Oh Come All Ye White Saviors

by Phenderson Djeli Clark

Earlier this year, Salon magazine’s David Sirota penned an article titled, Oscar Loves a White Savior.” In it, Sirota noted that

‘If a movie features white people rescuing people of color from their plight, odds are high an Oscar will follow’

–singling out then Oscar contender Lincoln and showing ten others in the past three decades that have done much the same. On some sites, and even CNN, the article was met with surprise, shock and (of course) spasms of denial. However, if anyone is unaware of the white savior motif, which has become a Hollywood staple, it’s only because of its troubling normalcy.

I knew white saviors when I saw them, even before they’d been properly named. My parents were the ones who awakened my criticisms. They’d taken me to see Cry Freedom and left grumbling that a film ostensibly about Steven Biko and apartheid South Africa seemed oddly focused on a white journalist. They left equally annoyed at Mississippi Burning, a movie about the Civil Rights movement where the FBI–notorious “negrophobe” J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI no less–were the heroes, saving wide-eyed and frightened colored folk from the local corrupt constabulary. In fact, it seemed much of my youth was filled with white saviors–whether it was Kevin Costner “going native” in Dances With Wolves, Dennis Quaid saving Zammis and the other Dracs from galactic slavers in Enemy Mine or Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones swashbuckling about the globe and using a whip (a white man with a friggin’ whip!) to strike fear and awe into the darker hordes of the world.

And, even more frustrating, after all these years, this trope hasn’t ended. In fact, it’s only increased!

David Sirota in his article goes through ten films, because they were 2012cOscar contenders. But all one has to do is look up the term and you’ll see lists that run into the dozens throughout the interwebs. They even have sub-genres. There are:

Civil Rights White Savior films Mississippi Burning, the Medgar Evers Story and The Help are a few examples.

There are the Save the Natives White Saviors Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai, Avatar, etc.

There are the time-tested Urban White Teacher Saviors Dangerous Minds, Finding Forrester, The Principal, Freedom Writers, etc.

And let’s not forget the Great White Saviors of Slaves, who have graced every major Hollywood film on American slavery–Glory, Amistad, Lincoln, and Lincoln with vampires.

Even the absurdist fantasy Django Unchained, can’t help “chaining” its “one-in-ten-thousand-nigga” to a white savior, in the form of the wily Dr. Schultz. No place on earth however seems to have more white saviors per square inch than Africa, who dot the continent, flitting on their fairy white gossamer wings from crises to crises. Bruce Willis leads army troops in a near-future Africa to protect civilians in Tears of the Sun. Even unscrupulous white guys can transform themselves into white saviors in Africa according to films like Blood Diamond. As if trying to top this theme of ridiculous, Gerard Butler runs around Sudan, gun in hand, as the Machine Gun Preacher.

 machine gun preacherAnd let’s not delude ourselves that these notions of white saviors are confined to the celluloid screen. Taking Africa as an example, there is an entire movement based on an ideological strain in the West that the continent is in need of “saviors.” You see it in well-meaning but wince-worthy images of celebrities in face-paint declaring “I am African,” or journalist Nicholas Kristof’s never-ending crusade of paternalism that has earned him the derisive nickname, the Great White Savior. The aforementioned Machine Gun Preacher is based on the alleged “true” life story of Christian nationalist biker gang member and former drug dealer Sam Childers, who found Jesus, journeyed to East Africa to build homes, and then picked up arms to fight local militias as a white Tarzan vigilante–though the veracity, morality and exaggeration of his claims and tactics has come under fire.The most recent and flagrant offender was the related exploitative Kony 2012, part of what writer Teju Cole dubbed “The White-Savior Industrial Complex.” (This complex bleeds over onto POC who live in the West as well; the “I Am Africa” campaign was started in part by Somali-born model Iman).

So what gives? Why do white savior films seem both so prevalent in Hollywood and resistant to criticism? David Sirota is certainly not the first person to write on this topic. People of color have been groaning over such films for decades. Articles, blogs and tumblrs bemoaning the trope dot the interwebs. Academics and media critics have written entire articles and books on it. The answer is–you. And by you, I mean white people.

Yes. You random white person who has stumbled upon this blog. You are to blame for this never-ending onslaught of white saviors. Wait. Hear me out…

Thedor Adorno in his Marxist-derived writings on the culture industry, posits that much of what we term popular culture, in its sameness and repeated tropes, is not a matter of mere coincidence or chance. Rather, Adorno suggests that we live in a world where media, and the technology to develop it, rests in the hands of a few elites, who thus use it to manipulate the masses. There are valid criticisms to Adorno’s theories, most notably in perhaps over-stating the hegemonic control of these elites and not taking into account resistance; yet at its base, Adorno’s premise lays out an understanding that the images and symbols that we consume from mass media are rooted in both politics and economics. In the case of films, especially those produced through Hollywood, there are political and economic motives to securing both funding and distribution. You don’t just walk up and say, “I have an idea for a film” and someone hands you a bag of money. Films often reflect what the industry believes will drive profits; what the industry believes the audience wants; and this in turn is all filtered through what many of those gatekeepers often “group think” themselves into believing people want to see.

White Saviors are on the top of the list. We keep on seeing them, because Hollywood believes that is what the majority of moviegoers want to see. And who do they think of as the majority of moviegoers? White people, I’m talking to you again. Hollywood works on a built-in mechanism that says it has to please its large white movie going audience. In earlier days, this could mean cutting out a scene of black actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson dancing up the stairs with a pre-adolescent Shirley Temple in The Little Colonel, because it might upset white male Southerners weird psycho-sexual hangups. Whole entertainment scenes were sometimes filmed with black figures who could be easily spliced out and left as disembodied singing voices, simply to conform to the varying regional sensibilities of white movie goers. This trend, which keeps Hollywood’s cast majority white with a few splashes of color, generates white saviors often to either give white audiences a reference point they are comfortable with, or to soothe white guilt when addressing a touchy subject.

Can’t have a Hollywood film about the Japanese or Native Americans without some white savior figure. How can white audiences possibly be expected to sit through a whole film with swarthy people and their strange customs and dialects if there’s no white interlocutor? Nobody wants to hear about what some black or Latina kids did–unless there’s a white teacher who braves this fierce Blackboard Jungle to save them, from themselves. How can we possibly touch on topics as controversial as slavery or Civil Rights or South African apartheid if there’s no noble white savior with who white audiences can wash away all their angst and guilt? Why we’d need fainting couches and smelling salts in all the theaters, what with white folk fainting away from their troubled consciences!


A.V.A.T.A.R.
(Anglos 
Valiantly 
Aiding 
Tragic 
Awe-inspiring
 Races – A remix of white saviors and exotic others–from Avatar to Amistad to Blood Diamond and beyond–done by Craig Saddlemire and Ryan Conrad. Thanks NinaG for putting me on!

Of course, the rebuttal usually is–”well aren’t some of those movies true?” And the answer is, no. There is no noble savage blue-skinned Afro-Native-American-Pacific Islander race called the Na’vi in which a white man (who at first betrayed them and near got their civilization destroyed) returns to lead them against his one-time (mostly) white brethren, manages to talk to their God AND disrupts their entire cultural traditions by running off with the native girl…managing to conveniently have her intended husband plunge to his death in a hail of gunfire. No white man has ever taught and led some “native” colonized group of people to overcome their oppressors (who also happen to be white) in the history of colonized people struggling against their oppressors. THAT, is a pure fantasy of the highest white savior order.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

And guess what, it’s still a “no” when it did kinda happen. That is, of course there have been white people who have been allies of POC in varied struggles–from abolitionists to well-intentioned missionaries to Freedom Riders. But the larger story, still isn’t their story. And the very choice (because make no mistake, it is always a choice) to focus on that white person, or bring in their perspective as central to the story, is a bias in favor of whiteness. And it is a bias predicated on this notion that these stories must be told from the white savior’s point of view. Lincoln was a pivotal figure in ending American slavery; no denying that. But he didn’t do it alone. In fact, he had to be pushed by numerous other people–from black abolitionists and activists to slaves who ran in droves to Union lines. The creators of Lincoln were well aware of this. It took them twelve years to come up with a script that could have focused on any aspect of Lincoln’s life. One of those would have been greatly focused on the relationship between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. A choice was made not to go with that perspective. Instead, a film was made about the inner-workings of Lincoln’s political wrangling of the 13th amendment; as only white men held political office in Washington DC at the time, the film became inherently one about great white men. Historical whiteness translated into cinematic whiteness, giving us a great white savior, with black bodies idly waiting, by-and-by for deliverance–convenient both politically and economically for mass white consumption.

In fact, even when a white savior should not appear at all, Hollywood yearns and pressures its creators for one. Director Haile Gerima says that when he was making his indie slavery-based film Sankofa, he could get no Hollywood distribution because the execs kept asking him where was the white figure to “open up” the story for mainstream (white) audiences? When Melvin and Mario Peebles went seeking funds for the movie Panther, they were urged repeatedly to create a white savior out of whole-cloth–a young Tom Cruise type figure who could play a professor from Berkley who “taught” the Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton their political know-how. Actor Danny Glover, in his several decades quest to make a movie on the Haitian Revolution, stated he was turned down by Hollywood producers because his film pitch lacked “white heroes.”

This is not to say that there are no Hollywood films that buck this tradition. A precious few do–but they are often relegated to being movies geared toward certain ethnic groups. So films like Stand and Deliver are billed as a “Latina movie;” or those like The Great Debaters, are “black movies.” Meanwhile, white savior films of the same ilk are meant for all-American mass consumption–and distributed that way.

Let’s try some alternate history. Imagine for a moment every white savior film you’ve ever seen, and picture it as told from the point of view of the POC who were so in need of rescuing. Imagine it with the white people, whether real or imaginary, either in the background or gone altogether. Imagine instead films focusing on the untold numbers of black or Latina teachers who work in those same urban schools, rather than some well-intentioned white savior. Imagine a major Hollywood story set in Africa or with Native Americans or any “others” where all the POC are the main actors, and white people aren’t. Imagine what dynamic stories would be told! Imagine what new voices we’d hear! Imagine me not writing another one of these damn blogs about this same issue over and over again!

Do you like what you see? Then YOU white people, YOU should do something about it. Stop supporting these movies. Speak up about them if you haven’t. Convince Hollywood that continuing in the tradition of white savior films will not make them money. Convince them that you are not all frail daisies that might wilt away without this ridiculous trope. Convince them that you want to see something else, something new and refreshing.Yes, in the ultimate irony of this post, I am asking you to be the white saviors Hollywood says you are–and save us all from these damn movies!

Meanwhile, at indie and alternative film festivals from ABFF to AAIFF to FESPACO, POC will be screening our own indie films–nary a white savior in sight–because you can’t expect us to just wait on you to save us.

*Note- I have no idea where Oscar winner Argo–a story of a white savior saving white people from hordes of shouting and angry exotic “others–fits into this trope. Just too much going on there.

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Read more by Phenderson Djeli Clark find him on twitter @pdjeliclark

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28 replies

  1. That’s nice but… what has to be done instead?
    If you take out all the movies you listed, all white people are left with are soldiers and action heroes. American Sniper, Pitch Perfect, and such. Why can’t our heroes too be selfless and smart? Where are our actual role models?
    If white people are kind and brave it’s white saviorism for you. Should we leave people in danger? Shouldn’t we use our privilege at others advantages?
    You told us what we can’t be. Now tell us what we CAN.

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  2. ‘Yes. You random white person who has stumbled upon this blog. You are to blame for this never-ending onslaught of white saviors. Wait. Hear me out…’

    I don’t understand this ubiquitous hostility towards white people in articles/discussions about race matters and I think it’s counter-productive. While I can appreciate that white people collectively have contributed to today’s societies that is ridden with a myriad of racial discrepancies, do you not agree that trying to explain their wrongdoings e.g. cultural appropriation, perpetuating otherness, instead of supposing an entire race is complicit, when virtually all people don’t realise they’re perpetuating racism is maybe not a armageddon-ensuing approach?

    I don’t think it would be unfair to say that we live in a society dominated by whiteness, so maybe welcoming them as allies so themselves can call out racist microagressions when they see them, almost tackling the issue from the inside?

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  3. “No white man has ever taught and led some “native” colonized group of people to overcome their oppressors (who also happen to be white) in the history of colonized people struggling against their oppressors. ” except John Brown, at least he tried.

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    • Except of course John Brown worked in concert with black people as well. He was housed, funded, supported and kept well-informed by free blacks throughout much of the North. Free black churches allowed him in to speak and took up collections for him. He even at one point wrote the Haitian govt to learn tactics of their successful revolt. So John Brown would likely not have seen himself as a “white savior” and neither did he work in a mold that fit a white savior. He was an ally and a comrade in the struggle–and that’s good enough to respect.

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  4. Another white hero/savior movie to add to the list is this new movie Black or White. That movie screams typical white savior/God complex Hollywood movie.

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  5. You know what? I’m starting to care less about stereotypes stuff, since I don’t really know what’s acceptable or not acceptable in movies anymore. But never forget this. In real life, when there are people in danger, it’s not about what they or you are. It’s about helping, being the saviour. Just don’t mix in what you hate in movies with real life.

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  6. oh f*** you, how am I too blame for stereotypes, I’m just a person from USA. I don’t support or promote racism! It’s funny…people like you try to fight against racism but then you start discriminating innocent bystanders like me because of our skin color. You become the very thing you hated from the beginning.

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  7. …or to be more precise: white Anglo-Saxon and Jewish MEN. How many Hollywood films were made by women last year? Warner Bros didn’t release a single film directed by a woman in 2014 – white or not. :-/

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    • Ironically one of the few films of recent years to transcend this notion was Apocalypto by everyones favourite ‘racist’ Mel Gibson… discuss….

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  8. Funny how you blame the whites for something they see themselves as antiwhite propaganda.

    People of colour are always nice, pure, gentle and oppressed by the white monsters in these films, who try to make us believe that the only good white is the one who works against his race and in support of the others.

    Same with all the slavery memorials: no one to say that whites where indeed the first ones to abolish slavery and that they did it in their colonies too, as no one to talk about the longer and crueler arab slave trade, not only in Africa but also in Europe, where their “razzias” are the reason for the whites to take over Arabia in the first place.

    Please be aware that for a lot of whites, in increasing number due to enormous african immigration in Europe, antiracism is a code word for antiwhite racism.

    I do agree with the comments saying blacks should do their things on their side and stop to complain about whites.

    How come Africans (Blacks and Arabs) hurry in Europe when the whites are so terribly supremacist?

    If it is to sustain the white genocide, or “replacement” as officially stated by UNO (https://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/migration/migration.htm) its intention and short term goal, most of them are right as even the EU and NATO officially declared they don’t want to see any white country on the globe anymore, then they are perfectly right and some whites will for sure welcome as help them: there are many associations payed by the States who work to achieve this goal, allowing privileges to non-whites and prosecuting the whites for thought crimes about not venerating african immigration.

    Is affirmative action not clearly anti-white?

    Isn’t Europe actually intentionally over taken by african immigration?

    Blacks should understand that we all face the same enemy, that he controls Hollywood as the mainstream medias and that he is NOT white supremacist at all, on the contrary: he promotes a white genocide and uses YOU as his soldier.

    But in the end he will turn you into a greedy, stupid and feminized male like Obama, as he will turn your sister into a stupid and “malized” consumer, ignoring its own pagan culture as whites turned idiotic when they forgot about their glorious pagan past.

    By arguing against the whites you simply support the malicious agenda that’s inslaving us all and works at “divide and conquer”.

    Oh, and I find it really great that we have numerous different races in the world, that’s what we call diversity and it makes us rich of our differences.

    So consequently I don’t support a world populated of brown mix-raced people obeying to, working and consumer for, a superelite ruling the world from a central bank.

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  9. The Last Samurai is problematic but calling it a white savior film is insulting to the Japanese critics and audiences who liked it, and there were a lot since it was more successful in Japan than the states. Do you really think the Japanese would be receptive to the idea of a westerner saving their culture? Ken Watanabe’s character is the hero, Tom Cruise is just some drunk who gets ~healed~ by Japanese culture. That idea is rooted in orientalism, and well worth criticizing, but trying to fit The Last Samurai into the white savior narrative ignores the differences in how the west perceives East Asia vs. other non-white peoples and regions.

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  10. Hollywood and the media in general have long enforced an idea of what sells, even in the face of the reality of plunging profits. It was recently proven that sexist covers don’t sell books, in fact they negatively impact sales, and yet we still get books being churned out featuring ‘sexy” women in broken spine ‘sexy’ poses that have nothing to do with the actual subject of the book.

    Hell look at teen titans, massively popular, once they got wind of the fact that girls liked it? They cancelled it, same for Young Justice. Because “girls don’t buy figures” (maybe if they made decent female figures with a decent distribution?).

    Seriously, even if there were damn tumbleweeds in the box office next time a big white saviour film opened, Hollywood would continue to make them because “they sell”. Hollywood believes what they want to believe, and reality won’t change it. Even in multicultural areas where there are big bucks to be made screening movies aimed at large BAME groups? The cinema’s still largely consider BAME films to consist of Bollywood Hetero Romance Musicals and nothing else.

    What am I saying? Boycotting the movies isn’t enough, the change needs to come from the companies themselves becoming more inclusive. Perhaps if all the people deciding what gets made and shown weren’t all White, well off, abled, cis men? We might get something other than white, well off, abled, cis men saving everyone.

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  11. Lots of interesting comments and there’s no reason at all that white people can not be supportive of PoC (though actually it’s not about colour but about the powerful and the oppressed – I see the same thing in Thailand between urban Thais and Hill People and migrant workers) in the same way that men can be supportive of feminism. But in the same way I always attempt (and sometimes fail) not to ‘mansplain’ in my support, I think too it’s good not to ‘whitesplain’ or ‘powersplain’. There’s no doubt in my mind, though, that many mainstream blockbuster film producers know they will make money from the prejudices of their audiences. The most distressing admission of late being Tarantino’s outbursts that before ‘Django’ “No one was talking about these issues” – how revolting. But I find his films revolting at the best of times, even the (only) one I liked.

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    • Re Tarantino, me too
      Re whitesplaining/powersplaining, thank you again for being so tactful. I now see that I was being an ass, especially bad since Lee completely refrained from mansplaining to me when we met up and disagreed on a gender issue. Apologies for my shoddy behaviour.

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  12. Fantastic article and an amazing website!!! Thank you very much to the organizers and contributors….it adds excellent value to our education.

    On the topic of this article, please take the time to see “How Black People See White Culture-Darkest Austria” on http://www.youtube.com.

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  13. The ‘white saviour’ issue also crops up again and again on line when the subject of racism or under-representation crops up. If a person of colour either posts a piece or responds to a piece it is not long before a white person will attempt to prove how their take on racism is more valid than the PoC’s opinion – even though in white societies the PoCs are the experts. I made some relatively ordinary and obvious points about the film ‘Noah’ on Facebook recently and then was lectured by a white person as if I had no clue about the subject – very annoying.

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  14. Great post. Nothing I haven’t heard before, but we need to keep highlighting it in case we succumb to the constant brainwashing and white-supremacist propaganda of Hollywood. But where I part company from the author is in asking Hollywood to change its ways and play fair. Isn’t that like asking Turkeys to vote for Christmas? its tantamount to going into an Indian restaurant and demanding that they start serving Caribbean food! It’s perfectly natural that white-owned Hollywood studios would make movies to appeal to white movie go-ers. We are being naïve if we expect anything else. I agree with Akwesi. What we need to do is make our own movies that tell our own stories from our perspective. And when Black film-makers do so, we need to support them. Until Lions learn to write, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.

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    • Definitely agree with you about the need for a radical approach to getting films made by People of Colour and share your cynicism about asking Hollywood to do better (I will continue to vote with my pocket however, by avoiding White saviour films). But, might I be permitted to express concern about the strong separatism implied? I’m White and definitely want to see Black-centric films… It’s unlearnable socialisation that makes us racist and I can’t peaceably accept that White producers should be allowed to go on making films for White people and saying ‘let the Black film-makers cater for their own’ (thus encouraging all of us to go on being racist and believing that PoC are less human or less feeling) I don’t think we are stuck with ‘integrate or separate’: I want to dismantle the structures (prison industrial complex) that maintain White-supremacy…

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    • Sorry that probably sounded like I was arguing against PoC making their own films. On the contrary I totally support that idea! (And the reality) I was just taking issue with the sentence:

      ‘It’s perfectly natural that white-owned Hollywood studios would make movies to appeal to white movie go-ers’

      I was trying to say that it isn’t natural: it’s abhorrent (and un-natural), and it can be changed.

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      • Hi Zanna
        I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of ethno-centricity – the tendency to favour one’s own ethnic group over others. Its not just a white vs Black thing. It happens all over the world with various ethnic groups. It might not be right, or ok, or fair, but I think its widespread nature does suggest that it IS natural. To those who want to highlight it when it occurs I applaud them. But what I write/fight against on a daily basis is this slave mentality that Black people carry around, of begging massa to do the right thing, when we are perfectly capable of doing it for ourselves. I’ve never heard Indian actors or commentators complaining about lack of equity and representation in Hollywood, and why would they – they have Bollywood. I’m a Garveyite, and as such I don’t believe in asking for handouts, or for white people to be fair and play nice. I believe in doing for self. Our dependency mentality is what has held us back for so long.

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        • Thanks so much for taking the time to engage with me. As Nick has already gracefully and tactfully pointed out (apparently to no avail as I still have not shut up!), your perspective is more valid and much more important than mine! I also note that you’ve acknowledged your general agreement with my point that ethnocentrism, natural or not, is a bad thing. I don’t believe that a single final correct analysis of oppressions is possible and I agree that activism always needs to start from where we are and work with what we’ve got…

          So, I would probably politely defer to you if you hadn’t sent me your blog post, where you argue against campaigning for Black history in schools (you said, anyway, that you declined to sign a relevant petition.) Since I’m completely obsessed with radical education, I can’t let that pass without foolishly trying to reply!

          My critical ideas on Garvey-style separatism are expressed in this essay (can email if you’re interested) – basically I don’t think race is natural historical category – and I believe that the way to end racism is to dismantle the structures of inequality…
          The divided mind of Black America: race, ideology and politics in the post Civil Rights era
          Race & Class July 1994 36: 61-72 by Manning Marable & Leith Mullings

          Again, I totally support for-us-by-us type initiatives, spaces, businesses efforts of any kind, and I certainly am not trying to suggest waiting for nice White folk (like me(!!!)) to solve racism(!!!) or that any People of Colour should make any efforts to include White people in anything ever.

          What I am against is White people being let off the hook! I disagree that Black people should *have* to teach their children Black history – why should they have to work extra hard? And if history is about sense of self, what about children of mixed heritage? I think history education is a huge part of the foundation of a political sense and critical consciousness, and that the current Whitewashed colonized history we are taught is lies & propaganda designed to propagate & perpetuate the logics (slavery, genocide and war according to Andrea Smith) of White supremacy. I think reforming history teaching has the potential not just to give Black children a sense of their own history, but also to undermine the structures of White supremacy as they persist in the minds of all of us. At the very least, I think it would make White people a bit safer and less annoying to PoC?! And I have a problem with the idea of the White establishment – the establishment may be White, but imho it has no business staying that way in the diverse UK.

          *hangs up White saviour cape, making futile vow not to be tempted to put it on again*

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  15. Great post! But Chris Waltz is not a white savior in Django. He’s the sidekick – that he initially comes to the rescue of the hero is in the trope, as is his demise, that will make the hero rise to his predestined glory.

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  16. Isn’t everyone a “person of color”?
    Or am I missing something as regards the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation?

    @Akwesi Shaddai the answer to discrimination isn’t different, but still more, discrimination.

    The sooner the arbitrary notion of “color” is expunged from the arbitrary list of arbitrary characteristics that arbitrarily differentiate between arbitrary groups of people, so much the better for the greater good o0f everyone.

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    • The term People of Colour is a political designation used to refer to people who are minoritised, othered, dehumanized and/or disadvantaged by the structure of White supremacy (central tenet used to maintain the dominance & centrality of euro-origin colonial powers)

      Whiteness works. It’s working to keep me safe right now as I walk down the street in trainers and a hoodie after going to the gym, for example. I live in supposedly post-racial UK…

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  17. Popular media continues to reserve the world for white men and their sons. Everyone needs to be aware how reserving real life roles of authority as gatekeepers, as validators and of course as saviors, belie any stated intentions for diversification. Those who continue to assume impunity, absorbing and exploiting exotic cultural and artistic products (like blues, hip-hop, dreadlocks), do so without a care, while we blacks who step outside “our culture” (like classical music, rock ‘n roll, “talking white” (in America)) are often considered inauthentic and suspect, including by our own people. As long as these powerful representations persist, black achievers in the white world will seem exceptional, even elitist, and we as a people will fall deeper into re-segregation.

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  18. Great article on a long-standing problem. I think it’s a question of how tolerant we are as consumers. Hollywood owe us nothing, not even the truth. More to the point, black America is worth over 900 BILLION dollars ever year, and the average international blockbuster like Avatar or Django costs a tiny fraction of that to produce, distribute & market.

    So as a wider African Diaspora, we have no excuses for accepting Hollywood propaganda. We need to support our own independent film makers, script writers and musicians en-mass if we want to see Toussaint, Queen Nanny, Musa Mansa I, Hannibal, Thutmoses III & hundreds of others being represented in the mainstream.

    Like

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