The road to hell is paved with good intentions!
Please be advised, this topic may be offensive to some, but it is a much needed and debated one. I recently started following @nowhitesaviors on Instagram, and I found their page very insightful and informative. They have captured and resonated the deep-seated feeling of hurt and disgust of white people being ‘our’ saviours. It’s as though, we (black people) cannot achieve anything meaningful and worthy without their assistance or validation. However, the root of the matter is that Recognising} oppressor could never be your saviour!
As the lyrics from Sizzla’s (No White God) wafts through the air, I am reminded ever so gently that if ‘the white man hates me, how can his God bless me’? Despite the controversial, even blasphemous lyrics, my “wokeness” is tickled to reality. Why do we so blindly lean on the understandings and trappings of Christianity and a white Jesus to give us solace, especially in our most profound moments of despair and persecution? ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’. I guess the young men of the Central Park 5 (When They See Us) have gained their heaven on earth. Even Karl Marx highlighted that ‘religion is the opiate of the masses.’ Further solidifying that Christianity, led by a white Jesus, was an instrument wielded and disseminated over centuries to keep black people submissive and compliant. To supplement the subjugation, slaveowners used the ‘Slave Bible’ – a redacted bible used to indoctrinate slaves into Christianity – convincing them into thinking slavery was ordained by God. And like the story of the pied piper, blacks have dutifully followed, maybe to their demise.
How many times have you experienced ‘if it ain’t white; it ain’t right’? I am sure more times than not. Scrolling through job profiles on LinkedIn, I saw three African Research Associates and guess what? They were all white. Agreeably, there are white Africans, but I delved deeper into their profiles – two were American, and one was British. How were they considered better qualified over the countless African, Black Britons, or African Americans who have studied and, in many cases, possessed the African experience? Which brings me back to an incident which occurred in 2015 and is currently the subject of a civil lawsuit in Uganda – Renee Bach and her NGO, Serving His Children. An unqualified “white doctor” and her non-profit missionary “saving lives” under the holy guise of God, while children were dying and suffering under her purview. A white woman donned in a white lab coat, crucifix and stethoscope claiming to have the “cure” for malnutrition. No doubt, this was white saviourism at its best!
Another clear case of the white is right agenda is seen in Academia. There are an estimated 20,000 professors in higher education in the UK, yet only about 150 are black! As outlined by a report presented in 2017, Black Minority Ethnic academics are less likely to occupy professorial positions and tend to encounter issues of wage difference. More generally, they are pointedly less likely to gain employment opportunities in higher education. Also, less likely to benefit from a permanent/open-ended contract of employment. An institution, whose name includes African Studies, consists of very little African/Afro Caribbean professors, especially in the faculty of African and Development Studies. To me, this is the perpetuation of imperialization. You see, white supremacy has evolved and become more sophisticated over time – power dynamics are maintained through policy, diplomacy and foreign aid. This pulls a veil over our eyes, convincing us that white people care about our equality. Yet. All they want is for us to be satisfied with the breadcrumbs and the basic level of humanity that they have dispensed, leading us to believe that we are ‘blessed’ by their ‘generosity’. Every time we bow to their feet, we perpetuate the existing power dichotomy where the whites maintain control over us.
In the words of the late, great Robert Nesta Marley (Get Up Stand Up), ‘you can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time’. Therefore, it is about time, we Africans/Afro Caribbean/Blacks see the light, unite and stand against imperialism, white saviourism and tyranny. We need to look to ourselves for help and we need to support one another – buy from black businesses, invest in black businesses, and fund black ventures. Kudos to those who do!