This is getting old, no?
It's a familiar narrative at this point, you know the one: a bright-eyed, maybe even well-meaning, white person travels to "Africa"—no need to name the specific country, of course—for a trip. While there, they make sure to snap pictures with the poor "African" children—remember, no country specificity necessary—to show the great work that they're doing, how life-changing the trip was, and how empathetic they've now become to the suffering of others.
Ellen DeGeneres is simply the latest white celebrity to take part in this tired practice. The talk show host travelled to Kenya and Rwanda last week, in support of her foundation, the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. While there she met with Rwanda's president Paul Kagame, took part in a mountain gorilla excursion with the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, and posted several images of herself enjoying nature and other types of wildlife.
Ellen came to Africa to meet giraffes 🦒 https://t.co/f182i4v5yq— Henchboy (@Henchboy)1527670230.0
However, one photo in particular is receiving tons of backlash. In the image, which DeGeneres posted on Tuesday, she is surrounded by several children in a rural setting. She didn't specify which country she was in, of course, but wrote "Thank you to all of the amazing people I met on my trip, who helped make it so special," as a caption for the photo.
Thank you to all of the amazing people I met on my trip, who helped make it so special. https://t.co/w4sQop7yfR— Ellen DeGeneres (@Ellen DeGeneres)1528154872.0
People, aren't feeling it, to say the least, and are calling her out for posting what many consider overt "poverty porn" and a poster image for "voluntourism."
Folks have been responding to the image on social media, with many arguing that despite whatever Ellen's intentions might have been, the image only reinforces hackneyed tropes about the continent, which are in no way beneficial.
Really though, when will white folks learn?
You landed at a nice airport and stayed at a lovely hotel before your trip to find poor African children to take pi… https://t.co/JGia7SiWIy— Igbo Wolf (@Igbo Wolf)1528272861.0
Ellen will now return to her show and her audience/followers will see that image and a single narrative of (the cou… https://t.co/84lSp7MtIH— Kelechi Okafor (@Kelechi Okafor)1528277153.0
A trip to Africa is not complete without the trademark poverty porn photo op. https://t.co/RwDcupVcNC— Bruce 🇰🇪 (@Bruce 🇰🇪)1528194129.0
@TheEllenShow This is a misfire. White tourist taking a pic with anonymous group of ‘happy but poor African kids’ a… https://t.co/KBg1oCsobO— Tara Fernando (@Tara Fernando)1528268270.0
@kelechnekoff Please! Ellen had the opportunity to meet with the cast of Rafiki, talk about their Cannes experience… https://t.co/62Vj14ZAg8— Reee (@Reee)1528282885.0
people are really defending Ellen's trip to Africa picture. 2018 and y'all still don't understand how poverty porn works.— Berv (@Berv)1528291786.0
Why do white people love to take this exact photo so much?? Like they liiiive to take this photo and it’s never not… https://t.co/1sXyBsIUgE— Lala ✨ (@Lala ✨)1528256989.0
I love Ellen, but taking and posting this picture was a big misstep. This is plain poverty porn. You would not come… https://t.co/7nuxhko96w— Elsie (@Elsie)1528302589.0