We’re living in a time where the terms “woke” and “problematic” have become colloquial shorthand to describe almost any and all behavior. A simple social media search will show that the culture has developed a way of assigning almost anything to either category quickly and unflinchingly.
Babies in cages? Problematic, at least. Intersectional feminism? Woke AF. White supremacy? Problematic. White allies? Woke AF.
But, does everything fit neatly into one or the other category of social critique? The Instagram account @NoWhiteSaviors has started an important conversation around one cultural phenomenon — white saviorism — that while seemingly harmless, is in fact, an extension of privilege and white supremacy. On its face and with some audiences, it can pass as a woke attempt to uplift black and brown communities; yet it has a darker reality that is unequivocally problematic.
This Black History Month, we break down five signs of White Savior Complex, a pathology of white saviorism that many Western citizens (including POC) subscribe to, based on what we’ve learned from the experts at No White Saviors (NWS).