Tag: Travel Ethics

Slum Tourism: ‘It’s Not Worth It’

The New York Times has an op-ed from a former resident of Kibera, an area of Nairobi that’s become a popular destination for slum tourists. Here’s writer Kennedy Odede:

I was 16 when I first saw a slum tour. I was outside my 100-square-foot house washing dishes, looking at the utensils with longing because I hadn’t eaten in two days. Suddenly a white woman was taking my picture. I felt like a tiger in a cage. Before I could say anything, she had moved on.

We’ve talked slum tourism on World Hum before: Columnist Eric Weiner asked whether it can ever be done right while Rob Verger reported from a favela tour in Rio de Janeiro. (Via @nobauerm and @robverger)

Kristof and the Challenge of Race in Africa Stories

Kristof and the Challenge of Race in Africa Stories Photo by Fred R. Conrad
Photo by Fred R. Conrad

New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof is answering reader questions on video, and one answer, in particular—see the video below—touches on a sensitive topic: coverage of black Africans as victims and white visitors as their saviors.

Kristof admits to sometimes using white people as “bridge” characters in his Times stories to help draw in readers in America who might otherwise turn the page upon seeing a story about Central Africa.

San Francisco Chronicle Editor at Large Phil Bronstein likes Kristof’s answer: “[A]dmitting that there’s a white reporter’s burden in writing about Africa is among the braver things he’s done. It’s the bold revelation of a messy little secret not so mysterious to those of us in the profession.”

Bronstein’s blog post about it, which draws on his own reporting experiences, is a good read.

A quick note on related World Hum coverage: Kristof has talked about his own formative travel experiences in a World Hum interview, and Frank Bures has tackled the “white man’s burden” in Africa—and the perspective of Bono, among others—in a provocative World Hum essay, Suffering and Smiling: Vanity Fair Does Africa.

Here’s the Kristof video:

(Via Romenesko)

Bullfighting, Hemingway and the ‘Seduction of Death’

Merida, Colombia (Photo: blmurch via Flickr, Creative Commons)

Is bullfighting an important tradition that should be preserved? Is it so cruel it should be boycotted and banned? And why was Hemingway so taken with it?

In a fine TNR review of Bullfighting: A Troubled History, Ben Wallace-Wells offers a brief history of the sport and summarizes the perspective of author Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier.

She falls squarely in the reformist camp, and her history argues that the sport seduced artists, who glamorized and abstracted a cruel and ugly pursuit into something that bore little resemblance to bullfighting itself. On the matter of Hemingway she is not subtle. “Hemingway is an emblematic representative of the aficionados who were in love with death,” she writes.

As I’ve noted before, I’ve had my own brushes with death in the bullring. (Via AL Daily)

Arthur Frommer Wades Into Airplane Seat-Reclining Wars

And gets some unexpected blowback. Last week, Frommer spoke out about Spirit Airlines’ plans to eliminate reclining seats on their planes—and, as he writes in his follow-up post, “an uproar ensued.” Strident emails supporting Spirit’s action poured in from readers. Turns out, there’s a major anti-reclining faction out there, and they mean business.

I’m a regular only-part-way recliner myself, and I’ve had to rescue my laptop from near-crushing by an abrupt full-recline more than once, so I can see both sides of the issue.

Where do you come down in the seat-reclining debate?

Traveling (and Writing) Free and Easy

On press trips and the ethics of travel writing in the digital age

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World Hum’s 2009 Travelers of the Year: Travel Bloggers

World Hum’s 2009 Travelers of the Year: Travel Bloggers iStockPhoto

Yes, travel bloggers. Here's why they deserve our second-annual award.

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Interview With Nicholas Kristof: Traveling and Tweeting Under ‘Half the Sky’

Nicholas Kristof Photo by Fred R. Conrad

David Frey asks the author about his dream vacation, Twitter, travel to hellholes and the trip that changed his life

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A Flight Attendant’s Bookish Ethical Dilemma

J.T. from Georgia posed this question to the New York Times ethicist, Randy Cohen:

I am a flight attendant. I was working a flight from Europe when I recognized Michael Connelly, my favorite author, on board. I told him I was reading his novel “Brass Verdict,” and he kindly offered to autograph it. The catch: it is a library book. Must I return the signed book to the library, or can I replace it with a new copy in a suitable jacket?

The answer is entertaining, and not just because of the line about what Cohen would do if he met “the ghost of Jane Austen on the D.C. shuttle.”

About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii?

About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii? Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I find souvenir shopping tricky. I like things that really scream of place or are packed with a trip’s significance—no pressure, souvenir makers! I was eager to buy a Hawaiian-made uke on my last trip, though the one I ended up getting is more global than I’d have ideally liked—the parts are made in Indonesia and shipped to Oahu for assembly. Is it made in Hawaii? Sort of.

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Travel Writing as a Political Act

Travel Writing as a Political Act REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Lonely Planet writer Robert Reid explores the role of travel writers in a complex world

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Ethicists Are Ready to Kick Some Derrie-Air

It seems some readers didn’t like being the butt of the Derrie-Air campaign’s joke.

‘The Worst Guidebook Writer Ever’?

Lonely Planet author Robert Reid reviews Thomas Kohnstamm's "Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?" and weighs in on the controversy surrounding it

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The Distance From Dachau to Darfur

Dachau Camp Fence, Germany Photo by Peter Delevett

Peter Delevett recently visited the Nazi-era concentration camp in Germany. Afterward, he wondered: Why wasn't he doing more to stop the genocide occurring right now in Sudan?

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Jeff Greenwald: Travel During War

As war rages in Iraq, Jim Benning speaks with the travel writer about his anti-war stand, his call for Americans to journey abroad, and his new organization, Ethical Traveler

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