Movies you didn’t realize were White Savior Films

Abby Delgado, Staff Writer

As many others would say, I consider myself to be quite a movie fanatic. Movies are something universally shared that can bring out a range of emotions in an instant. But the other day I noticed something while watching movies with my family which was how the movie I was watching at that time (The Help) was primarily about how a white woman who was “improving the lives” of African Americans who were maids making skeeter (the white woman) a white savior. And although this could be seen as just another inspiring movie, in reality, what many don’t realize is that it is another movie that glorifies white “heroes.” Though people might say that this is not a big issue, those people don’t realize how important representation truly is. So in this article, I will be going over a few popular movies and explaining how there are strong white savior motives that others don’t see or realize.

Instant Family family-friendly movie is about a white couple that decides to adopt kids and live happily ever after. But if you really dig deeper into the story the more you realize how it is a movie with yet another white main protagonist. And although they seemed to be socially aware by making a comment in the movie saying “..will there be a problem with the white savior thing..” because they are adopting Mexican children, it was more seen as a taunt of how they can get away with making another mildly successful movie with white heroes. And a quick fact is, after researching I found out that most of the staff for the movie were primarily white, for example…

The help

As I stated in the text above, the help is a great example of just how many movies are based on white saviors. Although I myself loved this movie in the beginning, I realized that this story although disguised as a heroic movie is more of a white narrative on the experiences of being an African American. In fact in the original book which the movie was based on the writer (Kathryn Stockett another white person) wrote from the perspective of an African American maid herself. This movie is entirely fiction and the only accurate fact was how racist the behavior was toward people of color. Instead of making a truly encouraging story about how African Americans succeeded in those times through perseverance, Kathryn Stockett decided to write as you guessed a movie about a white woman profiting off maids who were treated extremely unfairly at the time. In the movie, they even had derogatory stereotypes like making “Minny” who was a maid love fried chicken which they talked about in the movie the whole time, and having her be in an abusive relationship, and although during those times that wasn’t uncommon, they only showed that happening to the one relationship where they were African American out of all of the other women who where white. Another little-known fact is that Viola Davis herself spoke out about the role that she played as a maid and said she regrets ever playing the role because it “invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but…it’s catering to the white audience” which I believe is a very powerful statement. So if you ever come across this movie and decide to watch it, please keep this information in mind and try to really focus on what this movie is truly about.


Yes as many of you may be shocked to see avatar on here, it is no joke. In fact, this movie is one of the biggest examples and just proves that even if you are blue, Hollywood still tries to force white narratives down your throats. If you really think about how it all started, a white person disguises himself as a “na’vi” and just so happens to join the fight and “save” the natives. Which tries to show that pocs are “defenseless” without white people coming in to save the day. You could say that it is trying to promote that even if you are “different” you can still be involved with the culture, which is fine but if you make a whole movie just about that and the white man’s perspective then there is something to question.

I would just simply like to see something different to where people rise up themselves without depending on a white person. My hope is that people realize that there is a bigger meaning to these movies and that it is ok to question the motives and to be encouraged to make a change in the movie industry.