I thought I was done with these posts if I’m honest with you. I wanted to step away from being a voice of black experience and the “angry black woman” trope. It’s not that racism has changed, it’s that it’s emotional expressing my experiences and knowing that when I promote them there has often been backlash from social media trolls. However, I find myself having to write another one based on what is happening in Ukraine with the Russian invasion.
I recently sent a text to my mate about the plight of black people trying to escape Ukraine and that they weren’t being allowed into neighbouring countries. The link sent you to Damilare’s Twitter account and the thread had lots of videos to show the discrimination they were forced to live through. In one video was a two month old with their mother trying to keep them warm in the cold Ukrainian winter. Another video in the thread showed how black people were physically stopped from boarding trains leaving Ukraine to safer nations.
We know that racism is prevalent in Eastern Europe and the world. There is a huge movement with large resources that are dedicated to promoting white supremacy regardless of how false that narrative is. Every time I have visited an Eastern European I’ve been made aware of how strange I look and stared at. Every black person knows that when they are being watched in strange countries by all white people they are waiting for you to fulfil their stereotype of criminality. Black people are not seen as human. We are not seen as the complex people we are and that everyone is.
What drove me to write this post though stemmed from a deeper sadness. It isn’t enough to say “Hey world…can you stop shitting on black people please!?!” The natural reflex of one of my closest friends was to add me to the “not all are X”, “others have X” argument which I hate. I pointed out that their knee jerk reaction was equivalent to “not all men are rapists” which is valid. But every woman has experienced sexual harassment. Not all people are anti-black or racist, but I can guarantee you that black people will have experienced detrimental racism. We have had to develop a wholly separate identity to make sure we are safe within society, and often that’s not enough!! AAAAAaaaahhhhhh
A few news outlets have picked up the story of the racism in Ukraine, it’s at the point that Beyonce and several other superstars have gotten involved to helo black people escape the horrors caused by Putin. But it’s not just black people who have suffered. Indians have been segregated, beaten and in some cases, I believe raped based on what the accounts have posted and left unspoken.
I write this, not because I want to downplay the heroic standing of Ukrainians in defending their country, I commend them. I believe everyone has fallen in love, at least a little bit, with their president Zelensky for he is showing the world what true leadership is. He is for His people! What amazes me is that people still can’t get around there being people of different races living and residing in Ukraine. I am saddened that even in times of crisis, we, as black people, are unimportant. Black lives have been shown yet again to not matter. Our experiences are irrelevant because of centuries of propaganda against us.
EDIT: I wasn’t going to attach links cos they made me cry, but I feel they are important to this post so I am now adding them:
- Blocking black people getting on trains: https://twitter.com/Damilare_arah/status/1497654141350522880?s=20&t=SsLT7mVpmbtrF9192NNxvQ
- 5 days of propaganda denying the trauma imposed on black people to the point the UN had to agree: https://twitter.com/Damilare_arah/status/1498713337139544068?s=20&t=SsLT7mVpmbtrF9192NNxvQ
- How the black community has had to gather together to support Ukranian black refugees: https://twitter.com/Nadine_Writes/status/1498661780427616256?s=20&t=SsLT7mVpmbtrF9192NNxvQ
- People dying in the cold: https://twitter.com/yodifiji/status/1498585431524483072?s=20&t=SsLT7mVpmbtrF9192NNxvQ
- Refused refuge because of being black: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220228-pushed-back-because-we-re-black-africans-stranded-at-ukraine-poland-border
- Daily Mail report: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10562031/African-refugees-fleeing-Ukraine-facing-shocking-racism-Nigerians-told-no-blacks-bus.html
- Independant: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-refugees-racism-russia-invasion-b2024175.html
- More 😦 – https://flipboard.com/topic/beyonce/beyonce-expresses-sadness-over-black-migrants-stranded-in-ukraine-as-young-thu/a-ukaGgGHZQp2XgmWsbt56YA%3Aa%3A1952322242-016a305098%2Fco.uk
I am glad that you have shown this, though I can’t relate it still sickens me when people are treated this way.
It seems that for every step forward we always are going several steps back.