BECAUSE YOU SHOULD KNOW: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head In War-Ridden Ukraine

Black Women Protesting

Source: Nigil / @lordnc

Because you should know, on the third day of Russia’s mindless attack on Ukraine, it seems racism and white supremacy has reared its head. The unfortunate hashtag #AfricansinUkraine is trending on social media after multiple videos were tweeted claiming to show discrimination toward Africans in Ukraine who are among legions of humans scrambling for safety. This practice has been observed in China during the pandemic and in many cases where Black people experience themselves in dire straits and seek the same asylum and humane treatment as those around them but do not share their racial makeup. 

Twitter user Damilare/VIF @Damilare_arah shared a number of disturbing recordings that showed Nigerians in despair: a woman rocking an infant reported to be just two months old in less than 3 degrees celsius temperature. The caption stated that much of the African community stranded at a Ukrainian border were women and children in desperate need of “aid and hostels.” 

The Twitter account asked that people join in retweeting: “Use the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine and mentions @UN @RedCross @UNESCO @wateraid @amnesty @gatesfoundation @FordFoundation @ActionAid @Oxfam” 

Business Insider reported the struggle Africans and Black Britons are having as they make attempts to evacuate the war-ridden country. 

“Some people have gone to get buses, but they’re not allowing Black people basically onto the buses. They’re prioritizing Ukrainians. That’s what they say,” A woman named Sky told the platform, as she and her fiancé made their way to Poland by car. 

Another post is consistent with those reports and is said to show Ukrainian officials denying a group of Africans from boarding a train while preference was given to those who were white Ukrainian citizens.  

A host of other tweets from Nze @Nzekiev showed Africans being threatened with firearms and motor vehicles by Ukrainian military and police:

Scores of Twitter followers watched in horror and tweeted their support and denounced racism while others showed skepticism around the videos, denying racism is a factor in what played out but also denying Africans’ lived experience in real time.

After a night of unrest, the most updated tweets reported that collective tweeting about #AfricansinUkraine had been effective and that African students and those who were being held at gunpoint at the Poland/Ukrainian border were eventually permitted entry.

According to Business Insider, Ukraine became home to thousands of Africans who now find themselves trying to escape the country, had been seeking medical, engineering, and technical degrees at an affordable tuition. MADAMENOIRE will continue to follow this story and keep you updated—because you should know.

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