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A Do-Gooder's Guide To Sabotage

Hey Savior: Make Everybodys Problem Your Problem!

bland corporate stock image of smiling business people. text: hey savior: make everybody's problem YOUR problem. appoint yourself manager of the universe to boost your worth. to the rescue! The Luminary Braintrust do-goodery guide to sabotage

Welcome to Sabotage for Do-Goodery

In this discussion series, we examine common ways we self-sabotage progressive movements.

Sabotage for Saviors

How to Become Manager Of the Universe

Excerpt from the CIA Field Manual on Simple Sabotage:

“You can cause wear on any machine by uncovering a filter system, poking a pencil or any other sharp object through the filter mesh, then covering it up again. Or, if you can dispose of it quickly, simply remove the filter.”

Level-up your DIY game: Is this sabotage method the right one for you?

As the main character of our universe, your mission is to rescue everybody.

Using our strategy, you can tackle systemic issues through an individual approach that reinforces existing power structures. Forget collective liberation, what you need is big, flashy gestures of support so you can bask in the glow of virality.

Anyone can bolster a far-right supremacist agenda. Adopt an ego-driven approach by practicing paternalistic heroics. Let’s take inspiration from nefarious pillars of the kyriarchy such as ‘Anti-Slavery Activist’ Charles Jacobs,  ‘Digital Philantropist,’ Mr. Beast, and ‘Humanity’s Self-Appointed Savior,’ Elon Musk. Welcome to the ultimate guide on derailing inclusion and justice in your community. 

Follow these steps to master the art of sabotage by maintaining the status quo and solving all problems the traditional super hero way  — whether we asked for your help or not.

Build Your Savior Résumé

Why waste time attacking the roots of injustice when you can make loud noises about how busy you are? 

To build your reputation and secure bragging rights, be sure to:

  • Insert yourself into every situation, regardless of the skills or resources you offer
  • Constantly switch between different causes based on what’s trending on social media
  • Amass a dedicated following and waste your followers’ energy flitting from issue to issue, ensuring nobody has time to properly invest or develop skills toward an effective solution
  • If you exist in a silo of progressive values, post incessantly, blog, write newsletters, and display flashy signs and pride flags on your lawn to signal how tolerant you are of your community’s commonly accepted values.
  • Get loud about your role as an ally. Make it your whole identity.

This approach not only drains the energy or others, but will transform you into a loud, arrogant boor. We need all eyes on you.

Today, we learn the art of gate-keeping social power and material resources so targeted folks can’t possibly pursue their own liberation.

How Savior Sabotage Works

The key to perpetual saviorism is to muddy up the lines between support and co-dependence.

  • Confuse the goals of ‘dismantling systemic oppression’ with ‘solving the everyday problems of everyone you know’
  • Coddle those you hold power over, and always presume they’re too incompetent to generate their own solutions or deal with the consequences of their mistakes
  • Over-compensate for your sense of privilege by volunteering for tasks you are not equipped to handle, creating a bigger mess that will disproportionately impact those with less power than you.
  • Develop co-dependent relationships that keep group progress intertwined and dependent on interpersonal drama
  • Male yourself indispensable and stifle self-sufficiency so everyone has to go through you to get anything done
  • Develop a cult of personality so anyone who benefits from your group’s work will be afraid report negatively and damage your reputation. When someone takes you down – make sure tot ake everyone down with you.

Keep everyone distracted by how flashy and helpful you are, while acting as a bottleneck to progress and gatekeeper to power. Only YOU can create a barrier to real systemic change and prevent targeted people from the resources they need for self-efficacy.

When in doubt – micro-manage the crap out of everything and everybody. This your moral mandate – after all, as the only smart person in the room, you are responsible for everyone in the universe and all of their problems and feelings!

(Until you’re not feeling it anymore, in which case, after making a problem exponentially more complicated, drop it and leave it for the folks who have no choice but to deal with it.)

Pro Tips: Become The Conductor of Chaos

1. Follow Your Whims & Feelings

As an empath, you don’t need to listen to those most impacted to inform a strategic, needs-based solution. Instead, let your superior intuition guide your actions:

  • Only assist those whose suffering makes you the most uncomfortable, even if you lack the capacity to help them effectively
  • Drop initiatives and allies the moment you find someone who seems more in need, regardless of how it might impact those relying on you
  • Create a cycle of perpetual disruption where no one gets your long-term support and you never stick around long enough to develop practiced skills or trusting relationships
  • Leap in and assume you know what’s best in any cultural context regardless of your lived experience, knowledge, or the protests of those most impacted
  • Lean in to peer pressure. Everyone is doing something about [interesting crisis] right now. Quick – join us!

By focusing on your own feelings rather than the actual needs of the people you’re saving, ensure that your help is scattered and ineffective at best.

2. Confuse Tourism with Contribution

Why collaborate when you can intrude?

  • Avoid reaching out to marginalized people in your industry or local community to understand struggles or build relationships built on mutual goals. Keep your connections broad, vague, and without the risk of developing into real interdependent relationships.
  • Mention how you support the work of targeted people incessantly – and by support, I mean following them on Instagram and DMing them for free advice and comfort.
  • If you’re wealthy, take advantage of sliding scales intended to support those with less material resources. Use what you’ve learned from targeted educators to repackage and rebuild your own anti-oppression consulting business.
  • Inform those you hold power over that you are now friends. Insist on grabbing a coffee together without compensating them for their time. Use this word ‘friend‘ liberally when requesting special treatment. See if you can find out where they live!
  • Take your children for weekend tours of small businesses and invade community spaces where targeted folks gather to take a break from centering your feelings. It’s so scary, but good to ‘expose’ your innocent children to diversity.
  • Make sure to post about your patronage, ‘friendship,’ and invasions on social media and in your newsletters, highlighting how you’re making a difference by desegregating affinity spaces, appropriating their reputation and work, and profiting off industries that exploit them.
  • If they ask you to amplify, promote, or pay for their services or labor, pretend you didn’t see the request. Apologize profusely for being a bad ‘friend’ until they comfort you.

By sowing confusion and centering your feelings, you can disrupt any sense of psychological or physical safety targeted people need to form coherent strategies for collective liberation. It’ll be years before we figure out you’ve been using us the whole time.  :::Evil cackle:::

3. Take Any Opportunity To Swerve Wildly Out of Your Lane

As every romantic comedy / action movie has taught us – boundaries are just lines drawn in the sand for heroes to trample in their pursuit of glory. Hurl your powerful body over those boundaries and beach yourself mightily beside the ocean of justice.

  • Insert yourself into strategy spaces and initiatives led by targeted communities. Instead of listening for ways you’re best suited to support their work, get argumentative and insist your methods are smarter, nicer, and more palatable.
  • Criticize cultural practices and strategies that don’t align with your worldview, advocating for methods that reinforce colonial metrics of progress.
  • Get defensive and dismissive when challenged, ensuring that your voice, and power, remains dominant.

By blundering sloppily into spaces you’re ill-equipped to contribute and beaching your rotting carcass to distract us from the real problem, you can demoralize and exhaust any under-resourced community.

Avoid these common mistakes

Never miss an opportunity for attention and accolades. Ensure every initiative, meeting, and email centers your hard work by avoiding these common pitfalls:

Avoid modeling collective liberation for your kids.

By turning down opportunities for praise and credit, you might inadvertently teach your kids that they are not the main character of global liberation. Always be on, always be working, and never set time aside for self-reflection or strategic planning.

Be particularly suspicious of collectives like the Summer Luminator, which drags you out of your comfort zone of quoting feminist literature, lurking in online workshops, and hosting performative book groups.

Stay suspicious and defensive against anyone who asks “Is that what they ASKED you to do?” follows it up with “What action will you take next?” and wraps it up with “What’s your accountability process?” is trying to de-center you and ruin your savior vibe.

Avoid recognizing who you are best connected to and situated to support

If you aren’t prioritizing the most desperately helpless pathetic creature in the world, you’re a bad person. As a hero, you can and must rescue everybody, all the time. Unless they’re not cute.

Avoid any reflection revealing how your particular personality or skill set helps a targeted group of people who could then go on to help others. You don’t understand what ‘collective liberation‘ means and you’re too listen to someone explain it. You’ve got a newsletter to create!

Avoid Self-Advocacy & Conspirator Collaborations

While anything centering YOU sounds great, beware self-advocacy work (it sounds like the world ‘selfish for a reason! And I don’t want to think too deeply about why!)

Heroes are selfless and don’t have time to care for themselves. To uphold capitalism and the exploitation of feminized care work, this work must be tedious, painful, and drain your scarcest resources.

Avoid collaborating on shared challenges – that could lead to friendship, solidarity, and companionship. All stuff for dorks! You’re not a dork. You’re strong. You’re a DIAYYET master.

It’s best to keep any self-advocacy you do in the closet. As targeted people, we are too incompetent to save ourselves. According to supremacist rule-makers, you don’t count as one of the ‘good ones’ and you’re not qualified to represent yourself anyway.

Instead, secure your passing privilege and access to scarce drips of tolerance and conditional belonging. Take a pick-me role, or excuse the behavior of an ally willing to take you on as the token friend.

A rising tide lifts all boats, and it’s your responsibility to lift everyone standing on your neck until you’ve earned their admiration and mercy.

Avoid working with peers navigating similar challenges

You’re a regular person cosplaying as a super-human, so it’s vital you never let anyone know that you’re just figuring out parenting and social justice work as you go along.

Avoid learning spaces with other parents navigating similar challenges, or those who admit what they don’t know. Their patience in holding space for each other will rub off on you, and then you will be a dork – a lazy dork. Superheroes aren’t lazy OR dorks, unless they are wearing glasses and sitting at a desk, in which case it’s supposed to be a TEMPORARY DISGUISE.

Instead, seek out experts. Find people who have the most letters after their names, particularly expert allies who choose this work – like cishet white women who write about anti-racism and post pictures of themselves at pride parades. The fact that they are popular and profitable means they’re doing it right. Look how many selfies they’ve posted standing next to racially ambiguous lesbians. They seem nice, trust them.

Bonus, they seem just safe and oblivious enough that they will never call you out for being lazy, or dorky, or doing problematic savior damage.


Beware counter-sabotage efforts

If anyone confronts you about your performative activism or draws attention to the damage you’ve done as a savior, derail the conversation!

  • Deflect criticism by ranting about “everything I’ve done for you people”
  • Provide links to the websites and profiles of targeted people who are okay with what you’re doing, probably
  • Emphasize the countless times you’ve helped poor, unfortunate souls
  • Shame others into silence by highlighting how little they are doing about [insert latest disaster crisis here]

By avoiding feedback, criticism, and accountability, you can shut down any meaningful dialogue and protect your ego from the uncomfortable truth.

Sabotage Strategy Pitfalls

After enough saviorism (and promoting your saviorism) you may run the risk of burnout and exhaustion. The endless cycle of rushing in to rescue others and then rushing back out when you realize how hard it is will drain your energy, leaving you mentally exhausted, you poor thing.

Binging ‘Love Is Blind’ while pulling out each of your eyebrow hairs one-by-one may will make you feel temporarily superior, but the recognizing the similarities between you and attention-starved reality TV stars will eventually send you spiraling into a hole of impostor syndrome (or whatever ‘impostor syndrome‘ is called when you really are an impostor).

If you truly wanted to empower targeted people and take concrete steps toward collective liberation, leaping in as a savior is a tried-and-tested strategy to sabotage anyone you hold power over.

Luckily, you’re steadfast in your true agenda bolstering existing power structures while keeping a tenuous grip on the few privileges bestowed upon you. Saviorism is a great way to maintain both your conditional safety and the admiration of folks who aren’t paying much attention.

Feeling like an isolated, ashamed, and thinking of changing your approach? Don’t you dare!

In the second week of the Summer Luminator, we show up for others effectively by:

  • Learning how to de-center ourselves while maintaining secure & sustainable boundaries
  • Determining our unique leadership and collaboration styles
  • Working in solidarity with others toward collective liberation

If you’ve ever felt like it’s up to you alone to save the world, that every global tragedy is your personal responsibility to fix, you could dedicate this summer to finally figuring out who really are responsible for and how to show up for them effectively.

But instead of joining us in the Summer Luminator, remind yourself that you don’t need anyone cracking holes in your facade.

Just look at our economy and government – maintaining savior-levels of arrogance could get you into the highest echelons of power and wealth!

It’s not worth the risk just to access a community where your contributions are truly welcome and helpful.


Counter-Sabotage: The Summer Luminator

Determine who you are best positioned to support, who you work best with, and how to transform envy and competition into collaboration.

Join our 6-week workshop with a community of caregivers navigating care work and social justice to smash the kyriarchy.

Sabotage for Do-Goodery

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