Within a matter of days, the film “Kony 2012″, put out by the NGO Invisible Children (IC), went viral. In the beginning, the film highlights the brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Christian militia group in Uganda led by a man named Joseph Kony. The LRA is known for committing massive human rights violations, such as using child soldiers, murder, mutilation, abduction, and sexual enslavement of women and children. Most of the film, though, focuses on IC’s efforts to bring Kony to justice and encourages viewers to take part in the campaign. What IC explicitly advocates is U.S. military intervention in Uganda to apprehend Joseph Kony.
I could not help but cringe as I watched this film. For one, it reeked of a disturbing white savior undertone. Ugandans were not portrayed as agents of their own liberation. Rather, they (particularly the young boy Jacob) were portrayed as helpless victims in need of Western do-gooders to save them with charity rather than solidarity and empowerment. As an African-American, I could not help but be offended by this. Many Read the rest of this entry »