“To be, or not to be, that is the question”
“To be, or not to be, that is the question”. This popular phrase was said by Hamlet in Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s popular drama plays. The confusion, turmoil, pain can be likened to the racial segregation of the world. People are judged, favoured, provided medical attention, jobs, prison sentences and more by the nature of their skin, and origin. Hard times indeed reveal the true intentions of individuals towards others in their actions. The recent crisis in Ukraine has uncovered deeply seated racism in the country. A plague that still hunts Black people, especially in their daily lives.
Amid political bad blood in Ukraine causing indigenes to flee for safety, blacks and Asians have not only been deprived of the various facilities to flee but some journalists and other high personalities are concerned with other white people suffering and not the effects of the crisis on all. They have expressed disbelief that a refugee crisis could occur in Europe among people “so like us.”
White women and children were given priority on vehicles departing the country, African women were barred from trains leaving Kyiv even though there were empty seats. Videos shared on social media showed black people being pushed off trains and animals being prioritised before people. Should other races “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles”? That is the question.
Upon reaching the border, they have reportedly been forced to wait in segregated groups as Ukrainian nationals cross first. Black and Asian refugees have been met with violence, with border guards beating them with sticks and pushing them to the back of the queue.
These incidents demonstrate a racist logic that positions some people as vulnerable, and others as beyond the realm of moral obligation to receive protection. European countries, particularly those neighbouring Ukraine, have been praised for welcoming refugees but African nationals have detailed racism they've encountered as they too fled Ukraine.
For centuries the liberal notion of western society was forged when Africans were enslaved across the West. liberal conceptions of justice do not consider Indigenous, Black and racialized persons to be on the same level as white Europeans. In the midst of conflict, racism has once again emerged as pervasive and pernicious, exacerbating Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis.
Malcolm X was a prominent human rights activist who rose to fame as the Nation of Islam’s chief spokesperson. He was recognised for laying the foundation of the Black Power movement in the United States and being an advocate for Black empowerment. He urged his fellow Black Americans to protect themselves against white aggression “by any means necessary”. His doctrine to black people against racism may seem to be the most radical yet feasible way to save black people from the inhumane treatment going on for about 6000 years. Yes, 6000 years. Its time to rise up!
A message from the United Nation against racism reads, Every day, each and every one of us can stand up against racial prejudice and disrespectful attitudes. Let’s build a world beyond racism and discrimination, where we all exercise our human rights. Be a human rights champion!