Editorial: Rooting out Eurocentrism in Western media

When it comes to the depiction of the Ukrainian and Russian war, Western media follows a narrow message. Although it’s important to investigate the atrocities of the war between Russia and Ukraine, when it comes to media portrayals of refugees leaving Ukraine, comparisons between those fleeing other war-torn or conflict ridden areas is a double standard.

Many publications characterize the Ukrainian and Russian conflict as different from other war-torn areas because it’s in a civilized, European and a majority-white country. According to NBC correspondent Kelly Cobiella, these refugees are white and Christian while Ukraine’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor David Sakvrelidez said on a BBC segment, “I see European people with blue eyes and blond hair being killed.”

These comments all come from reputable and supposedly unbiased newsrooms, and although words from interviewees or correspondents can not be controlled, it’s the responsibility of the media network to acknowledge controversial opinions or biases when they are said.  

Readers and viewers are given the constant reminder of the looming threat of terroism when watching coverage of war. However with the recent invasion, Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed and embraced with open arms from neighboring Western countries. This is a stark contrast to the welcome that refugees from non-Western countries received during previous events. 

No country or nation deserves war and care of an issue should not be determined by the degree of “civility” a nation is believed to possess, but rather the impact it has on a community.

It can be argued that the media is just depicting the events of the war, and while that is true, it is also the media’s responsibility to remain unbiased in its portrayals, following the code of journalistic ethics to achieve all sides. 

There is an attempt to empathize with the people within these communities while simultaneously othering them. There is no unity or “us” when it comes to relating to refugees outside of Europe. Eurocentric world-views project the belief that societies in developed nations could never expect or hope for such a violent conflict to occur, which is far from the truth as current events show.    

While criticizing journalists in our field, we learn from their work and aim to rise above exceptionalist narratives in our reporting. As Solomon Burke sang, “None of us are free if one of us is chained,” and while we stand in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees, we also stand with those who have not received the same sympathy extended to them by the media.



The Blue Banner staff