White Savior Complex 

By Raven Carthon 

There is truly no internal urge that demands one to see justice for others. No one is hardwired to feel like they must carry out the needs of those who are underprivileged. This becomes especially true for the issue behind the white savior complex. 

The white savior complex can be defined as a “person who is depicted as liberating, rescuing or uplifting non-white people.” While many issues surrounding the black community are aided by a white figure in order to make it more engaging for the public, the idea that a white person must always be there infantilizes the community as a whole. Although harm is not intended, this begs the question: are you helping to crush systematic oppression, or attempting to ease your own guilt? 

This complex is deeply ingrained into our society, stemming from centuries ago with westerners believing that they contained all inherent knowledge and wished to liberate those who knew less than them. This mindset has carried over today, as white people believe that they are in a position of power and should use this however they see fit. While using one’s privilege to offer solutions is admirable, the white savior complex does not look past surface issues and only strives for immediate solutions rather than solutions that will stick. 

While the help of allies is deeply important, keeping this mentality is essentially a form of blindness to the issue. In doing this, a very small scope of perspective is being created to view the black community. Rather than being viewed as a resilient community, they are looked upon as something that needs to be saved and restored which defeats the purpose of the cause. 

In order to reach a resolution one must be able to acknowledge the wrong doings behind the white savior complex.