Being an object of compassion is not the same thing as being the subject of a story. It wasn’t then, and it isn’t now. In American newspapers and on American TV, Africans remain objects — of violence, of poverty, of disease, and ultimately of our own compassion. Like the abolitionists’ stories of the Jamaican slave revolt, our compassion narratives ultimately are not about the people in whose name they are told. They are about us. We like these stories because at some level, we already know them, and because they tell us we are caring, and potentially powerful, people.
— Jina Moore in The Boston Review