In Community Development work, critics talk about the danger of the White Savior Complex. I get it. To the extent that it is a problem, the complex perpetuates arrogance. It is built on the false assumption that white people know more, know better, know how to fix and solve problems. In some cases, it is even more insidious. Consciously or unconsciously, it assumes that one way of being in the world is superior to another way of being in the world.
Let me be as clear as possible. I do not believe that one way of being in the world is superior to another – particularly if we are suggesting that a White Western model is the answer to the world’s biggest challenges. More to the point, I do not believe that well-intentioned Americans and Europeans should shape the vision for, or control the execution of, community development projects and programs in other parts of the world.
I reject the superior/inferior frame of reference. I hate when I hear people say, “Africa is such a mess.” Africa has problems like every other continent. But Africa is beyond wealthy in natural resources, human capital, and cultural diversity. At Crossing Thresholds, we believe that humility and equality are the virtues upon which our mission stands. We do not come to Kenya to do charity work. We come to Kenya with a clear understanding of basic human rights, and a heart for equal opportunity. We come to Kenya with the conviction that the human family rises or falls together … that we share a responsibility for one another.
Alongside our commitment to humility and equality, we have an uncompromising commitment to collaboration. The world is interconnected whether we know it or not. The world’s problems are complex. We are much better equipped to tackle those problems together than as singular entities. As a result, Crossing Thresholds doesn’t care about the color of your skin. (Actually, we do. Skin color is beautiful.) We don’t care about your politics or your religious preference(s). We care primarily about 3 things -- each person’s willingness to bring a teachable mind, a humble heart, and a generous spirit.
Together we rise, or NOT.
CT Founder and Executive Director