What is it about?

As an educator of pre-service teachers and art teachers, of which 95% have been White, I have observed that WSIC (white savior industrial complex) dominates their expectations. Many view communities they wish to serve from a perspective of lack rather than an asset and imagine themselves liberating students. Their lack of interactions with peers and colleagues of color helps maintain such fantasies. I have set about avoiding WSIC myself and as a role model, I hope to guide my students to do so as well. I also seek constantly to scrutinize my thoughts and behavior, past and present, to determine how I might impose the trauma of bias.

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Why is it important?

We must address the gap in pre-service teacher/art teacher education by including studies on racism, intersectionality, and White privilege to create a deeper understanding and reflection on how their personal histories and bias affect their pedagogical choices. CRT and Whiteness critical theory offers a perspective from which to understand racism, intersectionality, and White saviorism and recognize how, as a White teacher, I might share in the work to disrupt systemic racism and injustice.


I continue a life-long reflective critique of my own obliviousness and continuously work to reduce my absence of knowledge, education, and experience about systemic racism and White privilege, and hope others will too.

Linda Helmick
University of Missouri Columbia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: White Saviorism: An Insider Perspective, Art Education, April 2022, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/00043125.2022.2027722.
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