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  • Julian Reynoso

Analysis: Racism in Ukraine

There has been plenty of coverage of the war between Ukraine and Russia each day since it started, and it has garnered a great deal of attention, but what has not been covered as much is the racism that Black people face in Ukraine.

This racism in Ukraine is shown on the U.S. Peace Corps website where they warn about how Ukrainians are unfamiliar with Black people. These reports come directly from Black volunteers at the Peace Corps. One quote showing potential concerns for Black volunteers helping in Ukraine comes directly from the Peace Corps site in the section “Possible Considerations for African American or Black Volunteers,” from which the following section was taken:

“​​People of color face many challenges living in Ukraine, as a Peace Corps Volunteer. However, African-Americans will confront far more complicated issues. For modern parts of Ukraine, African-Americans are part of the community and day-to-day life. However, there are many Ukrainians who have never seen a Black person before. Their understanding of African-American culture is fueled by the media and African stereotypes. You will generate lots of interest and curious stares.”

This could unfortunately be considered to be just one of the issues that Black people face in Ukraine, highlighted on the Peace Corps site in which the same section reads, “It is not uncommon for Ukrainians to refer to African-Americans as ‘[N-Word]’. Volunteers of color may be called 'a monkey' or may see children’s games with Blackface.”

This discrimination extends not only to Black people in Ukraine. The Peace Corps website also mentions that many people of color face racism and warns that people in the LGBTQ+ community face similar issues in Ukraine.

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