The harm done to Ukraine has only begun to advance, and the substantial media coverage for victims has left a vast effect on the rest of the world. With even non-natives taking notice of this monstrosity, it seems that this is the first world grievance that all people have been collectively in tune on for a while. Although the sense of unity is quite refreshing, it’s not as easy to reconcile with the realization of the continuous overlooked racism and bigotry Ukrainian immigrants are facing in the underlies of all this horror.
Ukraine is home to over 4.8 million immigrants, 11% of the entire country. The country is especially known for their international student population, having about 76,000 foreign students in 2020. Most of these students are not Caucasian, with a majority being from Africa and Asia. More specifically Nigeria, India, Morocco, and Egypt. In the face of these current setbacks with troops being sent out, it’s known that many are desperate to flee the country. In all of this, it has been specifically hard for African and Indian immigrants trying to find safety.
Videos posted to YouTube and Twitter show Africans being prevented from entering trains aiming to flee war zones in Ukraine. Some were even violently forced off, being pushed and physically thrown as the trains began to take off. Students are being forced to find their own way, with reports of various individuals having walked through the approximately 20 mile border between Poland and Ukraine. Even at this, many are still being denied entry at the border. It was reported that guards there are sending Africans waiting at the border to the back of the line, as they want Ukrainians to be let through first. There’s been a disregard for the actuality of non white Ukrainians. Even while having citizenship, they too are viewed as second class citizens. And although their dismissal has caused great harm to students all through the country, the media coverage from non residents is not making it any better.
News reports have been everywhere of this situation, and while recognizing the terribility of these attacks it seems that many have uncovered the hidden racism that traces publishing. Reporters have been emphasizing the atrocity of this matter by indirectly stating these are European countries. Phrases like “They are civilized” and “European Christians that you could live next door to” are being coined to amplify some strained form of empathy, while simultaneously being blatantly racist. Many of these reporters bring up North Africa, Iraq, or Afghanistan to add a shock factor to the poll that European countries could ever be in such an “uncivilized situation.” Ironic, considering quite actually all of world history. News outlets are once again promoting the narrative that black and brown people are philistine to these cultural outbreaks.
Even in the midst of terrible warfare, dictatorship, and unlawful harm, racism still makes its way in the picture. This sudden calamity has at least shown that there is still a very long path to travel for racial prejudice and bigotry globally.