I’m still working my way through Waking Up White and one of the most interesting chapters so far was the one on the Robin Hood syndrome – riding in to fix a problem without actually communicating with anyone who will be affected.  The problem is that when you do this, you run the risk of “helping” in a way that disempowers.  You are telling someone that you know how to fix them without speaking to them.  Their input must be valueless.

The end of the chapter challenged readers to check their favorite charity.  Is the director someone from the community being helped?  Or are they a white person living in a tower far, far away?

I have to admit that I was more than a little nervous.  I had no clue who was in charge of Heifer International.  After doing a little poking around, I was relieved to see that the Board includes someone from every region within the program.  This doesn’t mean that things are perfect, but an effort is being made.

Finding out how someone really and truly needs our help is tough.  It will take more than just asking questions because people in need are often accustomed to being ignored or belittled.  Why respond? They aren’t going to hear me anyway.

The solution is to get to know people.  Walk among them.  Eat beside them.  Take their hands.  There’s a reason Christ spent so much time talking to the outcasts and not just telling the religious leaders what to do.  He was here to lead the way.