel free to offer it but if you have any inkling inside yourself about saving them from something I suggest you take a look at your own privilege and how you may be putting yourself above that person in some way because when we put ourselves above someone else in any way we are putting ourself in a power situation which is bound to be oppressive of the other.

 

Having just written the above it feels like a bit of a rant and that perhaps I should get off my soap box here. In this moment I'm not clear exactly what it is but clearly this topic hits something deep and meaningful inside me. I'll add more as I get clarity into what that is. 

Copyright © 2020   Glenn Bigonet, M.A.