Saturday, January 30, 2010

Checking Our White "Savior Complex"

In the scramble to send personnel and resources to Haiti, it is important to critically analyze any and all overtones of the privileged "saving" the underprivileged, of the white/Western/wealthy/compassionate nation "rescuing" the non-white/non-American/developing/portrayed-as-self-looting nation---whether those overtones are present in the media or in our own thinking.

This self-critique is particularly important in regards to the children of Haiti. A statement was recently published by a coalition of adoptees of color, Statement on Haiti, emphasizing the need to avoid compounding a Haitian child's trauma by removing him/her from all that is familiar and beloved, and encouraging caution against the assumption that Haiti cannot care for (parent) her own children.

There are ways to help. But we risk repeating the severe mistakes of white American/European imperialism when we rush to rescue without minding our motives.

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