If the only time you take pictures with black and brown people is when you go to another country, that's incredibly fucked up and racist.
To all my well-meaning white friends who are planning on traveling to countries full of black or brown people, countries designated as third world or as impoverished:
STOP TAKING PICTURES OF YOURSELF SURROUNDED BY BLACK AND BROWN KIDS, STOP TAKING PICTURES OF LOCALS LIKE THEY’RE A NEW BREED OF EXCITING AND EXOTIC PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE JUST STUMBLED UPON.
Stop making statuses about how much seeing barefoot kids has humbled you to your privilege. They are not ways to feed your savior complex. Stop going to these countries and exploiting locals for your mission trips, your volunteer trips, your research trips. And if the only time you hug black and brown children or take pictures with black and brown people is when they go to another country then that is also incredibly fucked up and racist
Of course, if locals want to take pictures with you that's chill, and it's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about white people using brown people as props. The end.
Is there a way for white people to not be exploitative or voyeuristic or fetishistic when they travel? I'm sure there is--but taking pictures with all the poor barefoot children on your two week trip to another country with a caption like, "This trip humbled me and made me appreciate everything I have" isn't it. People are not poverty porn.
To hear more from Mia, follow her on Instagram at @miamonchichi.