I asked a young White woman why she was studying social anthropology. She replied that she was hoping to go to Zimbabwe, and felt that she could help women there by advising them how to organize. The Black women in the audience gasped in astonishment. Here was someone scarcely past girlhood, who had just started university and had never fought a war in her life. She was planning to go to Africa to teach female veterans of a liberation struggle how to organize! This is the kind of arrogant, if not absurd attitude we encounter repeatedly. It makes one think: Better the distant armchair anthropologists than these ‘sisters’.
African feminist Ifi Amadiume
white people, stay the fuck out of Africa
White people, stay the fuck out of Africa
White people, stay the fuck out of Africa
WHITE PEOPLE, STAY THE FUCK OUT OF AFRICA
(No more White Saviours)
I have mixed feeling on this. Firstly, I agree that many white people, including myself to a degree, are fucking ignorant and arrogant in their attempts to “save” Africans, which shouldn’t even be the language used when talking about traveling to Africa or attempting to work with Africans. Colonialism is very much alive, especially in the “development” field.
I have traveled to South Africa twice, once with family in middle school, and this past winter on a study abroad trip with my university. I also hope to have the opportunity to return this summer on another research trip regarding health in public housing, a collaborative effort between VCU and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
My personal reasons for traveling to South Africa are to experience how social justice work is carried out in a different culture and context, and hopefully have the privilege to participate in some capacity. I also wish to identify and analyze how struggles there can be related to Virginia and the United States, as well as how various organizing and coping(?) strategies can be adapted for our own contexts, and vice versa.
While the trip I went on did have a sort of charity element to it (we brought clothes, soccer balls and jerseys), the main focus was to learn about Zulu culture and the struggles in post-Apartheid rural South Africa. Our professor was born and raised in the area we spent a majority of our time in, and his sister is the principal of the school we worked/learned with. We also were trained/worked with a local ngo based out of UKZN, Sinomlando, who performs Oral History & Memory Work. In this context, it was largely based around the impact of HIV/AIDS on children in this community, many of whom have lost parents due to the epidemic.
I think using a blanket statement of “white people stay out of Africa” is problematic. If as white people, especially when we are young, do not travel and experience other cultures first hand, we can still become prone to the trap of armchair (insert -ist here), simply relying on secondary and tertiary sources. I believe it is very important to read and listen to the so called subaltern, individuals from the Global South (third world, majority world), but it isn’t the same as seeing, hearing, feeling for yourself the situations in places other than the “Great White West”. That being said, it is still VERY IMPORTANT to not get caught up in “white saviourism”, which I try not to do, but I very much appreciate others to call me out.
My roommates, who are by no means “radical”, like to tease me by saying “you only hang out with black people when its for charity”. This hurts me every time I hear it, because I don’t see myself that way, but there must be some truth to it? But it’s not like I hang out with black people, or other POC for that matter, for “rad points” or anything, because that would be tokenizing right? I hang out with people because we have something in common, because we are friends, regardless of race. However I also recognize my whiteness and combating the systems of white supremacy in my life is a daily struggle. Sure, most of my friends and people I hang out with are white, and male for that matter, but by no means all of them.
I will be giving a presentation on my trip to South Africa on Monday, April 15 at 6pm in Hibbs 426 (world studies media room). I encourage anyone who wants to attend to come and talk with me afterwards (and come see scott crow!). I’d also be glad to present another time, or just meet up and continue this conversation. tumblr works too for those of you not in Richmond
English 391: Topics in Literature: Political Prisoners, Political Literature
Summer Session: 5/21/13-7/11/13, MW 1:00-3:40pm
The course engages the most enduring dilemmas facing prisoners globally in 20th century; it will survey people whose lives are interrupted by incarceration as a result of political upheaval. Our course will question how they overcome the isolation and injustice in order to write and publish. We will explore what their writings can teach us about the individual’s relationship to the community once they have been ostracized from that group. Our readings may include selections from the works of Reinaldo Arenas, Leonard Peltier, Nawal El Saadawi, Jean Genet, Evgenia Ginzburg, Wole Soyinka, and Liu Xiaobo.
This course is a part of OPEN MINDS, a partnership between the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office and Virginia Commonwealth University offering dual enrollment classes held at the Richmond City Jail. Students must apply in writing to be considered for this course.
To apply: in 2 -3 paragraphs explain what you hope to learn from this course and what you hope to contribute. Send your application essay to Professor Reed at email@example.com by Friday April 26 2013.
All OPEN MINDS students must pass a background check and comply with the rules and expectations outlined by the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office.