Anti-Russian Hatred Helps No One; Racism is Racism
While there is chaos and violence along the Russian-Ukrainian border halfway around the world from the United States, Russians in America are also feeling pressure from world events. Russian-owned businesses in our own country are beginning to feel the backlash. Ugly examples of anti-Russian racism are surfacing — and this, in the very country that prides itself on our values of acceptance, equality, and diversity.
Despite many Russian nationals in America, or Russian-American citizens, expressing empathy for and support of Ukrainian citizens during this difficult time, sadly both vandalism and discrimination against Russian-Americans are running rampant, particulary in larger cities such as New York.
A Brooklyn, New York grocery store, Taste of Russia, is actually in the process of changing its name in order to disassociate itself from Russia even further.
Anyone who knows American history can hear in this situation the echoes of German-Americans changing their names during the First World War, and Japanese-Americans being targfeted for discrimination during the Second World War.
To some Americans, anti-Russian discrimination may seem to be a slightly aggressive but not unreasonable means of standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
But how exactly does our discriminating against and alienating business owners and individuals based on their nationality, help anyone? Are these Russian or Russian-American business owners and individuals personally responsible for civilian deaths thousands of miles away?
We have a recent analogy to this time: when the conflict between the United States and Afghanistan was at its peak, discrimination against and harassment of those Americans or visitors to the US of Middle Eastern decent was rightly labeled as racist.
But where are all these equality advocates now? Why are they not speaking out against similar injustices now being faced by Russian-Americans?
The very definition of racism is: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group.” Although racism is typically associated with discrimination against racial minorities, it is not in my view limited to discrimination against minorities. I believe there can be racism directed at people of any race.
So for anyone to ignore, participate in, or condone discrimination against any group at all, and to justify it based on the fact that they are a racial majority is, in and of itself, in my view, also racist. Added to that, such discrimination is childish and unreasonable.
With all the hardships being faced along the Russian-Ukrainian border, we should actually be supporting both Ukrainian and Russian-Owned businesses now more than ever. While there are complexities on both sides of this horrific situation, it is, as always, innocent people on both sides who suffer most; and civilians on both sides are harmed, as is always the case when there is a war.
Hatred is never okay, and hatred in the “support” of Ukraine just makes matters worse. Racism is racism, regardless of background or nationality.
You can show your support for both Russian-American and Ukrainian-American businesses using the links below:
One of our country’s most important freedoms is that of free speech.
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