Opinion divided over Lammy and Dooley’s ‘White Saviour’ Twitter spat

David Lammy MP for the Labour Party attends as cross party politicians examine alternative forms of Brexit at a Peoples Vote event at Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors on January 22,...

David Lammy MP has accused Stacey Dooley of being a “white saviour” with her Comic Relief work.

David Lammy MP and Stacey Dooley have become embroiled in a disagreement on social media after Lammy accused Dooley of being a “white saviour”.

“White saviour” is the term for a white person who acts to ‘save’ a non-white person. The term usually relates to public adverts depicting a suffering African child without full context of the situation. These adverts are usually accompanied and narrated by a well-known white celebrity and the narrative may inadvertently present a negative stereotype of the continent.

Lammy - a Labour MP - took exception to Dooley’s recent trip to Africa to help with Comic Relief projects. The Tottenham MP took to Twitter and said: “The world does not need any more white saviours. As I’ve said before, this just perpetuates tired and unhelpful stereotypes. Let’s instead promote voices from across the continent of Africa and have serious debate.”

He continued to clarify that he did not question Dooley’s motives; instead believing her actions to send a “distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era.”

Dooley, who recently won BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, has since hit back at Lammy’s criticism. The Luton-born journalist has been in Uganda and said she has witnessed the good work that Comic Relief is doing firsthand.

Dr Ranj Singh, Joe Sugg, Graeme Swann, Aljaz Skorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, AJ Pritchard, Giovanni Pernice, Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe, Stacey Dooley, Ashley Roberts, Lauren Steadman,...Stacey Dooley (middle) was the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2018.

Replying to Lammy’s tweet, Dooley said: “David, is the issue with me being white? (Genuine question) ...because if that’s the case, you could always go over there and try [to] raise awareness? Comic relief have raised over 1 billion pounds since they started. I saw projects that were saving lives with the money. Kids [sic] lives.”

Comic Relief weighed in on the debate, offering a statement in light of the recent controversy stoked by Lammy’s tweet. The statement thanked Dooley for her work and claimed that they have previously asked Lammy to help in the production of a film about Africa.

Lammy retorted by saying that he is “not prepared to become part of a PR exercise”, adding that Comic Relief films have fallen short of educating and promoting racial equality in the past.

Plenty of people have added their thoughts to this debate since Lammy and Dooley exchanged blows on social media. Several were on the side of Dooley, defending the journalist’s work and her intentions to do good.








But others jumped to Lammy’s defence, arguing that the “White Saviour” depiction of Africa should become a thing of the past.







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