Perhaps most interesting is the language used to describe the Africa being saved. For example, the Keep a Child Alive/" I am African" ad campaign features portraits of primarily white, Western celebrities with painted "tribal markings" on their faces above "I AM AFRICAN" in bold letters. Below, smaller print says, "help us stop the dying."
Such campaigns, however well intentioned, promote the stereotype of Africa as a black hole of disease and death. News reports constantly focus on the continent's corrupt leaders, warlords, "tribal" conflicts, child laborers, and women disfigured by abuse and genital mutilation. These descriptions run under headlines like "Can Bono Save Africa?" or "Will Brangelina Save Africa?" The relationship between the West and Africa is no longer based on openly racist beliefs, but such articles are reminiscent of reports from the heyday of European colonialism, when missionaries were sent to Africa to introduce us to education, Jesus Christ and "civilization."
We at INFDL have with great glee over the years pointed out the directly racist underpinnings of leftist advocacy. The thought that all the swarthy little brown people need is some white dildo-muncher to trounce about holding a giant paper-mache doll of Dick Cheney has more to do with the insecurities found within leftists themselves. I know as I used to bite that pillow myself awhile back.
In many ways this tendency is psychologically similar to the ways of the conspiracy mongers that we all too often have to suffer. There's this idea that only they have some incredibly important piece of information that needs to be brought out to the world and that because only they have this information, the powers that be will do anything to silence them.
It's a well-worn tradition on the left to portray themselves as some sort of lone guardian of truth. A good example was a few years ago when a friend insisted that I read this book. Here's the book in a sentence: GE and other "multi-nationals" (codeword for Boooogie-man) had acquired all the patents to solar power and keep prices high because it would threaten their stranglehold on the energy markets. There's little mention of the cost of raw silicon wafers, whose prices and scarcity have skyrocketed because of the advent of what are known as "computers". But in the world of the conspiracy-left, markets elements like supply and demand, or the earlier mentioned concept of self-determination don't exist except to keep the people down.
Noah Adds: The progressive types have nothing but derision for that old imerialist Rudyard Kipling, but their attitude towards anyone with a dark tint of skin seems to be a lot like his:
Take up the White Man's Burden --
The savage wars of peace --
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hope to nought.
The irony is that if his much-derided imperialism hadn't been killed off by progressive dogoodery Africans would be doing a million times better today. You can say, "yeah, but they wouldn't have self-determination". But do they have it now? Would Zimbabwe be better off under the rule of Gordon Brown or Robert Mugabe? I'm not saying that the colonization of Africa was right but . . .