Cropping out a Black climate activist from a press photo was no accident

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

The Associated Press (AP) has come under fire for cropping a Black activist out of a group photo taken at the Davos 2020 climate summit.

Vanessa Nakate, a 23-year-old climate activist from Uganda, was heartbroken by the incident, as she told Buzzfeed:

I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa.

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It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.

“Completely unacceptable”

Nakate also shared a moving personal video on Twitter describing how she felt about the racist incident. She expressed her disappointment in the media and said the effects of climate breakdown on African people weren’t being discussed:

Meanwhile, activist Greta Thunberg described the incident as “completely unacceptable”:

Not an accident

Moreover, people have criticised AP‘s decision to crop Nakate out of the photo saying it’s indicative of a wider problem:

Also, the fact that Nakate is both Black and a woman can’t be removed from the equation:

And erasing the work of people from the Global South is particularly worrying given the disproportionate burden on them as a result of climate breakdown:

While Thunberg has recently received a lot of exposure for her climate activism, it’s important to note she’s not alone. Because young Black, indigenous and other POC activists around the world have similarly been working at the grassroots to tackle climate chaos. So whitewashing climate activism is both racist and counter-productive. Especially since it’s so many young People of Colour who’re leading the fight against the climate crisis.

Featured image via YouTube/ Hub Culture

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