Permit me to be as pellucid as possible so that no misunderstanding or misapprehension arises.
First I am in no way, shape or form trying to convert the tragedy in Ukraine to an issue about Black folks, It certainly is not. Nor am I endeavouring to negate the suffering that the people of Ukraine are enduring.
I have already done my character assessment of Vladimir Putin, and that was long before this current invasion.
Nevertheless, even in the midst of war and strife, it is obligatory for all people of goodwill to ensure that their fellow humans are treated fairly and humanely. Speaking politically correctly, that means that among other things Black folks should not be thrown to the proverbial “back of the bus” even in Ukraine.
Rather than acknowledge the pain being experienced by Ukrainian refugees, and speak humanely of all refugees, reporters have decided to pick and choose who merits media attention.
While it is yet a world away, on the other hand it is seemingly just next door as it affects us. The world, (or should that be some of its inhabitants) remain riveted to the television, radio or Internet to learn more about what is happening in the Ukraine.
We have started to feel it in our pocketbooks as we watch gasoline prices soar. And as caring humans we also feel it in our hearts as we watch people juggling their worldly possessions trying to flee battle-torn areas, and cross the border into other countries.
However, when these human-interest stories are being broadcast, Black people who live in the Ukraine have been visibly omitted. Two Black American journalists, were among the first to speak and highlight how people of African descent in Ukraine were being turned away from busses and trains in their attempt to flee the war-torn country.
They also heightened awareness about the ways in which the majority media ignored Black suffering as if they were not human. Even during a life-and-death situation Black people have found themselves running into racist barriers to their safety and freedom.
I am in no way taken aback at this world-wide anti-Blackness.
Global exploitative capitalism has made it justifiable for people to discriminate, even in times of war and crisis. And even without being at war, Ukraine has an ugly history of racism.
Around 20 percent of foreign students in Ukraine are from Africa, including 4,000 from Nigeria. Members of the United Nations Security Council from Gabon, Ghana and Kenya condemned the racial abuse these African refugees have faced.
The Ukrainian government has denied any racism. What else would one expect? Since calling out racism, other media outlets have jumped on the bandwagon, but we are yet to see an in-depth profile of an African or African family trying to leave as contrasted to white Ukrainians doing things like being rescued by Polish people or others, or feeding neighbours.
Where are the stories about the African students forced to abandon their studies, or African families separate?
What about the countries that have offered refuge to the Ukrainian children? Is it the same for the Black children in Ukraine?
My heart aches for Ukraine, in fact I have become a fan of their defiant President Volodymrr Zelensky. My heart also breaks for my African brothers and sisters in Ukraine trying to withstand bombs and bombast, in addition to wrestling with racism.
Where are the stories about the African students abandoning their studies or African families being fractured?
This is not just about Ukrainian racism. It is also about white journalistic myopia that refuses to acknowledge Black humanity.
That is why inclusion and diversity in journalism is of prime importance. We need to see more humanitarian reports about Black folks in Ukraine.
The journalistic apartheid must cease, and be replaced with a genuine understanding on issues of race..
Are Blacks not human.?