White Supremacy in Ukraine

Kyiv,Ukraine - Feb 25,2022 scene of the aftermath of Russian bombings. Photo by Drop of Light on shutterstock.com

On Feb. 24, Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine. Within hours, thousands of Ukrainian women and children became refugees and fled into neighboring Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Poland. 

Ukraine is not only home to white European natives but immigrants from Africa, India and other nations. 

In a disgusting show of racist preferential treatment, African and Indian immigrants, mainly women and children, have been prevented from boarding trains headed for safety at the Ukrainian border. 

Black men, at gunpoint, have been made to relinquish their positions on trains. The government has given white Ukrainians the right of passage in their place. One can only wonder how prevalent the idea of white superiority is after witnessing such detestable treatment of human beings. 

Reports and video footage of Ukrainian border guards forcefully removing immigrants from countries like Nigeria and Cameroon have spread across the globe. 


One might ask how a world with liberal ideology and universal considerations of human diversity could face such moral tragedy. Ukraine’s deputy chief prosecutor David Sakvarelidze may be able to offer us a take. 

In a candid and heartfelt analysis of the invasion, he intimated, “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed, children being killed every day by Putin’s missiles, helicopters and rockets.” 

I wonder if people feel the same pain when African children are maimed and killed due to conflicts caused by the foreign interests of European and western nations. 

It may appear the lives of African people are expendable in the eyes of “cultured” “civilized” European societies.

It isn’t normal for us to think about if and how Europeans uphold white supremacy here in America. 

Americans have often overlooked the implications of the 1884-85 Berlin conference, in which European powers systematically portioned out Africa to suit their economic interests. 

The legacy of this economic molestation has meant heavy debt, the exacerbation of tribal rivalries, political corruption, genocide and war for African nations. 

In maintaining a system of control and dominance, white colonists applied this  principle of inferiority to indigenous African populations. 

One can see this effect most saliently if one studies South African history and the heinous practice of Apartheid. We witness now in Ukraine a very telling historical parallel at play.

In a strange twist of irony, reports have surfaced that Ukraine has solicited mercenary fighters from African countries to join its fight against Russia. 

Three of these countries, Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria, are among 17 others who abstained from voting in a Mar. 2 UN resolution that condemned Russia’s aggression and called for an end to the violence. 

As clients for and beneficiaries of Russian military weaponry, financing, and technology, these countries and others effectively have their hands tied. 

The ministries of foreign affairs for Nigeria, Senegal, and Algeria have all spoken out against Ukraine’s alleged recruitment of African foreign nationals. They have forbidden their citizens to fight on behalf of Ukraine. 

None of these nations wants to incur Russian ire and endure the pains of the Kremlin’s retaliation. Russia has already stated that any support by other countries of Ukraine is tantamount to a declaration of war.

Ukraine recognizes that many Africans are poor and without income to feed themselves and their families. 

In a bid to increase its military forces, Ukraine has found it within its collective conscience to accept the sacrifices of African bodies while denying the rights of African immigrants that choose not to be a part of the Ukrainian war effort the opportunity to leave the country. 

In cases where African immigrants have been able to evacuate Ukraine, their journey has been unnecessarily laborious compared to white Ukrainian nationals.

One should note that young impoverished African men have voiced support for becoming mercenaries in Ukraine. They see waging other peoples’ wars as a chance to better their economic status. 

The decision to participate in for-profit murder, while egregious, is simply a side effect of inhabiting a capitalist system that rewards winners and punishes losers. 

Sadly, economic opportunities are few in many African countries where the unfortunate effects of geographic limitations on trade, foreign meddling, internal corruption and war have all assembled to prevent economic subsistence for much of the continent’s inhabitants. In other words, for a large number of young African men, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Aware of this, it is revolting that Ukraine insults the humanity of indigent would-be mercenaries, even considering it now fights for its survival. 

If a man or woman is good enough to hold a gun and spill blood on behalf of another, in a conflict which is not even one’s own, it is undoubtedly a sin against and a violation of humanity’s highest moral aspirations to racially discriminate against this person.

The idea that human life is not equal is an attitude America has openly grappled with since the codification of Jim Crow laws in the southern United States. 

The congressional passage of the American Civil Rights Act of 1964 was perhaps an attempt to rectify disgusting misconceptions about the rightful claim to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness Black people have. 

It was a step in the right direction. The intent is worth something.

In my estimation, bipedalism, high cognitive function, the possession of a beating heart and the consumption of oxygen for survival are the relative primary markers of what we might call “humanness.” 

It appears, however, that the notion of Black inferiority is still present in the minds of many “blond-hair blue-eyed” whites, and so, for what it is worth, I am still not convinced that all lives truly matter.