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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Poll: is it time for charities to drop “white saviour” campaigning?

This poll is over 3 years old

A row erupted this week when Labour MP David Lammy accused documentary maker and Strictly star Stacey Dooley of having a “white saviour complex”.

Dooley had posted pictures of herself with local children in Uganda, where she was filming for Comic Relief.

However, Lammy said this supported “tired and unhelpful” stereotypes, displaying “white saviour complex”.

Lammy’s comments open an old debate which has haunted the international aid sector, over wealthy, often white, celebrities being flown to the developing world to front campaigns.

They have been accused of indulging in “poverty porn” – with a film for Comic Relief by Ed Sheeran drawing particularly harsh criticism froman aid watchdog.

This is why we are asking – is it time for charities to drop “white saviour” campaigning?

Vote now and join in the debate by leaving a comment.

Is it time for charities to drop “white saviour” campaigning?

Voting in this poll has now closed


0 0
over 3 years ago
• While I can see that there's a debate to be had around the legacy of colonialism and the UK's interactions with Africa, I can not believe that as many folk would watch a film that simply detailed this suffering without the input from a celebrity as would with it. • The point is to raise awareness - if a million more people watch a film because a Strictly star is in it, is that not a million more people who might give a damn, think about the global impact of their lifestyles, vote for more compassionate politicians etc? • I remember well the Comic Relief films made by Billy Connolly - and while it shames me to admit it I am not sure they would have been so memorable without Billy fronting them. • I also feel that Lenny Henry, whose brainchild Comic Relief is, is by no means a fool - and also he is by no means unreflective, and he is by no means in need of extra celebrity status... so if it's alright by Lenny it's alright by me.
0 0
over 3 years ago
Mr Lammy and like minded people would soon be complaining if these celebs decided that they don't need his comments and negative publicity and withdrew support.
0 0
over 3 years ago
Let's stop all patronisation of other countries. Stop any charity or foreign aid monies going abroad. It is hugely patronising!!!!
0 0
Pam Gourlay
over 3 years ago
It's time to not dispel the perceptions that some countries are only about poverty. It perpetuates inequalities and understanding.
0 0
over 3 years ago
Band Aid done an incredible job of highlighting what was happening in Africa and led the way in how powerful music and other celebrity mediums can be I dont think the aid that charities like Comic Relief etc would receive anywhere near as much donoations if it wasnt for the celebrity influence. Seeing just straight news would I believe make people turn the channel over rather than help because it would be to distressing to watch. This is a celebrity culture we live in and social media is the way to get the message out their made slightly softer by using people like Ed Sheeran and reaching as many people as possible.
0 0
Lok Yue
over 3 years ago
Perhaps Mr Lamy has done huge amounts to help address dire need and poverty in parts of Africa. Perhaps not. In any event, the point should be whether or not the people are getting the help they need. I doubt somebody forced to drink polluted water or is in a state of advance malnutrition would be in the slightest bit interested as to how help is provided. Perhaps Mr. Lammy should indeed stick to 'debate' and leave others to do their job regardless of race, colour or creed