Welcome to mid November, the season of Christmas carols and…racism? In all the hubbub about how Christmas is coming too early and atheists are ruining Christmas, a passel of celebs have once again pulled out Do They Know It’s Christmas, that favorite old tune about how everyone in Africa has a horrible life and we wish they could have Christmas just like us (because clearly other religions do not exist and everyone is sad when they don’t have Jesus). This time it’s because of Ebola, for raising money or awareness or something.
It’s not as if Ebola coverage hasn’t already been a complete shit show of racism and xenophobia. “Close the airports!” people yell. “Don’t let any Africans in!” But apparently in celeb land, even compassion has to come with a side helping of condescension and misinformation about what it’s like in any place that isn’t good ol’ Murica.
In the latest rendition of the carol, Bono, One Direction, and a whole passel of other famous singers manage to spend a whole one scene on actual Ebola victims, with the rest of the video focusing on…them. Color me surprised. Nothing says “we should care about people with Ebola” more than an entire music video composed of closeups of famous people. And while the song has been updated so that some of the most offensive lines are now slightly less offensive lines, the song still spends most of its time pointing out that Africa is a scary place and the best way to make it better is to tell them about Christmas. Rather than, ya know, sending aid or something.
While this version does specify “West Africa” as the location of the death kisses and dread, it still isn’t doing a very good job of realizing that Africa is a huge and varied continent, that many countries in West Africa have either had very few cases of Ebola or contained the disease. And of course, people in Africa never, ever have problems or worries that aren’t DYING OF EBOLA because they’re poor right?
So without further ado, here’s the lovely, lovely video for your viewing pleasure. I suggest you have a vomit bag handy.
Edit: MrMisconception helpfully pointed out that these artists are British and Irish, not ‘Murican. Sorry fellow ‘Muricans.