Dialogue Questions – White Savior Industrial Complex (+ Fourth of July)

Hi friends!

Sorry for the delay in our reminder email – something about the holiday weekend swept Friday away from us. But, we’re still chatting tomorrow with whomever is interested in joining us. This is our weekly reminder that we will be meeting Sunday, July 5th at 7PM EST on Zoom. The link can be found here and at the bottom of this email. 

This week we’ll talk about Teju Cole’s 2012 essay: “The White Savior Industrial Complex.”

  1. When have you wanted to “help” a cause that felt far off and external to you? What drew you to that cause, specifically?
  2. How can we grapple with the reality that doing good in communities can also bring harm?
  3. In a past situation, how has cultural competency guided us towards “partnering” with a community rather than “saving” it?
  4. In what ways can we recenter our desire to help others so that the focus is on the people closest to the problem, and not on ourselves?

Sending this a day late does feel a little serendipitous, considering it gives us a chance to send a few notes about the Fourth of July. For those of us celebrating today, we hope you have so much fun. But, please be safe and conscientious of others. We know that Black people, Indigenous people, and Latinx people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. As we work to be anti-racist in our beliefs, let this translate to our most simple actions: wear a mask if you’ll be in a crowd today, avoid large crowds to the extent that you can, and commit to standing up to the racism that may surface as we talk about our shared country this year. 

Here’s a quick and powerful video, featuring Frederick Douglas’s *great great great great* grandchildren speaking his “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech. In the midst of your celebrations, we encourage you to give this 6 minutes of your day. This is a holiday for reevaluating our relationship with our country, our history, and our role in re-learning and re-telling it.

“For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”

ALSO, have you watched Hamilton yet? Emily lives under a rock so despite listening to this song on every single run she’s been on since summer 2017, she didn’t really know anything about it. Honestly, it’s worth the hype. You probably already know that but it just came out on DisneyPlus so if you were looking for a way to celebrate the Fourth that allows you to avoid crowds, may we recommend Hamilton? 


See you *tomorrow* at 7PM EST. Until then, stay safe and healthy and have a happy holiday!

In solidarity,

Ellie and Emily

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: