10 responses

  1. Jennifer Lentfer
    June 29, 2015

    Comments from Facebook:
    “Truth. If I have to hear another person say “he/she is Swazi, but they’re one of the good ones” or something along those lines…”
    “Is being an ally enough? Aside from publicly stating it on your blog? How do you put this in practice when in the field?”

    And here @borderlessciti shares a great, honest piece sharing more on their experience of racism in international aid: “The Good Afghan: Race and Racism in Foreign Service!

  2. Apollo
    June 29, 2015

    This is an extremely sobering blog! I must admit that I have seen white aid workers that are extremely sensitive to the issues you raise and do everything possible to embrace Southern-contribution to the development discourse – it is very rare pedigree. I have also seen on many occasions, how a person from the South, with exactly the same point if not better, is simply disregarded during meetings as they simply can’t talk, reason, and engage in the Northern/Western frame of reference.

  3. Rolf S.
    July 1, 2015

    So glad to see more people in the development sector highlighting this!

    I recently had an article published trying to generate more discussion on this among development workers and academics who study development (I’ve posted a free link to the PDF below)–thanks to the emphasis on positionality and race in the teacher education literature, new teachers in the US tend to get a lot of opportunity to think through their privilege and positionality and how it affects their work. Unfortunately, nothing like this really exists in the development sector yet. I wrote this article to try to model how development workers could similarly problematize their privilege:


  4. Zehra
    July 8, 2015

    THANK YOU, Jennifer for writing this! It’s something that I balance carefully as a person of colour but not from the global south (a term I hate but there we go).

    I have a lot more to say on this but just not now (no time!). For now, just wanted to say, YES! and thank you and keep going!

  5. Jennifer Lentfer
    July 22, 2015

    Great article from The Body is Not An Apology:
    “A person who is willing to talk, in good faith, with other human beings about how to solve problems that afflict this world has a place in this conversation. A person who can only talk about how uncomfortable it is to address problems that afflict this world is just causing a distraction. There is no neutral ground. Either you throw your feelings at serious problems and accomplish nothing, or you get down to brass tacks and start working with people who want to accomplish something more than not giving offense.” http://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/the-new-york-times-racism-and-the-politics-of-discomfort/

  6. JMCooper
    October 10, 2015

    This is the conversation we have not been having in my 25 years of humanitarian work. Instead of getting better, the situation is getting worse. Despite being vocal, our voices are unheard. In spite of being at the forefront of the response, our faces are not seen, or worse, other faces are substituted for some kind of authenticity. We have processes and consultations, conferences and summits but they all lead to the same rehashing of “we can do better; we must do more”…and we don’t. Arundhati Roy says “There is no such thing as the voiceless; only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard.” In the humanitarian and development community, the locals are far from voiceless and very much silenced and unheard. Thank for starting this conversation…I will contribute.

Leave a Reply




Back to top
mobile desktop