The full piece by Oonya Kempadoo “‘Thanks, But . .’ Race and the Politics of Aid and Charity” published on Repeating Islands should be read and shared as widely as possible. I’d like to highlight one small bit:
Digging deeper to refocus, beyond guilt, beyond ego, without diminishing compassion or the spirit of generosity, within our own countries, communities or with the other, is necessary but not easily done. Looking at poverty and injustices in your own backyard is not easy, particularly if you think of yourself or your country and culture as better off.
The whole piece is fabulous, and this part is particularly striking to me for the note on “without diminishing compassion or the spirit of generosity.” It seems that so many people do international aid activities/work because they want to support and help others, but where that goal needs to be oriented towards an expanded conversation where we see other people as part of the inclusive us, including our communities locally, and for us to own both our intentions and our impacts.
Thanks to Oonya Kempadoo for sharing this important piece!