Not All Westerners are Evil

Let’s get political up in here. Rafia Zakaria recently posted an article on Al Jazeera that really yanked my crank. It’s about the #bringbackourgirls campaign on Twitter regarding the 200 kidnapped girls in Nigeria. Here are my thoughts on it:

I understand the importance of social media in instances such as organizing protests and, yes, spreading awareness about injustice. However, too often I think that people equate spreading awareness with activism; it bugs the shit out of me when people post on social media about these issues or simply tweet a hashtag but then don’t do anything to address it or stop it in their real life. It’s like they think that tweeting a hashtag is their good deed of the day, and then they can go on with their lives without thinking twice about it.

Additionally, as this article discusses, using the uplifting of women as a means for justifying war- such as the Bush administration’s boasting about how the war in Afghanistan helped to liberate women- is also wrong. War helps no one, and there are ways to empower women without violence.

Hooowwwever, the rest of this article is shit. It basically says that the only reason why Westerners care about the abducted girls in Nigeria is that our Western Savior Complex makes us feel sorry for them and believe that we are the only ones who can help them. It states that, ignoring other, more complex problems in the developing world, we can only recognize the simplistic plight of young black and brown girls- calling this our “schoolgirl feminism.” Um, young girls are a legitimately and deeply oppressed group of people in the developing world. Reducing their problems to “schoolgirl feminism” is not only simplistic in of itself, it’s offensive. These girls often live in cultures that not only don’t want to help them but want to maintain the female inferiority and violence against women and girls status quo. I think that it’s okay for us to impose our Western value of gender equality in other countries. While it’s vital to use local resources and organizations instead of just blindly or ignorantly coming in to save the day, we can’t do nothing. No, we shouldn’t act violently. But this article condemns us for caring at all. Some of us are just caring people who see the abduction of a few hundred girls as the true atrocity that it is. We’re not all ignorant, egotistic people who simply need to save.

What would you prefer us to do, Ms. Zakaria- be unsympathetic, coldhearted robots who don’t want to help our fellow humans?


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