White saviours: challenging poverty tourism
Other than being white, male, rich and famous, what do Ed Sheeran, Tom Hardy and Eddie Redmayne have in common? They’ve all been award-nominees for starring in porn.
But it’s not what you think. Rather than dramatic career changes into X-rated material, we’re talking ‘poverty porn’: the patronizing charity appeals shown on TV.
A group of young Norwegians has taken it upon themselves to challenge such ads, which they say promote ‘white-saviour’ attitudes and over-simplify poverty.
Since 2014, the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund has hosted an annual Radi-Aid awards to highlight the best and worst in NGO campaigns. The organization hopes that this will encourage a shift away from stereotypes and ‘outdated’ messages about development.
The winner of last year’s ‘most offensive’ film was a Comic Relief video starring popstar Ed Sheeran, in which he offers to pay hotel fees for Liberian street children. The Radi-Aid jury said it was ‘irresponsible’ and an example of ‘poverty tourism’.
Help us produce more like this
Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership. With a new podcast, eBooks, tote bags and magazine subscriptions on offer, as well as early access to video and articles, we’re very excited about our Patreon! If you’re not on board yet then check it out here.