White Finnish privilege #53: Plan Finland’s unplanned pregnancy campaign #ProtectBlackGirlsToo #Whatofme

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Plan Finland’s failed campaign against unwanted pregnancies in Africa is an example of a broader, more serious problem: white exceptionalism. In looking at the campaign by Plan Finland, one can only wonder what these people thought when they launched it.

To grasp the full extent of the problem and how disrespectful the campaign is, what would white Finns think if blacks from Africa launched a campaign with white Finnish pregnant twelve-year-olds wearing suggestively African clothes?

Newspapers and blogs in Zambia and elsewhere have picked up the story.

Writes Mainstream Humanitarian:

“Later, they found a 12-year-old pregnant Zambian child, (Whose name we can not disclouse due to media ethics protecting children), made her wear the clothes and had a Finnish photographer; Meeri Koutaniemi take her pictures. Subsequently, they produced romanticized pictures of child pregnancy, which was stated by the designer herself in a video, and made her pose in a sexually suggestive way in the name of fashion photography. The girl and her family did not receive any form of compensation.”

Indeed, such a campaign would never happen in Europe and Finland because black Africans do not have such power and privilege over white Europeans, who still support their colonial privilege as white saviors.

Two pictures of Fridah, the 12-year-old Zambian girl used by Plan Finland’s campaign. Photo: Plan Finland.

Dr. Faith Mkwesha, who is the founder and executive director of Sahwira Africa International (SahWira Africa International), an anon-government organization that organizes cultural activities and consultancy on African culture and development issues, is one of Plan Finland campaign’s most outspoken critics.

“I think our campaign has exposed the racism in the campaign and the white savior complex,” she said. “The white savior is the idea that white people are better, progressive and exceptional and [that] black people and people of Africa or Asia etc are uncivilized and barbaric and need white people to save them from their ignorance.”

According to Dr. Mkwesha, it is precisely this type of white-savior mentality that gave European colonial powers the justification to enslave and pillage whole continents and regions.

“It [the white savior mentaility] is maintained because white people build their identity in relation to others,” she continued. “So now, when they do charity [work], they feel they are better and keep in place white superiority. That is why they use people in distress to appeal to their emotions.”

Dr. Mkwesha said that the campaign against Plan Finland has also exposed the hypocrisy that Plan is a child advocacy organization but instead exploits a traumatized child for profit. Thanks to the efforts of the campaign against Plan, many Finns are now aware that they failed o see the child behind the camera, according to her.

White Finnish privilege #53

In the face of the outrage at Plan Finland’s campaign in Zambia, is white Finnish privilege generally, or white savior privilege, in particular, the factors that will protect Plan International from offering an apology?

SahWira Africa International is demanding that Plan International offer a public apology, return the prizes that they got from the campaign, and pay the twelve-year-old Fridah for child labor. 

You can sign SahWira’s petition here.

One matter that the campaign against Plan Finland has raised awareness.

Most likely, the NGO will think twice about using children in its controversial campaigns.

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