Please substitue the word “children” for “99 percent of the idiots using the #peace tag on tumblr.”
I always get too angry to articulate why images of malnourished African children bothers me. Why it is racist. Why it’s wrong.
This article above helps.
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
The way you think about the entire world beyond you is probably wrong.
But let’s start with Africa. Because chances are you paid the 30 dollars for that stupid fucking Invisible Children starter kit. That at one point in time you participated in a 30 Hour Famine at church. Or you “adopted” a starving child with a few friends after you saw a 5 minute infomercial. Possibly you really like Bono. Or Blood Diamond made you feel really bad. Hotel Rwanda made you cry. Maybe you have one of those shirts with the heart in the middle of the continent. Or that you really want to internationally adopt an “orphan.”
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
Did you know that the UNICEF definition of orphanhood as the loss of one or both parents. Did you know that children are adopted by white parents all the time when their biological parents are still alive. Did you know that foreign adoptions happen all the time because parents see themselves as too impoverished or incapable to raise their children on their own. Did you know that Madonna, the supposed savior of Malawi, abducted her child because international adoptions aren’t even legal in that country.
Did you know that the never-ending stream of donations you send to Africa is destroying local economies and small businesses. Did it ever occur to you that your donations are putting people out of business. Did you consider that you might be creating poverty just for participating in a capitalist system that steals from the poor and then throws them whatever is left over and calls it “charity.” Did it never occur to you, while you were donating money and feeling good about it, why it is that your dollar is needed in the first place.
Did you know that organizations like World Vision (the asshats who brought you the 30 Hour Famine) have set up camps for survivors of war and violence in Uganda, where they regularly impose Christian teachings and values through a process called “sensitization,” in order to get survivors to think more like they do. Did it ever occur to you that there are thousands of languages, cultures, and lives that are being homogenized by “charitable” organizations, and that it’s on your dime.
Did you know that money you donate comes with strings, and sometimes it doesn’t even come at all. Did it occur to you that organizations don’t spend their money unless they want to, and that frequently comes with stipulations. Did you consider that maybe there are places in Africa and elsewhere that really need your money or economic support, but don’t give a fuck about your hegemonic religious values. Did you have any clue that organizations like Invisible Children take in millions of dollars annually, but don’t even spend a third of it in Uganda.
Did you have any idea that countless charities, hospitals, adoption agencies, etc., set up in Africa are illegal, and done without credence to national or local government. Have you heard of volunteer tourism? Did you have any idea that completely untrained and uneducated people are hauling ass to Africa, and building charities that board, educate, and treat young children illegally with absolutely zero recognition of the law of the land in which they are in.
Did it ever occur to you that maybe some people in Africa are doing just fucking fine. They have a house. They own shoes. They have parents and siblings and food and an education and a favorite restaurant and hobbies and ambitions and a happy life. Did you consider that maybe your stupid generalizations and conceptualizations bother and insult them, and make it more difficult to be them.
Did you ever consider that Africa is a living, breathing continent of millions of people who are different. Economically, socially, religiously, lingually, culturally, ethnically different. And that your stupid fucking pictures of malnourished kids, your idolization of Angelina Jolie and Madonna, your ridiculous Invisible Children bracelet, your idiotic KONY 2012 posters are racist. They’re simplifying a place that is not simple. They’re portraying an enormous continent as singular, backward place. Instead of more complicated than you have ever bothered to understand.
You operate autonomously, offering your “help” where it has not been asked for. Blindly donating your dollars and your time without having any idea how it is being spent.
There are people there. Governments. Cities. There are people living their lives in a continent that you do not understand, but you claim to help.
This rant was long-winded but I’ll conclude.
Just please if you take nothing else away from this. Be critical of the shit you are fed. Africa is a continent. And at least take the time to learn about it before you even consider throwing money or used books or Toms sneakers at it.
I am now officially in love with whoever wrote this!