A white woman named Jossa Johansson has drawn criticism after an Instagram post about a service trip to Kenya. In the post, which is now deleted, Johansson captioned a photo of her hugging a Kenyan child with a letter dedicated to this unnamed child. Johannsson begins by stating “you inspire me,” then moves on to admitting that it is unlikely that she will ever see this child again.
“In two years you are going to meet up a grown up man that you have never met before,” she said. “You two are going to have a child, and…he will probably leave you alone with your child in your small home made of mud and tree’s. You will probably sell your body to someone else to earn money for your child.”
Johansson ends her letter by telling the child that “there is hope” and that “dreaming could be your savior.”
Johansson has been accused of having a “white savior complex” because she positions herself as “the best thing that has ever happened” to the child, as one social media user stated. The white savior complex involves white people attempting to “fix” the problems of developing nations or of people of color without understanding the history or context behind the issue. Often, the “saviors” are accused of being self-serving, not beneficial. This complex can be frequently seen in Oscar-bait films, such as The Blind Side, which focuses more on the white family that aids a Black teen in poverty than the actual teen himself, as well as in school curriculum, which is weighted heavily towards Western history, making other countries seem insignificant.
Johannsson has been called out for her insensitive predictions of the child’s future, which include prostitution. In response, Johansson posted an apology on her Instagram account defending her actions. She included statements such as “If I were to be a racist I would not take so much time and effort to make this trip.” Her account is now private and she has deleted all of her posts, so it is unclear if she still shares these sentiments.