Let us ”help” you – Western arrogance

Educate-yourself

We, the West, have a bit of an attitude problem. After years of growing our economy and increasing our living standards we feel this urge to help people who don’t have it as well as we do. This is, however, an interesting thought and something worth discussing. Because how do we believe we can help people the best? And what do we truly know about them?

In order to help people, you must have a plan. And the Dutch documentary series De Westerlingen is one of the sources providing its watchers with a sense of western ideas not being welcome. It raises the question of what our plan is and whether is it actually helping others.
We are very good at helping our own people and this is probably because we know their customs and way of life. This is, however, not the case when we talk about places in The East or South (or wherever that’s not Europe to be honest). The average Joe probably can’t go into detail about the Arab Continue reading “Let us ”help” you – Western arrogance”

4 attitudes you need to become the ally you want to see in the world.

The past months I’ve had the opportunity to join a theater research project mainly focusing on discrimination and belonging. This provided all the participants, including myself, with the chance to get to know each other in a very special and interesting way. Difficult topics were discussed and often expressed or acted out through theater. However, the most interesting thing that I learnt wasn’t an acting skill or how to get out of my comfort zone (which were also very valuable), it was learning about actively standing by people and being taught what it means to be a so-called ally. Something many people want to be. But before you decide to become a ‘white knight’, let’s explore what it entails. It would be a shame if you were missing out on the essentials, wouldn’t it?

Being white inherently comes with things that many don’t like to admit. There is privilege and there is the massive lack of skill that is required to appropriately deal with this. The ‘’white fragility’’ people experience when they hear something they don’t like, for example: ‘’What you just said is racist’’, is sadly common. This doesn’t mean that you have bad intentions, but is does show that you’re lacking something which a social justice ally shouldn’t. In order to be that ally you do want to see in the world, there are several things you should do, and they are very feasible.

  1. Do not become an ally to win points.

When a (self-proclaimed) ally is joining in to win points, he or she isn’t in it to fully work towards the goal since Continue reading “4 attitudes you need to become the ally you want to see in the world.”

The homeless with heart

Having to rely on people can be quite hard, especially when the people that could be willing to help you also have to possess the combination of a caring heart and cash money. The latter being something that most people don’t have anymore, since they use their cards for payments instead. This is rather convenient and practical but there is also a layer in this same society that funds their place to sleep with it, the homeless. Not long ago, I met a man in Rotterdam. He asked me for a little something I could miss and gave me his story in return and it has kept me thinking ever since.

steeds-meer-daklozen-in-nederland

There is definitely a stigma surrounding the homeless. The idea generally is that these people do drugs and somehow don’t Continue reading “The homeless with heart”