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Poverty Porn – Expression


In recent years, I have pondered a lot about a phenomenon that bothers me a lot: Poverty tourism or poverty porn, as it is also called.

These are privileged people from prosperous countries who post selfies with toddlers in orphanages in Africa. They are hailed by their friends in the comments section.

They are so “tough” that travel to such an “exotic” place to work as a volunteer. There they get tasks that they had not been allowed to do in Norway, because they are not really qualified for it.

It is a dangerous form of racism disguised as heroism and kindness that has direct consequences for people’s lives, health and safety.

But I have realized that poverty porn does not only take place in the tourism and development aid industry, but also among exchange students.

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I myself have seen this in all the student presentations from the various exchange offers for my school, VID, scientific college.

None of the students who have been on exchanges in Western countries, such as England and the United States, used pictures of patients. In countries such as the Philippines and Cuba, on the other hand, several students used pictures of patients, which was clearly in violation of our duty of confidentiality.

I even went on an exchange to Cuba to explore this.

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I was saddened to see that the hospital where we had practice was reduced to a tourist attraction.

Our duty of confidentiality and patients’ right to dignity and privacy were violated. The babies in the neonatal ward were used as props in the students’ photoshoots for various social media.

Young children do not have consent competence when it comes to taking pictures. One should never take pictures of children without asking parents.

Many used “they have no duty of confidentiality in Cuba” as an excuse. This is not entirely correct. In any case, it does not give us the right to exploit the Cuban patients’ lack of rights.

On the contrary, we should be extra careful when we know that these patients may have limited opportunities to speak out. This is probably exactly why many people may be tempted to take pictures, as if they were in a zoo.

Sometimes the students asked if it was okay to take pictures of the patients. But do patients have a real choice? Or did they feel that they had to say yes for fear of not getting the treatment they were entitled to?

It was clear that many thought it was uncomfortable to be photographed. As health workers, it is our responsibility to be aware of the power relationship between us and the patients.

I am not writing this post just to criticize individual students, who lack self-awareness and judgment.

I also write this to criticize colleges and universities that allow students to get away with such things. Either it happens because the schools do not have good enough guidelines for the use of social media on exchange, or because violations are rarely followed up and have consequences.

By not addressing the issue, VID teaches its students that the rights and dignity of non-Western patients are not as important as those of Western patients.

Had such uncritical photo-taking and photo-sharing taken place in Norway, the students in question would not have passed the practice. Maybe they had not been authorized as a nurse.

I criticize the schools with exchange offers which, instead of providing intercultural competence, reinforce harmful attitudes that the students already have.

I have seen and heard that this culture exists in several studies which involves work close to people, not just in nursing education.

Going on an exchange is a fantastic opportunity if you are aware of your attitudes and intentions. If not, the exchange may have the opposite effect.

By sharing unvarnished stories and images, you reduce the people you meet to a stereotype.

We continue the colonialist and paternalistic thinking that people from non-Western countries are inferior and passive victims who must be saved by the West.

Due to the corona pandemic, it is out of the question for many to go on an exchange in the near future.

I hope the colleges and universities use this time to design better exchange offers. An offer that does not harm the local people in the countries in question and that provides a better learning outcome for their students.

I also hope that the rest of us who look forward to traveling and exploring the world again use this time to reflect on attitudes and behavior.




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Source link
https://www.nrk.no/ytring/fattigdomsporno-1.15350737


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