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David Lammy is right, calling the "white rescuers" narration – if only comic book relief understands



"Poverty Pornography" – using the poor to gain attention or compassion for charity is a relatively new term for such an old phenomenon.

Most of us have grown up, seeing poor African childhood ads with faces, or are forced to endure several versions of Band Aid's patronizing versions: "Do they know they have Christmas time? the poor, and even more so what the west can do to "save".

If you are not familiar with poverty pornography in any way, all you have to do is go to Instagram and you will be able to find at least one example of a white person surrounded by a group of black children signing how their experiences in Africa "changed their lives ”.

Or, go to the Stacey Dooley profile.

Worker David Lammy recently criticized the strengthening of stereotypes of "white rescuer" by research journalists after Dooley worked with Comic Relief when a child from Uganda posted him.

He said: “The world does not need more white rescuers. As I have said before, it only keeps tired and useless stereotypes. Instead, we will promote voices from across the continent of Africa and discuss it seriously. ”

Lammy's comments come a year after Comic Relief promised to deal with the white rescuer's stereotype. According to Comic Relief CEO Liz Warners The Guardian: "You will see the films we put on Sports Relief, a step towards … change. People who speak in their first voice, local heroes and local heroes talk to us about the work they do. You won't see a celebrity standing in front of the people talking about them. ”

But it is clear that more needs to be done to address this issue, which is apparently still not understood by Comic Relief. In response to Lammy's criticism, charity said they had approached him to create his own "Movie in Africa", further emphasizing their inability to understand the problem first.

What people who have come to Dooley's defense have not quite realized that Lammy has not said that white people do not help or travel to Africa at all, but that they should be tired of the old news reinforced by Comic Relief.

Moving celebrities to these developing countries focuses more on their "hard work" and distress than on the local population. Celebrities such as Dooley are far from the lives of ordinary people in their home countries, and when they commit to charity appeals, their "courage" tends to overshadow the actual problem.

It is foreseeable that Lammy's decision to call Dooley failed, and Dooley and her supporters remained blatantly ignorant of the detailed explanation given by Lammy about the power of Comic Relief to make western narratives about Africa.

He basically claims that the importance of Comic Relief in playing is essential and should use its platform to give people a more nuanced view of African countries. Only by showing images of people's poverty, we see Africa only in a negative light. But still, Dooley replied to Lammy Twitter with reductive: "David is a question with me white?" (The real question) … because if that is the case, can you always go there and try to raise awareness?

Photos from white people – especially white women – with black children, without any indication of whether they even had their family's consent to take, share their photos, everywhere. So much that there is even a Barbie Savior's parody profile that repeats the tropical. But people should not demand these images as an influencing factor to return to charity organizations. Nor should they buy the imperialist idea that the West is the only way that Africans will be able to avoid poverty.

Dooley has included various topics in BBC documentaries, many of which have been in developing countries. You assume that she would have learned to think that the West is now the mercy of the world. You also assume that she would know the importance of representation and how specific images tell different stories. It is therefore disappointing that she does not understand how she, as a white person, has contributed to dated stories about this continent.

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For many children, Comic Relief is their first meeting with Africa. As Black Brits, the way Africa is represented has deeply affected me. White children in school would ask if there is electricity in Africa and whether we had water – does it make me question my views on the continent until I start more talk with my mother about Africa and started reading more about my heritage.

As an African from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I still have to visit my country, but I was lucky enough to spend time in Ghana two years ago. This experience completely changed the way I saw Africa and myself. Being reminded of how bad the western representatives of Africa are – usually with cottages, starving children and anything else. Because what I experienced in Ghana was so far from it. In some parts of it there was even more similarity with the places I have seen in Europe.

It is therefore important that the people of developing countries tell their stories rather than someone who has limited knowledge of the specifics of their experience. As Lammy said earlier: "African people do not need a British politician to make a film. I want the people of Africa to speak for themselves, not the celebrities in the UK who are acting as guides. ”

Appeals such as Dooley's should not be in the charity sector. Instead of going to these countries to provide the services they just do not understand, white people should learn about how these developing countries first became poor.


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