They are ‘civilised’, ‘European’ and ‘look like us’: the racist coverage of Ukraine | Moustafa Bayoumi

Are Ukrainians more deserving of sympathy than Afghans and Iraqis? Many seem to think soWhile on air, CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata stated last week 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 – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city, one where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen”.If this is D’Agata choosing his words carefully, I shudder to think about his impromptu utterances. After all, by describing Ukraine as “civilized”, isn’t he really telling us that Ukrainians, unlike Afghans and Iraqis, are more deserving of our sympathy than Iraqis or Afghans?Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror. He is professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is a contributing opinion writer at the Guardian US Continue reading…

Are Ukrainians more deserving of sympathy than Afghans and Iraqis? Many seem to think so

While on air, CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata stated last week 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 – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city, one where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen”.

If this is D’Agata choosing his words carefully, I shudder to think about his impromptu utterances. After all, by describing Ukraine as “civilized”, isn’t he really telling us that Ukrainians, unlike Afghans and Iraqis, are more deserving of our sympathy than Iraqis or Afghans?

Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror. He is professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is a contributing opinion writer at the Guardian US

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