Recently, a rather obnoxious individual threw the phrase "White Savior Complex" at me. Hell, I thought it was a compliment. I am 61 and such phrases weren't invented yet, back when I was a 20-something. Hatred wasn't as popular as it is today. Since it only showed up in movies and social media over the last twenty years or so, millenials think it always existed. I looked it up.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; The term white savior, sometimes combined with savior complex to write white savior complex, refers to a white person who acts to help non-white people, with the help in some contexts perceived to be self-serving.
Lovely. I was initially prepared to tell this belligerent individual what she should do with a rabid goat, but I thought it would be more constructive to design an intelligent response. Not for her because she already knows what she already knows. At age 19, she already has the world figured out. She is certain that I suffer from White Savior Complex. On the other side of the equation, I have the confidence to know that almost 4000 children and their families are living better lives because of what my project, Changes for New Hope, has done for them. Not one of them considers White Savior Complex a real thing and actually laughs at the notion that others throw such a phrase around. I am told by many,"We need help, opportunities, direction and education, we are grateful you have the compassion to help us, why would anyone put you down for helping the destitute?" They agreed with my rabid goat suggestion.
Granted, there are tinkers showing up in 3rd world countries where electricity hasn't yet reached, with blenders, iphones and laptops. These are not humanitarians, these are volun-tourists looking to pad a CV with photo ops, whose primary interest is to smooth over a youth mis-spent with some Karmatic balance. How do I know this? Of the hundreds of volunteers and visitors to our project, only a handful stay in touch. I refer to this as a Reverse Julius Ceasar Syndrome, "I came, I saw, I forgot everything twenty minutes after I started sipping a tropical smoothie back home." You don't have to be white to be a tinker. Compassion is a matter of the heart. You care deeply and want to make great things happen or you criticize those who do.
There are a few thousand excuses not to empower those in destitution. White savior complex is a buzz phrase to try to legitimize one of them. The best way to be the tallest building in town is to build as high as you possibly can. Another way is to tear down every building that is taller than yours. A heart that wants to support the disadvantaged in the world has no color, agenda or ulterior motive, the world is a better place because they are in it. Period.
Some may still disagree, and if they do, let me tell you more about this rabid goat.
www.changesfornewhope.com We can all be heroes.