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SHOULD WHITE TOURISTS TAKE PICTURES OF BLACK CHILDREN?

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[Subtitles available EN/PT] Those kids are SOOOO cute! You just have to take a picture of them! But should you? And why do many people snap endless pictures of poor, non-white children but would never snap a cute pic of a three year-old Parisian girl with a baguette? I've been asking myself these questions for many years, and still don't fully have the answers. But I can say that the answer is "no you shouldn't" in many cases. ORDER MY BOOK: https://amzn.to/2vdBVfN FOLLOW ME ON Instagram: http://instagram.com/sethkugel Twitter: http://twitter.com/sethkugel Facebook: http://facebook.com/globallycurious EMAIL: [email protected] EM PORTUGUÊS: YouTube: http://youtube.com/amigogringo Instagram: http://instagram.com/seuamigogringo Twitter: http://twitter.com/seuamigogringo Thanks to: Camera: Eric Hinojosa https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnvfovf6zL9A-mS7zLzk7FA Animation: Candy Kugel http://buzzzco.com Profile pic: Sebastian Piras http://sebastianpiras.com
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Text Comments (52)
Tony Logan (6 days ago)
I normally don't spend my time on the internet or taking pictures when I travel. To travel is to experience and the experience stays in my head and not on a piece of paper in an picture album. Toting a camera and pointing it at people off and on really detracts from the pleasure of just being there. On the other hand, nothing I could do will ever stop my wife from taking those pictures. A side note here is that when I traveled through Colombia without my wife but with my 14 yr old daughter a few years back, many thought that I must be a pedoephile sex tourist. It was kind of funny really that my worldly daughter had to repeatedly tell them that all was OK. However some still kept thinking that she really was Colombian and that I was a really bad guy though. Oh well.. All because she speaks better Spanish than I do. (I taught it to her so that she could communicate with her relatives in Mexico. ...lol...)
Beatriz (7 months ago)
Por favor mais vídeos, Seth!!!! :***
Jojo Silveira (7 months ago)
Está aí um ponto d vista q nunca havia pensado.
Renato Mesquita (6 months ago)
This is like a Human Photo Safari, or some sort of modern Circus of Horrors, where people, from the so called developed world, went to development and exotic countries to see how these humam specimen live in such terrible conditions. Here, in Brazil, there are a lot of travel agencies that make good money bringing tourists to Favelas (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro. But this kind of bizarre behavior don't help financially these children and their family. This is like those people who break to watch a traffic accident, but are unable to change their way and help.
Yara Jamal (8 months ago)
I kind of feel like I am a monster! I’ve never thought about take a picture of kids! ☺️ I think each situation requires a different attitude!
Henrique Scheffer (8 months ago)
On both situations I think I would really like to take pictures of the kids, but I would probably hesitate to do it without ask their parents or at least an adult. So I think I would probably take the pictures of the Sweden kids playing (if authorized by their parents, explaining that I'm Brazilian and that's not a common thing by here, and that it would be nice to show the pictures of the situation to my friends) but wouldn't take pictures of the Mozambican children, but I'm definitely not sure.
Sarah Cavalcanti (8 months ago)
Muito bom, Seth! Achei o assunto interessante, realmente não dá pra criar uma regra sem olhar para as situações. Legal que, tantos anos depois, você ainda reflita sobre se fez certo em tirar as fotos em 2003 daquelas crianças. A autoreflexão é um exercício contínuo :)
Ricardo Bispo (8 months ago)
I wouldn’t had taken any pictures of children in both cases... There is always a chance of you getting misunderstood and being under trouble with people that barely understand you. Furthermore, you’re in a different country with different culture. What you think it’s right might not be polite in a foreign place!
David Nascimento (8 months ago)
I volunteered a couple of times in Malawi and i took several pictures with kids and locals in the community that i worked for almost a month. Do i really have to worry if somebody is going to think i'm promoting myself? I don't think so. I know i took those pictures to remember the special moments in mine and their lifes (yes, i do believe it was somehow special for them as well). I don't see the fact that i'm taking and sharing those pics as necessarily a way of disrespect, but as a way of encouraging people to help them as well (although i recognize some people might take those kids pics as a way of touristic attraction).
Brunomax26 (8 months ago)
The world so bored lately...
Luis Aguilar (8 months ago)
Recently, I read in medical journal an article warning volunteer doctors working abroad in Africa and Asia to take care of taking pictures of themselves among a group of children, especially standing in the center of the scene. The article called this attitude as the "white angel complex", as a kind of self promotion, and would be better avoid it.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Luis, it's very interesting you bring that up. I was doing research for this video and read about this as well. It definitely influenced what I said.
Akemi M. (8 months ago)
Thanks a lot for doing this video. It's a messy topic but I think it's essential to talk about it. My 2 cents concerning it are that intention and connection are really important. Ask yourself why are you taking these pictures. Why is it important that you are in them, if it's a selfie? Do you feel it's worth taking them just because you KNOW you're gonna get lots of likes, retweets and comments? Or they are a reminder of the connection you created with the people in them, talking to them, showing the photos you took? Can you actually give them the space to say no? And if they said, would you try to sneak out a picture, because you feel entitled to it, and you think it wouldn't make a difference to them anyway? Do you think they'd be embarrassed if they saw the photos you took? Does it puts them under a weak light ("oh these poor people, I'm gonna help them by taking a pic and giving a dollar") or under a empowering light (you don't feel "sorry" for them)? I think these are questions you have to ask and answer yourself in every situation like this, because as you said, there are no rigid guidelines for this.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Thanks Akemi. Very thoughtful. (And I'm not just saying that because you mostly agreed with me!)
Silvio Martins (8 months ago)
I don't think it's racist. If a poor black guy went to Asia or Sweden with a camera, he'd do the same. Asians come to Brazil and they picture of everything and everyone hahaha. I don't see any problem. We all like to register our experiences while traveling. If nice kids show up AND you're not a pedophile AND their parents are not around AND/OR they don't mind, go ahead. If you feel uncomfortable (whatever color you and they are) don't do it. About being rich or poor, the second group also takes lots pictures when traveling to richer or even poorer places. If you don't do any harm to anyone, it's okay.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Silvio, this is a thoughtful answer but I disagree. I don't think a poor black guy would take these pictures in Sweden. The argument would be that they don't respect the privacy of poor, darker-skinned kids the same way they respect the privacy of rich, lighter-skinned kids and/or that they "exoticize" poverty and "third-world cultures". There is a long, long history of this. For one aspect of it, look up "orientalism".
Silvio Martins (8 months ago)
In Brazil, if you are on the street, anyone can take pictures of you. There's no need for permission if it's a public place. People might feel uncomfortable, but they can't sue you.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Hi Silvio - well, that's the law in the USA also. But ethics is another matter.
Matucho (8 months ago)
That was a really interesting video. One thing that i notice is when some tourist take a picture with a native, specially Africa, they kinda wanna look "superior" which is very bad. I don't know if that is on porpuse, but that is one thing that i don't like in those kind of pictures. "Hey, look at me, i'm giving water to this poor african child! What a great person that i am!"
Matucho (8 months ago)
Globally Curious Oh, it's good to know, thanks o/.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
I'm happy to say that many volunteer organizations now have photo-taking guidelines.
À Francesa (8 months ago)
Super good topic, Seth. Food for thought :) One "technical" comment about the video: I think the music is too loud :P
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Hi. The music is actually as low as it can be and still be audible, at least with my editing software. It's a hard choice to make, to decide whether to include a soundtrack or not. Thanks for your input.
Eric Hinojosa (8 months ago)
I think laden with this complicated question is what is the responsibility of white people in general when traveling...if any? As a brown person I feel slightly more comfortable taking pictures, but let's be honest, I'm basically white and I don't think I get a pass from asking the question "is this exploitative"? I also think it's somehow less exploitative when women do it, or at least the situation is less uncomfortable.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
It's a good point. A lot has been written on whether travel is a sort of neo-colonial activity -- and though I'm inclined to say that when done sustainably (in both a cultural and environmental sense) it is not, it's difficult to miss the connection when surfers take over a fishing village, and then come the cozy beachside inns and then 10 years later international hotel chains start constructing resorts.
Adelaide de Souza (8 months ago)
What beautiful and lovely video. Congrats👏👏
Camih🇧🇷 (8 months ago)
Tirar fotos de crianças sem a autorização dos pais é algo bem estranho pra mim. Eu certamente não tiraria. Mas pessoas brancas de países desenvolvidos fazem isso com frequência quando estão em países subdesenvolvidos/em desenvolvimento, bizarro
Guilherme nascimento (8 months ago)
Camih🇧🇷 verdade
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Obrigado pela contribuição. É um assunto complicado porque muitas vezes as crianças querem muito que tire a foto. Mas eu acho que sua regra faz muito sentido.
RainorXXX (8 months ago)
Should black tourists take pictures of white children?
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
I'm pretty sure the answer is that the rules should be the same for everyone. The point is that they are not. So if a black tourist from, say, France, walked around an American city taking pictures of white kids in the playground, that would be totally "weird". When a white American takes pictures of black kids in an African village, that's seen as more normal. That's an odd state of affairs.
Fabiana Crespo (8 months ago)
Um ponto de vista peculiar neste vídeo, mas um pensamento reflexivo importante que nem todos têm. Na parte debaixo do Equador não costumamos fazer esse tipo de associação ou ter esta visão, algumas vezes, culposa de nossos registros. Apenas aproveitamos e registramos nossas memórias.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Fabiana, obrigado pelo comentário.
Have you ever been to India? People in India often ask tourists to be in their selfies. My friend and I were often asked to pose with entire families while the father took photos. Sometimes we were asked to pose with a group of young women, sometimes a couple of 20-something guys. At first we were confused by this but we quickly adapted. Perhaps there are photos of my friend and I on Indian Facebook pages. Who knows? We are two women in our late 50's so it's not like we were mistaken for Jennifer Lawrence or anything. Thanks for your thoughtful video.
Julie Goodwin (8 months ago)
Happened to me as well, in Bejing the locals wanted pics of my husband and son and quite often with there babies! We loved it!
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Hi and thanks for writing! Actually I have not been to India, but had similar experiences in China. I thought about including this in the video, but decided to leave it out. Maybe I was wrong. There are certainly cultural differences about photography and privacy. The key here is that the Indians ASKED you to be in their selfies, and, I assume, you would have felt comfortable saying no. (If they were sneaking pictures of you, that would be different.) This gets at why I mentioned it reminded me of the #metoo movement. There doesn't seem to be a power imbalance with local people asking tourists to be in their pictures; or, if anything, the balance is in the other direction. But asking people for permission who either don't fully understand what you're asking or who might not feel comfortable saying "yes", is different, I think. I hope you'll be back and comment more! The more perspectives, the better. -Seth
Fernando Davillar (8 months ago)
What? Really? The real racism is to choose the kid you're taking pictures of based in Their skin color. We are one only race, the Human Race. No different treatment is required.
Fernando Davillar (8 months ago)
Of course I agree with You Seth. I'm just echoing the polemic. Clearly You are rebound an preexisting issue. No reparations make to Your general posture or this particular content, as You can check trough my "Ever Present Like". I just like to talk and debate, but be sure I'm an ally, Yankee.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
I am confused by your reaction. If what you believe is that all children should be treated equally, then you agree with most of the video. What I am saying is that many travelers do treat children differently, and give different groups different levels of privacy. Many of us really want to take pictures of cute, poor kids but would never take a picture of, say, a group of rich children leaving school in New York City. (Even if someone tried, they would be stopped by parents instantly, and someone would probably call the police.) But I do think it is problematic to say "no different treatment is required". I did not explore this in the video, but surely different cultures have different attitudes toward privacy and photography. Travelers should always be aware of these differences. In Brazil I kiss women on the cheek when I meet them; in the USA I shake their hands. Surely you do not agree that "No different treatment is required" in this case. Thanks for your comment!
Yuri Matias (8 months ago)
I loved this 90's introduction graphics... Reminds me of my childhood.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Hahaha well it depends on what country you're in...and also who you are...probably says something about me that I worry about what others are thinking of me.
Yuri Matias (8 months ago)
That makes sense... The trace and animation style are quite similar indeed. I don't usually take pictures of people, specially kids, but this topic made me remember one of my favourite shots from my trips, it was in 2012 in Montevideo a group of kids so passionately playing football on a dirt field while their parents were drinking Mate tea. It wasn't that creepy because I captured, as you said, the activity... A disputed throw-in. And second I think I didn't qualify for that child molester stereotype just yet. Unlike you Seth! (Hahahaha)Just a piece of advice: it's never acceptable to engage on any interaction with a minor WHILE WEARING A SPEEDO, OKAY?
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
They're by my cousin Candy Kugel -- you won't be surprised to hear that her work was featured on Sesame Street, among other places.
Davidson Prata (8 months ago)
That's a really sensitive topic!
Cyndi Casey (8 months ago)
Subscribed and chastised! I used pictures of West African kids in a photo book for a family member - pictures taken by a man who knew them - a man who was seen as Italian in his native country, Latino in the US and white in West Africa
Davidson Prata (8 months ago)
Globally Curious um... I always thought that was okay just because everyone used to with. Although, just how you said there are situations when it could be okay and others not. So we should try to be as reasonable as possible even knowing that's almost impossible get it right.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
I agree! What's your opinion?
Otávio de Toledo (8 months ago)
Seth, be honest: What do you like the most? To record this videos in English or to record videos in Portuguese for Amigo Gringo? Because for me it still a little weird to see you speaking english, even though you're american. lol I'm really used to the "Sete" from AG
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
André, this happens to me all the time. Like really, all the time. The thing is, people really do have (slightly) different personalities in different languages!
Eric Hinojosa (8 months ago)
We can resolve this by having Seth do his next video in Spanish!
André Augusto Görgen (8 months ago)
When I was in Australia I used to speak English all the time, but most of Brazilians don't. One day I was speaking Portuguese and a Brazilian girl said to me that it was strange to see me speaking Portuguese, because we studied together for about 2 months and she had never see me speaking Portuguese.
Globally Curious (8 months ago)
Hi Otávio. OK, I'll be honest: it's MUCH easier in English. And MUCH more fun in Portuguese!

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