Princess Kates baby-bank commercial criticized by anti-poverty campaigners
For Prince William and Kate, the bar has always been set in hell. It can’t get any lower for them. One of the most accurate observations made by Omid Scobie in Endgame is that everyone infantilizes Kate to a crazy degree. Scobie stopped short of pointing out that Kate prefers it that way, as does William – they genuinely want to be lavished with praise for doing the bare minimum. They don’t know how to exist any other way. So with that in mind, I was fine with Kate filming a glossy commercial, showing that she took her kids to volunteer at a baby bank and select gifts for poor children. Kate should have been making a point of donating, volunteering and exposing her children to these issues for years, but better late than never. Still, not everyone in the UK is down with “wow, Kate is amazing for doing the bare minimum.” Kate is actually being criticized for her little baby bank commercial.
Anti-poverty campaigners have raised concerns about visits by the Princess of Wales to baby banks, warning they risk normalising the idea that charity is the answer to poverty. Footage released by Kensington Palace earlier this week showed Kate taking her three children to a baby bank in Holyport, Berkshire, where they helped volunteers sort Christmas presents.
Sabine Goodwin, director of the Independent Food Aid Network, said: “There’s a fine line between soliciting donations with a positive spin and normalising a charitable response to poverty. The Princess of Wales’s heart is undoubtedly in the right place but we can’t afford to see royal patronage through rose-tinted glasses. We need to be collectively shouting from the rooftops that baby banks, like warm banks, fuel banks and food banks, shouldn’t be needed. If we are to put the baby bank genie back in its bottle, combining calls for systemic change with much needed efforts to fill the gap is critical.”
Graham Whitham, chief executive of Greater Manchester Poverty Action, agreed, saying “it is vital we don’t further normalise charitable responses to poverty”.
He added that Kate’s visit had raised the profile of the challenges facing many low-income families. “It must also be a wake-up call for national and local decision-makers as to the need for responses to poverty that address the root causes.”
Ames Taylor, chair of Greater Manchester Money Advice Group, responding to the royal visit, posted on social media: “Thank goodness there were cameras that we might know of such good deeds. We are a rich country – there should be no ‘baby banks’, no food banks, and no ‘warm spaces’. People should have enough to get by. And the safety net should keep people safe.”
[From The Guardian]
It’s tricky for these campaigners to really get into the nitty-gritty of why Kate’s actions are bad. If you tug at that string, the whole fabric of British society falls apart. The Windsors and the millions of Britons living in poverty are two sides of the same broken system – Kate is on the side of tax-free inherited wealth built on slavery and colonialism, and on the other side are people living in cycles of generational poverty and a gutted social safety net. Kate IS normalizing the fact that millions of Britons are living in poverty and baby banks and foodbanks are basically the only thing keeping their children fed and clothed. The commercial was very poverty-tourism, royal-style. But all that being said… I still say she should do more of it. Just live with the criticism, own it, and say “yeah, maybe the system is broken, but I still have to do what I can and try to help people.” She won’t say that or do that though, because this was just a quick PR hit for her. That’s my criticism – Kate can’t fix a broken system when she’s on the oppressor’s side, but she can retire her gopher wigs and actually dedicate herself seriously to a cause. But she won’t.
Photos courtesy of Cover Images.
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