Dessert and Discourse: 🇬🇹GUATEMALA🇬🇹
let's talk about poverty porn, white saviors, and when good intentions go bad
No dinner party is complete without dessert! This post is part of my monthly salon dinner series, and is for paid subscribers only. Free subscribers are invited to join for dinner, where I give you a full menu, discussion topics, and book and movie recommendations; click here to return to that post.
Hello, friends! I hope you enjoyed this month’s salon dinner on Guatemala, and sorry to be tardy with this dessert post. Some of you may have seen on Notes that I now have a three-month-old puppy named Basbousa. I love her dearly, but she won’t let me focus on anything for more than five minutes at a time…so now that she’s down for a nap, back to our scheduled programming!
Destitution and hardship are often top of mind when people think of Guatemala.
When I started researching my trip there, I reached out to a friend who had recently visited to ask for recommendations. One of the first things he said to me was “Guatemala is super poor.” And he was correct—according to the World Bank, Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America and the Caribbean. But Guatemala has so much more to offer than that, so for this month’s salon dinner, I made a concerted effort not to feature movies, literature, or discussion about Guatemalans’ economic struggles. Still, they felt like the elephant in the room. So for this dessert discussion, I’d like to tackle the topic head-on with some questions about how we think about and address extreme poverty:
What is poverty porn, and why is it bad? Have you ever fallen victim to it? How can we educate ourselves about global poverty and do what we can to help eradicate it while respecting the perspectives and humanity of those who are suffering?
That’s a very hefty topic. First, let’s listen to some fun Guatemalan music and have some tasty local treats!
This month’s soundtrack features contemporary Guatemalan artists like Sara Curruchich—who sings in Spanish and Kaqchikel—and Gaby Moreno. Enjoy the guitar and marimbas. (Special thanks to my sister-in-law, Philippa, for curating much of this playlist.)