White Blindness thwarts genuine desire to help others, even in Alaska
By Anna Thomas on adn.com
As winter comes yet again, who can forget what an incredible place we call home? Alaska is a place like no other, largely because of its rich, diverse cultural heritage. And as with the anger over the renaming of Denali, outsiders often have no concept of what Alaskans, from all different ethnic and racial backgrounds, want and need. However, even within Alaska a blindness can exist.
I have always wanted to help people, and as a child, the process of helping appeared very straightforward. The people I knew were white Americans. So I began trying to help by giving other people all I knew: The things that I, as a white American wanted and needed. As I traveled as an international aide volunteer and tourist, contact with a world bigger than the one I had known as a child began to expand my mind. In a small way I became aware of the complexities of international, interethnic, and interracial aid. I also stumbled upon a problem. Although my desire to help had always come from a good and sincere place, a disease I did not even know that I had stifled it: White Blindness.