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White people like the white saviour narrative, because they can identify with the white protagonist, who is absolved from white guilt and becomes a white hero for people of colour to worship. When the white protagonist joins the group of people of colour, white people imagine that it is possible for a white person to purge his whiteness, and hence, to free himself from white guilt and responsibility. Paradoxically, not only does the white protagonist rid himself of white guilt, but he also becomes the hero, the saviour, the superior group member because he is white.
Moreover, in the white saviour narrative, all the people of colour collectively bow down or even prostrate before the white protagonist to symbolize the white person’s superiority over all people of colour (such as in Avatar, after Jake Sully tames the Toruk), and to indicate the submission of people of colour to white leadership. The white protagonist is smarter, better, faster, or stronger than people of colour because of his whiteness. The story’s internal logic requires a reason for the white protagonist’s unique superiority, so it is usually his white culture that makes him superior. Superior white culture takes the form of symbolically white technology (telescopes, rifles, Western marksmanship in Dances With Wolves), white skills (American military training in The Last Samurai), or white knowledge (scientific reasoning from the white protagonist in Avatar, who happened to be characterized as being below-average in both science and reasoning).
High-profile evolutionary psychology arguments are thinly-veiled justifications for white supremacist ideology. For example, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa argues that it is natural and biological for men to prefer blonde (white) women, because blonde hair signals youth, health, and fecundity. (He also uses evolutionary psychology to argue “Why most suicide bombers are Muslim”, “humans are naturally polygamous”, and “sexual harassment isn’t sexist”.)
In “If Men Could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinem makes the persuasive argument that “Whatever a ‘superior’ group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever an ‘inferior’ group has will be used to justify its plight.”
What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?
The answer is clear: Black women would represent value, purity; and based on their natural traits would be worthy of protection and instantly become the objects of universal desire. White women would represent the opposite.
White female features would be declared violent. Their “jagged” thin lips, “knife sharp” noses, and “harsh” jaw lines would be nature’s way of expressing why men have a natural preference for the soft features of black women. Soft lips, soft cheekbones, and soft, round noses would be proof of natural femininity. Full, pink lips and large, dark eyes would become associated with virginal black girls whose purity must not be compromised. Black female features would thus be said to represent youth.
Some individuals believe that a “safe space” is one in which people can talk about a sensitive topic without being criticized. When the topic is race, some white individuals expect that a “safe” anti-racist space is one that is safe for whites to talk about race. However, a safe space for whites is one that is unsafe for people of colour.
When discussing race, the greatest fear for whites is being “attacked” by being accused of racism. The greatest fear for people of colour is being attacked by racism itself. If people should be able to discuss issues of race without being criticized, in practice, the result is the silencing of people of colour, while leaving whites beyond reproach.
Poverty Is Rooted In US Education System, Research Finds (ScienceDaily, May 5, 2009):
“There is no simple answer to alleviate poverty, just as there is no simple answer for its embedded state in America,” Taylor said. “However, the common element shared by all is our humanness. People devastated by poverty are not deficient, less than or subhuman. They are not broken; however, the system in which they are embroiled very well may be.”
Taylor’s historical research shows that numerous factors led to poverty, including laws and acts, white and male privilege, scientific racism and social welfare. Her research about the current manifestations of poverty shows that much work needs to be done, because the situation has not improved. Taylor said a problem in U.S. public schools is that many reinforce a dominant cultural reproduction, which undermines independent thought.
“Education in the modern corporate-industrial society has emerged as central to state political and ideological management,” she said. “Political and ideological management involves ideation, which in this context means the imparting and reinforcement of ideas and values that support the current economic and social order.”
Taylor said frequently textbooks in primary and secondary schools and in higher education do not address issues like poverty fully and often are reduced and oversimplified. “Far too many schools continue to endorse a curriculum of the absurd that encompasses ‘heroification’ of primarily white males, while the contributions of women and people of color appear in pop-out format in textbooks,” she said.