Paper Title

The Stipulations of Support: How Short-Term Mission Trips to Third-World Countries Encourage U.S.-Centric and Racist Agendas

Panel

People of Color Caucus Panel: Coloring Epistemologies

Location

Evans Room, Third Floor, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

1-4-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

1-4-2016 10:15 AM

Keywords

U.S. centrism, racism, Christianity, mission trips, third world, religion, grief tourism, language barrier, youth group, colonialism

Abstract

The Stipulations of Support: How Short-Term Mission Trips to Third-World Countries Encourage U.S.-Centric and Racist Agendas

This paper examines the effects of short-term mission trips (ranging anywhere between one week to one year) on third world countries, and contends that many of these trips are motivated by racist and xenophobic ideologies. The majority of those who participate in these trips are often white, Christian, and upper-middle class, as they one of the only ones privileged enough to afford both the necessary expenses, as well as delay their daily lives in order to attend. Moreover, many youth groups have also begun to send young students who have little to no background global, racial, or gender politics to impoverished or socially unstable areas, a move that has proved detrimental to third-world communities as this “grief tourism” exploits their struggles in order to convert them into following a U.S. centric, colorblind version of Christianity.

As well as using my own firsthand experiences of attending mission trips to the Dominican Republic, I will also be citing from scholars such as Søren Lund, Katie Geneva Cannon, Margaret Allen, and Jane Haggis, whose respective articles all recognize the relationships between colonialism and missionary work in third-world countries. While each article is focused either on specific countries or events in the Christian church’s history, my paper will attempt to provide a broader look of the effects of short-term mission trips on third-world countries’ societies, as well as provide solutions to help these communities without entrenching upon their religious, social, political, and racial autonomy.

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Apr 1st, 9:00 AM Apr 1st, 10:15 AM

The Stipulations of Support: How Short-Term Mission Trips to Third-World Countries Encourage U.S.-Centric and Racist Agendas

Evans Room, Third Floor, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

The Stipulations of Support: How Short-Term Mission Trips to Third-World Countries Encourage U.S.-Centric and Racist Agendas

This paper examines the effects of short-term mission trips (ranging anywhere between one week to one year) on third world countries, and contends that many of these trips are motivated by racist and xenophobic ideologies. The majority of those who participate in these trips are often white, Christian, and upper-middle class, as they one of the only ones privileged enough to afford both the necessary expenses, as well as delay their daily lives in order to attend. Moreover, many youth groups have also begun to send young students who have little to no background global, racial, or gender politics to impoverished or socially unstable areas, a move that has proved detrimental to third-world communities as this “grief tourism” exploits their struggles in order to convert them into following a U.S. centric, colorblind version of Christianity.

As well as using my own firsthand experiences of attending mission trips to the Dominican Republic, I will also be citing from scholars such as Søren Lund, Katie Geneva Cannon, Margaret Allen, and Jane Haggis, whose respective articles all recognize the relationships between colonialism and missionary work in third-world countries. While each article is focused either on specific countries or events in the Christian church’s history, my paper will attempt to provide a broader look of the effects of short-term mission trips on third-world countries’ societies, as well as provide solutions to help these communities without entrenching upon their religious, social, political, and racial autonomy.