I once had the distinct pleasure of scrolling through my Facebook feed only to be bombarded with images from a friend’s recent trip to Kenya. Sounds innocent enough, I know, but the images went from intriguing to disturbing in 2 seconds. This Facebook friend was a white, 20-something nurse, who was volunteering in Africa to assist in some surgeries. She also spent time in an orphange, and of course, shared images of sickly babies, and children filling dirty buckets with dirty water. It made perfect sense that she would consider these Kodak moments. But it gets worse. In addition to sharing these photos, she also shared images of the surgeries they were performing while in Africa. Images of adults, out cold on the operating table, their pink flesh made public to the world.
The implication was clear: If you are black and poor, and we are doing you a favor, you wave your right to dignity.
Now this was back in 2008 before folks knew they could get fired over stuff like this, and though we aren’t Facebook friends anymore (I deleted her on the spot and still plan to tell her about herself if I ever catch her on the street), her albums are still public. The images of the surgeries have been taken down, but there are 5 albums filled with pictures of zebras, lions, and African orphans. Zoo animals, Black people, it’s all the same, right? She is the very same person for whom the“Barbie Savior” was modeled.
Using black and white Barbie dolls, the Instagram account pokes fun at the typical white volunteer who makes sure to capture every second of her “selflessness” for her IG followers.
According to the Huffington Post, the account was created by two, self-professed former “white saviors,” only a few weeks ago.
“We were never as ‘savioresque’ as Barbie Savior, but we did things back in our White Savior days that we regret,” they told The Huffington Post.
“It really just started as a joke between us, a way to get some of these things off of our chest. It’s hard to pinpoint the irony at times in real life… the wildly self-centered person veiled as the self-sacrificing saint.”
The account is spot on and hilarious. Here’s hoping that ” saviors” far and wide get the message.