White Savior Films: The Psychology Behind the Problematic Film Trope

White Savior films often times feature white protagonists who grow and feel better by helping the less fortunate, but address very little regarding the institutional injustices and systematic racism.

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What is a White Savior film?

White Savior films often times feature white protagonists who grow and feel better by helping the less fortunate, but address very little regarding the institutional injustices and systematic racism.

By normalizing the plight or hardship of minority characters—who are often secondary—these films are essentially racism through a safer lens.

Therapist Jonathan Hetterly discusses how these films reinforce and support a system where writers and directors still lack significant representation of women and minorities.

Watch it here:

Psych Cinema is our video series where licensed professional counselor Jonathan Hetterly explores the psychology behind the films that he watches and loves.

To hear Jonathan Hetterly discuss the psychology behind other films he watches and loves, visit our YouTube channel.

Click here for more content by Jonathan Hetterly, LPC. 

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