Academic Archive

China elephants and orphans: Operation Babylift and the white savior complex

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Averill, Stephanie
dc.contributor.advisor Denning, Robert Thompson, Jonathan Patrick 2020-02-02T23:05:40Z 2020-02-02T23:05:40Z 2019-02
dc.description.abstract As the Vietnam War drew to a close during the spring of 1975, the United States determined it had a responsibility to save South Vietnam’s at-risk children from the communists. Americans largely pushed for this humanitarian act as a chance to do one thing right in Vietnam. Collaborating with Western-run orphanages in Vietnam, the U.S. initiated Operation Babylift evacuated thousands of children. This was not without consequences, some of which are still felt today. The evacuation was an emotional event that captivated the United States at the end of a long war. It is also an historic example of white savior complex at work. As a subconscious aspect of Western culture, the white savior complex enables white people to take the actions they deem best in helping non-white people. They then benefit from the experiences, while potentially doing nothing about the systemic causes of the problems they temporarily address. The white savior complex played a key role in the conception of Operation Babylift and creating the need for it through years of American intervention in Vietnam. Applying Teju Cole’s “White Savior Industrial Complex” framework with Jordan Flaherty and Caitlin Breedlove’s savior mentality concepts to the Western individuals and entities involved in Operation Babylift will illustrate their motivations and the outcomes, both negative and positive. This analysis will demonstrate why and how Operation Babylift came to fruition, played out, and concluded for the benefit of white Westerners. It will also highlight long-term, systematic repercussions faced by non-white people when the white savior complex is not acknowledged. The evidence will illustrate for white Westerners the importance of making informed decisions in helping non-white people by decentering themselves from their privilege and acknowledging their cultural understandings and motivations. (Author abstract) en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Southern New Hampshire University en_US
dc.relation.requires Adobe Acrobat Reader en_US
dc.rights Author retains all ownership rights. Further reproduction in violation of copyright is prohibited en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Southern New Hampshire University -- Theses (History) en_US
dc.subject.other military history en_US
dc.subject.other Southeat Asian studies en_US
dc.subject.other American history en_US
dc.subject.other fall of Saigon en_US
dc.subject.other humanitarianism en_US
dc.subject.other international adoption en_US
dc.subject.other Operation Babylift en_US
dc.subject.other Vietnam War en_US
dc.subject.other white savior complex en_US
dc.title China elephants and orphans: Operation Babylift and the white savior complex en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMember Irvine, Robert
dc.description.bibliographicCitation Thompson, J.P. (2019). China elephants and orphans: Operation Babylift and the white savior complex. Retrieved from en_US Master Arts en_US
dc.description.program History en_US College of Online and Continuing Education en_US
dc.digSpecs PDF/A-1b en_US
dc.rightsHolder Thompson, Jonathan Patrick

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record