With reportedly 2,000 dead in The invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin and more than 836,000 people displaced as they flee from his brigades, bombs and bullets, one way or another, amidst all the fear and uncertainty, there is still time for racism.
Over the past few days, several reports from the Ukraine-Poland border have indicated that black people living in Ukraine have had a much harder time getting to safety. According to CNN, refugees of color were forced to wait in freezing conditions without food or water. On Tuesday, Ukraine’s foreign minister said everyone leaving the country should be treated fairly.
“Ukrainians were given priority over Africans – men and women – at all times,” said Rachel Onyegbule, a Nigerian medical student. told CNN. “We don’t need to wonder why. We know why.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine highlighted the Western world’s failure to see black people as human beings. While rallying the troops and his people to fight Putin’s aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy managed to appeal to our common humanity. It’s not something black and brown people in conflict have never really been able to do.
Even those trying to flee Ukraine.
A CNN producer tweeted about his sister who is from Sierra Leone and lives in Ukraine. His harrowing escape from the country included 10 hours of walking in the cold, sleep outside and abandon your belongings. A student from Guinea said that he and other Africans were physically prevented from crossing into Ukraine as they watched the whites pass.
“Unlike people in the Middle East or countries with predominantly black or brown populations, for whom war and other devastation is often seen as ‘expected,’ the Western media very quickly realized the humanity of Ukrainians.”
While many may feel that the unprovoked attack on Ukraine is unprecedented, the ugly truth is that for many countries and peoples, war has been a constant for decades. But Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans and Syrians – though constantly under threat of death and destruction – have not received an overwhelmingly warm welcome and global support.
Sometimes it was the exact opposite. In 2015, Hungarian cameraman Petra Laszlo was filmed tripping and kicking refugees from the Middle East who had fled the war. She was sentenced to three years probation in 2017 but his pain was overthrown the following year.
Unlike people in the Middle East or predominantly black or brown countries, for whom war and other ravages are often seen as “expected” (as if their skin color predetermines whether or not they could live a peaceful existence ), the Western media very quickly realized the humanity of the Ukrainians. “It’s not a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict rage for decades,” CBS’ Charlie Agata said. “It’s relatively civilized, relatively European.”
Decoding the dog’s whistle isn’t rocket science; the outpouring of support for white Ukrainians while ignoring or even preventing Africans from getting out of the conflict is clearly rooted in white supremacy and the idea that everything must be done to stop the war in countries like Ukraine then that, in brown and black countries, it is only the way these people are.
And in the United States, the racist double standard is so extreme that some Republicans are comparing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to alleged problems in other “white” countries, namely this one.
“We also have neighbors to the north who need freedom and need to be freed and we need them right here at home,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said. told CPAC last weeklikening a bloody invasion to wearing a mask at the grocery store in the United States and Canada.
But still, after Putin’s initial praise from former President Donald Trump, who remains the flag bearer of the Republican Party, and the talking heads of Fox News, even the GOP had to admit that the Ukrainians were leading a awesome fight.
Much of the world has united behind Ukraine. Members of Congress are wear yellow and blue — the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Social media users have changed their profile pictures to declare their alliance with the Ukrainian people, and experts are openly (and dangerously) thinking about direct US involvement.
During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, his lines on the conflict drew bipartisan support. Republicans, whose sole purpose is to oppose everything Democrats believe in, stood up to cheer and applaud Ukraine. Can you imagine getting bipartisan support for Afghan refugees or Black Lives Matter?
The United States is rightly horrified. But the United States is also hypocritical.
Turning entire nations into The Other is what leads to wars, genocides and other atrocities. This is precisely what the United States and its allies are doing – declaring Ukraine good and therefore worthy of our support while demonizing or outright ignoring similar atrocities in non-Western countries – this is how wars like that led by Russia begins in the first place.
The solution here, however, is not to turn our backs on Ukraine. But if the United States and the rest of the West want to think of themselves as the good guys – the people who defend democracies and the ordinary people of the world – they must, for once, do the same for the people who don’t look like them. not .