New York, U.S. | Xinhua | The terms used by U.S. and European journalists to describe non-European refugees reflect a racist European and American policy that only extends human rights protections to certain groups of people to the exclusion of others, making the death and suffering of Middle-Eastern, African and Asian refugees more expected and therefore tolerated, reported Asylum Access on Friday.
“The racist language used by journalists is only the tip of the iceberg of discrimination,” said the advocates’ group that supports forcibly displaced individuals and communities, noting that Black, Asian, and Middle Eastern refugees are treated very differently when they arrive at the border in European countries.
When Charlie D’Agata, a senior CBS News reporter, was asked to describe the tragedy taking place in Ukraine, he answered saying: “This 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 country, a city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen,” according to the report.
While the backlash forced the journalist to apologize, “the words he said on television exposed an entire policy attitude that has been perpetrated for decades by the U.S. and Europe towards refugees from non-European backgrounds,” said the report. “D’Agata’s comparison between wars in the Middle East and Ukraine suggests that the lives lost in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan are of less value when compared to Ukrainian lives.”
Such comments that echoed throughout social media and television are “evidence of discriminatory policies that have been years in the making,” it added, noting that “to put it simply, when the media dehumanizes refugees and categorizes them into groups depending on color, race, ethnicity or religion, it becomes easier to roll out a policy that discriminates against people based on those perceptions.”