Charity and White Supremacy

Submitted by hadrian on Mon, 06/30/2014 - 00:00

Such a well-spoken person. Listen closely to his message because it's valid across the board: "It's not up to the USA and Europe to solve African problems, they need to do it themselves."

The ways in which the west commonly interferes with countries around the world usually does more harm than good and is just a continuation of Western imperialism and white supremacist ideology. The entire underlying ideology of charity to Africa is simple: they can't solve it themselves so we need to do it for them. It is a disgusting ideology which takes away any opportunity of people to take the stand themselves and solve their own problems. Another example of this discourse is the one Western media had around the Egyptian revolution, the main issue presented was not so much what the Egyptian people were accomplishing and which Egyptians were doing it. They were all equalized into a fictional homogeneous group called "young Egyptians." The main topic for the media was, however, the reaction of the United States, taking away from all the sudden social progress in Egypt.

Sanctions seem to be the prime weapon in Western government's arsenals these days and this too needs to stop. When a country is denied oil or other important resources, who do people think will be the victim, the rich dipshit at the top or the poor workers who could barely buy bread before the prices skyrocketed due to a destroyed infrastructure?

In the west we need to start owning up to mistakes past and present and start admitting that many of the world's problems are caused by our brutal exploitation of these countries. Just think of big oil polluting rivers, the source of fresh water for countless people, in Nigeria. Just think of the land grabs going on throughout Africa. Just think of the so-called wars of liberation in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to own up to these and all other mistakes and let the local people fight for their own freedom from oppression. If we come in with our tanks of liberation all we do is reproduce and perpetuate the long-standing pattern of white supremacy and set back their own struggles for freedom.

This is not to say that we should suddenly start, in many cases continue, sitting on our couches and silently ignore the world around us. We have plenty of things to fight for ourselves within the west. For example, we need better transparancy from companies about where their products come from; we need to fight wage disparity until it's gone; the 6-hour day movement is long overdue; the growth of Fascism in Europe is harrowing and needs to be stopped; the killing of animals for our food and milk should be stopped; nuclear nonproliferation needs to be kicked back in full-gear; militarization needs to be cut back; we need to stop burning fossil fuels quick; and plenty more small and large examples of legitimate struggles. The one I started off with, better transparancy, could actually be truly helpful for activists elsewhere in the world by providing them with information.

If, however, you do wish to help activists fight for better conditions outside of the West keep an eye out to calls for solidarity. When a movement is struggling for better conditions and has hit a hard patch in their struggle it can be very helpful to see that they're not alone in this world. Solidarity can be far stronger than dollars. Charity itself is often just a way to legitimize the exploitation as we can simply say: "It's ok, I gave to charity" and ignore the actual problems that are going on. It is merely a common coping strategy in the cognitive dissonance between knowingly aiding systems of exploitation and knowing that it is morally repugnant to exploit and oppress people. Nothing is stronger than voluntary self-delusion.

There is, of course, a difference between voluntarily aiding in a system of exploitation and doing so because of financial reasons. It is not within the ability for many people in the west to only buy clothes which were produced humanely and even a vegan diet may be out of reach. I myself do not have the financial resources to only buy ethically sourced products and am thus forced not to. The fact that there are millions upon millions of unemployed people and millions more working for a low minimum-wage shows that, as I have mentioned before, there are plenty of things to struggle for within the west as well. If we can achieve fairer wage distribution and less unemployment through the 6-hour day it becomes possible for more of us to buy ethically sourced products which would, in turn, improve conditions abroad without having to send a drone from Washington DC with love while simultaneously improving our own lives. Instead of spending countless amounts of money on expensive "interventions" that only serve to the detriment of lives across the board a global struggle of solidarity for improved conditions would actually improve conditions.

To sum up, we in the west must stop deluding ourselves that charity and "interventions" are helpful because they only serve to the detriment of local struggles abroad. Solidarity and local struggles for improved conditions here in the west are far more useful because they serve to improve our lives and hopefully lead to a small ripple effect. By allowing people abroad to fight their own struggles without western interference we stop perpetuating this ever-present system of white supremacy. The only legitimate interference is showing solidarity from the home.