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Researchers are heading to Dharavi, Mumbai, to study the impact of slum tours on the residents.
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I don’t find nothing right about tourist visiting the slum, I feel that the tourist are violating there privacy. They are human being not some historical landmark. If the tourist are not helping this people why are they going? If you are going to visit this places do it because you want to help them, not because you think is interesting their way of living.
Moral questions are always fun. Personally I don't think going to see slums is all that exploitative in itself, but I would make a distinction between guided tours that cost money, and self-directed tours though. In a guided tour you are paying money to walk through a community and view what life is like for those people, but in a self-directed tour you are just another person walking down the streets and viewing whatever you stumble upon. There are plenty of tours within neighborhoods of different economic value the world over, but these tours are scrutinized because the people touring are as wealthy, or less wealthy, than the people living there. I don't think that a poor community changes this dynamic in an immoral way, as the perceptions of which group is superior come from the own minds of those who feel uncomfortable with it.
This article rises in interesting question. Are tours of slums exploitive or beneficial to the slum dwellers? On the one hand the tours could feel like exploitation and the tourist is viewing attractions at a “zoo”, on the other hand it brings people far removed from slum life in contact with it and can change people’s point of view on the slums. It can be beneficial if the tour guides donate money to the slums or jobs are sought by slum dwellers to become tour guides. The question is should slums be hidden away from view or opened up to tourists so that they can see the hardships first hand. I think that this is an issue that is not clearly black or white; there are many shades of gray involved in this issue.