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Lindsay Lohan is yet another celebrity with a white saviour complex

A recent video she posted has drawn criticism.

LINDSAY LOHAN MADE headlines this week, but not for dancing gleefully on a yacht in Greece.

The actor posted a bizarre video on Instagram in which she approaches an apparently homeless family who she identifies as “Syrian refugees” that she is “really worried about”.

Lindsay initially offers to take their two young boys to a hotel to watch a film and suggests the children should not be “on the floor”.

However, when the family refuse, the actress becomes increasingly hostile. After a few minutes, the family decide to pick up their belongings and move away from Lindsay. However, she starts following them while accusing the parents of “child trafficking” and “ruining Arab culture”.

Towards the end of the 10-minute video, the interaction becomes physical as Ms Lohan is seemingly pushed to the floor by the mother.

Source: Freeform Entertainment/YouTube

Can’t see the video? Click here.

It’s unclear where Lindsay filmed the video, though she had recently tagged some social media posts to Moscow and Paris.

Many found the video uncomfortable to watch. 

Lindsay is reportedly “heartbroken” over the reaction to the video, with sources telling Hollywood Life:

As Lindsay sees it, it’s apparent she’s trying her hardest to help these people. She’s even communicating with them in their own language, and how many Americans can speak Arabic? Yet, everybody just wants to ridicule her for it.
“Lindsay wasn’t trying to ‘abduct’ anybody, and she thought that was obvious in the video. All she wanted was to provide somewhere warm, safe and comfortable for the whole family to stay, instead of them having to be on the street.”

Therein lies the issue though – Lindsay’s assumption that the family needed her help in the first place, and that she was the only person in a position to give it to them because of her status.

She’s not the only one, though – in 2016, Lily Allen apologised “on behalf of the UK” for the Calais refugee camp. It’s a statement she now regrets.

Writing in her new memoir, ‘My Thoughts Exactly’, Lily said: “It was a clumsy thing to say. I wanted to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and I wanted to acknowledge that I was part of the problem, and that we are all part of the problem if we don’t do more to help.

The words came out badly, and for that I felt foolish. I was embarrassed about putting it like that. I can be a moron. But my intentions were straightforward and without any agenda. I just wanted to help, in whatever tiny way I could.”

Both showed signs of harbouring a ‘white saviour’ complex, in which a white person or character attempts to rescue a person of colour from their oppression.

While it may not have been her intention, in Lindsay’s case, it frames the family as being unable to solve their own problems due to the lack of context. She tells the mother that she should be “a hard-working woman” and “should be doing what you can for your children, so they have a better life”. It’s a typical attitude among those with privilege to not recognise the complexities of an issue such as homelessness. Those less informed may watch Lindsay’s live video back and assume the family to be the bad guys in this instance. 

Her garbled use of Arabic and Russian sees her position herself as the one capable of assisting with this family’s ‘plight’, if there was even one to begin with. She’s removed agency from the family and done more to portray them passive, helpless and pitiful – feeding the stereotypical imagery instead of breaking them down. (Then there’s the obvious, wider issue of filming them without their explicit consent.)

Radi Aid previously shared a handy social media checklist when it comes to making posts of this kind.

cheklist Source: Radi Aid

It goes without saying that Lindsay’s naivety in posting goes hand-in-hand with her celebrity – it’s the same reasoning that sees celebrities like Selena Gomez put themselves front and centre when it comes their humanitarian work.

Perhaps Lindsay should consider why people have reacted the way they have instead of positioning herself as the victim – especially given that she was so keen to portray the family as such when it suited her.

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