Black people didn’t ask you to ‘save’ them
Why the savior complex is so exhausting to those who didn’t ask you to be
“Did she give you that cape that you’ve glued to your back?” I thought to myself during a recent conversation. I’d listened to a non-black woman go on and on about the number of black people at a prior job that she’d advised, and how she was sure they all looked up to her. I pondered on just how often these black women (she specified the race of the women) she advised gave her the credit that she was giving herself. Something tells me that this relationship may have not been as mutual as she believes.
It’s the Christopher Columbus-level logic: “I came onto your land, and therefore, I’ve upgraded your land.” This mode of thinking very seldom considers other role models nor prior existence of said person who needed this “hero” — or assumes they have any. It just comes in to “save” this person in a way to mirror his/her own lifestyle.
I thought about sharing my thoughts while she bragged but realized that I would pretty much be wasting my time. The woman speaking was older, set in her ways and seemed fairly confident in giving herself a trophy that no one had offered. This is something I see far too often with non-black people in black communities — K-12 teachers, managers, volunteers and even strangers.