Craig Kielburger is beloved amongst white people from the rich and unfamous corporate VP to the celebrities who need an African photo-op. His Me to We organization runs We Day, the largest Canadian camp for White Saviours. We Days provide thousands of white school children a chance to see a heavily sponsored pop concert while deluded teachers pretend there is some social benefit to their day off school. Some of Kielburger’s more recent works include appropriating the phrase “Be the change” in attempt to make it meaningless. He also provides neocolonial government practices cover in his writings. Here is how you can do it too.
Open with exoticization. Most Kielburger article starts with a good othering, a heart-tugging description for their white audience of a Black or Brown person in a foreign place. Look at how the others live the Kielburgers’ say. Read our poverotic description. Continue with a description of the setting peppered with all the othering markers you can muster to make them seem weak, noble, and most importantly ripe for saving. If they are in Africa, talk about their tribe. If they are indigenous, reference the colonially imposed reservation they grew up on. If they are not white, and if you are writing like a Kielburger they won’t be white, don’t mention their nation or any unique unqualified identifiers that they would attach to their community.
Speak for others. A good Kielburger article never just describes a prop exoticized other without then speaking for them. When speaking for others it is important to focus on their emotions because this allows white people to appear more balanced and objective. Another thing you want to do is to describe a journey or progression that ends with this person meeting you, the white person beyond history (this is important for later). The central goal however in speaking for others is to lock them to their setting (which you also should have exoticized earlier) so white people can remain experts and the only legitimate travelers.
Only quote official sources. Ensuring that you use as many government and other official (we mean people in power) sources ensure you don’t ever actually threaten the status quo. The Kielburgers have such a successful charity empire because they tie themselves to traditional empire. Need to name check a social movement, talk to the compradors that tried to sell it out. Want to mention feminism, find male celebrities who’ve mentioned it too. Thinking of writing about a country with a government put in place by a Western coup, be sure to follow their official line. Remember when you are speaking for others letting them get a word in might indicate a bit too obviously how you aren’t doing anything but trying to excuse their oppression.
Decontextualize. The Kielburgers are simply masters at this. They declared race a lesser issue in South Africa than language. They described Canada’s removal of Haiti’s democratically elected government simply as: “our ties”. They celebrated the colonially imposed First Nations Education Act as though it was welcomed (and not with protests). To write like a Kielburger you have to ignore history, you know like an empire apologist.
Celebrate only whiteness. White accomplishments are the most important in the Kielburger universe. They need your money and they can’t get you to spend thousands joining them to go build a school in a town that can build their own school, if the Kielburgers admit to you that non-white people can accomplish things too. So, they’ll give a white celebrity credit for saving Darfur. They’ll give a white celebrity credit for feeding Haiti. They’ll give a white celebrity credit for, well pretty much anything. Now join them so you can be like a celebrity too.
Wield the big stick of positivity. The Kielburgers like to make up simple friendly answers to their decontextualized problems. The answer to embedded and historic oppression is… random acts of kindness, or sharing a family meal. Kindness will address global poverty. This concert featuring pop artists who are extremely normative will encourage anti-bullying. This may be the hardest part, keeping everything happy and simple. Unlike the Kielburgers when you write this way you aren’t doing it with the knowledge that your charity empire is growing the more you pump out this drivel.