That’s No “White Savior”

My young nephew, who is Black**, was playing with a group of children a couple years ago when one of the white kids in the group pointed at him and said, “Your skin’s the same color as poop!” Another kid stepped in. “Hey! That’s racist!” this second white kid responded to the first. And again, “Hey! That’s racist!”

When I share stories like this, I’m increasingly noticing white people express concern that this is “white savior” behavior. “Should that second white kid have stepped in like that?” they ask. “Shouldn’t he have waited for your nephew to respond first?” “Was it his place to define what that moment meant?”

These questions belie a significant amount of white anxiety about being accused of being a white savior, combined with even more confusion about what that even means. The prevalence of these questions worries me, because it suggests lots of white folks who otherwise see ourselves as antiracist-committed are remaining silent in moments when we really must speak.

We need to talk about this.

[[My faithful blog readers (all nearly 2,000 of you): Please click the hyperlink above to finish reading this post. Doing so will you take you to the full article, which can be found on Medium. I am preparing to shut down LivingFormations for the ease and access of Medium and want to seriously ask you to please come “follow” me there. You don’t have to be a member, there’s no fees, nothing. But, it would be really, really awesome if all nearly 2,000 of you showed up there. Just click here and you’ll get all my Medium writing delivered in your email box, just like “livingformations” has been. In the next two weeks this blog site will be archived an no longer active. Thank you SO much for reading my work. I hope you won’t stop even though I’m migrating.]]

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