Ukraine, Refugees and Racism – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Dr. John E. Warren Publisher, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

Our hearts, prayers and support are with the people of Ukraine. No one should suffer such violence and loss in what is supposed to be a civilized global society. We, as members of humanity, are doing the right thing by providing support for everything we can help.

But an even greater tragedy is happening, which we have seen repeated many times in the midst of human suffering and loss. This tragedy is that of “racism” and we see its presence in the midst of this war.

First, incidents involving African students residing in Ukraine have been refused to leave, despite waiting as long as Ukrainians. The stated reason: the citizens of Ukraine first.

The citizenship test, the skin color of those who want to leave. The Nigerian mother and her daughter, who had been waiting just as long as the mother of White Ukraine, should not have been refused because she was black.

The 1,700 black students in Ukraine should not be denied admission because they are students or blacks when such tests do not apply to Ukrainians other than men who are required to enlist for military service between the ages of 18 and 60 years.

Then we see the President of Ukraine calling for military assistance in terms of manpower to fight the Russians. Future fighters from several African countries are seeking to volunteer as “mercenaries”, but have been told they must pay $ 1,000 and obtain visas to come to Ukraine. Reason: the fee is for plane tickets and visas to neighboring countries, as they can not fly directly to Ukraine.

But none of this became a problem until the Africans volunteered. As if Africans were not alone, a number of Indian students, some in medical school, also complained that they were denied transport to make room for “white” Ukrainian citizens, when everyone was equally waiting for transport. This is racism.

It is interesting to see how the European (white) world seems to have no restrictions on the pouring out of housing, food, clothing and any need that such refugees feel. This is really the humanitarian thing.

But where was the same level of outpouring of the Afghan people when America withdrew or, even closer, how is it that on the Mexican-American border of San Diego, California and Tijuana that the Haitians are waiting, some of the two ? up to three years, they have still been denied refugee status under the same title 42 used by President Trump to keep people out?

Border guards now appear to have some discretion under this law, which is now used to admit Ukrainian refugees who have reached the same Mexican border where Haitians and other refugees are still waiting to cross.

Here is the model of racism: in Ukraine, if you are black, you are denied access. At the Mexican / American border, if you are black, you are denied access because refugees from Ukraine may be ahead of you. The common factor in all these cases is the racism of placing white refugees in front of people of color for no reason other than the color of their skin.

Here we sit in America with white Republican lawmakers blocking dollars for child tax credits that will help working families; the financing of the universal school lunch expires; and the failure to fund so many things needed by the American people, who are trying to get out of the pandemic, but we seem to have unlimited funds for Ukraine. We need to help them, but “charity starts at home and then spreads abroad.”

If we are going to provide global help, and we should, then let us make sure that we have policies that treat everyone fairly, without making skin color a determining factor in establishing their humanity. Something to really think about.

Dr. John E. Warren is the publisher of San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.

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