Special Report

In the wake of great tragedy, society will come together with community leaders to share ways to support impacted communities. The current times we are living in are marred by clashes and conflict. It seems like with every passing day, there is a new calamity that is dominating the headlines. Rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine have reached a precipice, with Russian forces invading Ukraine. As global news outlets provide the public with hour-by-hour updates about the conflict, many media outlets and journalists are being called out for racialized language in the way that stories are being reported. In one news segment, a senior foreign correspondent for CBS News stated that Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European…city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.” In another news segment for BBC news, the former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine explained that the conflict with Russia and Ukraine was very emotional for him because of the fact there it involved “European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed.” Within the media, there are countless examples of how racialized groups are further marginalized through carefully crafted verbiage. This language makes viewers believe that war and conflict is only for “third-world” and “under-developed” countries where Indigenous and Black people reside. Inequities in the reporting of stories contributes to the oppression that racialized people experience.

There are not just innumerable examples of racism in the ways that news is reported. When examining the stories that are deemed as “worthy” of being covered, we see how pervasive racism is. More reports must highlight how African migrants were being turned away while fleeing from Ukraine, but stories like this don’t initially gain as much coverage or traction. There has been a lack of coverage highlighting the conflict between the government of Ethiopia and the forces in the Tigray region. The conflict has persisted since November of 2020 and thousands of people have died while more than 300,000 people are living in famine. In the West African country of Cameroon, there is currently a civil war taking place in the country’s northwest region. The Anglophone crisis has been ongoing since 2016 and has displaced over a million people. It seems that the world only cares about crises when they impact white people.

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