Podcast on White Savior Complex in the Peace Corps

I had a very good time during my service in Peace Corps, and since I was years in my host country, I wouldn't be "blindly" defending my service . . . I have a qualified opinion that my service was productive and I think Peace Corps does a good job.

Peace Corps isn't for everybody, and everybody has a different experience. Peace Corps doesn't promote a "saviorism" mindset, volunteers learn a lot from our host country nationals, and we work together as a team, I was profoundly grateful for my town allowing me to live in their community and work towards common goals.

Given that every PCV is different, and as most volunteers work hard in their sites, I wouldn't want to impose my view of what is the "correct mindset" on any other volunteer. Everybody looks through their service throught differents lens, be it development goals, health, improving education, gender, race, poverty, LGBTAQ and dozens of others. Yes, I would talk your ears off about why I believe health issues and education to improve understanding of health issues is important for service, everybody has their own issue that is front and center.

In my host country, race isn't such an issue as in the U.S., as least not obviously, and my town was pretty homogenous. There were cultural differences between people living a more traditional life and those with a more modern lifestyle.

I don't have a favorable impression of NWS as I think they sort of work against funding of development projects globally. Countries have cut-back funding, and I think USAID and other programs help. I also think NWS could fine tune their message, some of their goal seem to be a provocateur, and that's ok . . . but I don't think they are "doers" as in development professionals or others who have a strong commitment to tackle a problem beyond they perceive a mindset to be wrong. From a development perspective NWS would fail a lot of tests as they don't seem to do anything. I don't think that making PCVs "uncomfortable" is too general to be a good goal, life's too short for that, a lot of non-productive and destructive conversations make people feel uncomfortable . . . so I don't agree with the rationale that because we are making you uncomfortable we need to do this, sort of thing.

I had a lot of great experiences during my service, Peace Corps is a great opportunity. I got to work on my agenda which was health issues and made great friends in my host country, if a different PCV wants to talk about NWS and other issues, it is ok to hear them out, but that is their own agenda to focus on that issue, you don't need to adopt somebody else's agenda.

I don't think PCVs should judge fellow PCVs, even if your agenda/ideological viewpoint pushes you to think, "I should make this PCV feel uncomfortable about my issue", I think it is better to works towards common ground and enjoying service with your fellow PCVs. The best moments with fellow PCVs are just hanging out and sharing stories. Also, NWS and critical race theory are movements which involve more people than the PCVs you will run across, don't let yourself be a pawn for a national debate, it is ok to just to do your own thing and think independently.

/r/peacecorps Thread