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As Russia continues its war against Ukraine for a 14th day, a clip from MSNBC host Joy Reid is making the rounds on Twitter after she called out the disparity in coverage between White Ukrainian refugees and other non-White refugees around the world.
During the closing segment of her show The Reid Out, Joy compared the way the media and nations around the world have reacted to the plight of the European Ukrainian refugees compared to Black and brown people suffering amidst conflicts in other parts of the world.
“As the world watches the devastation unfolding in Ukraine, nearly 4,000 miles away another crisis is deepening that we don’t hear much about in the U.S., and that is the war in Yemen,” Reid said on Monday.
Since 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, backed by the U.S., has dropped bombs in Yemen in order to repel Houthi rebels, which had taken over the country with support from Iran.
As the opposing forces continue to battle for control of the country, the destruction has led to widespread hunger, disease and displacement.
“Four million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes,” Reid continued.
Joy Reid highlights disparities on full display
Currently, two million Ukrainians have fled their country in the last two weeks, according to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led attempt to expel Houthi rebels from Yemen for the last six years has led to Yemen becoming the site of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Roughly 80% of the population requires humanitarian aid, according to Human Rights Watch. Half of all Yemeni children are experiencing irreversible stunted growth, according to a 2019 report from The International Committee of The Red Cross.
The Saudi-led bombing campaign has been aided by the U.S., U.K and France.
“Now, what we’re seeing in Ukraine is absolutely the worst humanitarian crisis that Europe has seen in decades. But we haven’t witnessed the same type of solidarity for the Yemenis as we do for the Ukrainians,” Joy Reid continued.
NATO countries took the unprecedented step of cutting themselves off from Russian banks in recent days, and U.S. President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports this week. Even private companies across various industries from McDonald’s to AirBnB have severed ties with Russia. Yet, none of these actions have been taken to address the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.
Calling for equitable coverage of conflicts
Sharing clips of other journalists referring to Ukrainians as having blue eyes and blonde hair, Reid illustrated the implicit, and in some cases, explicit ways that reporters have revealed their biases in what’s worthy of media coverage.
Pointing out what many people have already expressed on social media, Joy Reid questioned whether the international reaction to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine would’ve been as profound if Russia had attacked a non-White non-Christian nation like it attacked Syria.
Crises remain in countries like Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country. For the past year, an ongoing civil war between the Ethiopian government and the rebel forces in the country’s Tigray region have resulted in more than 2 million people displaced and an increasing lack of food or other basic necessities.
Meanwhile, even as African and Asian refugees fleeing Ukraine report instances of racism and segregation from Ukrainian soldiers, the world’s support for Ukraine’s independence remains strong.
Rather than calling for less attention on the Russia / Ukraine, however, Joy Reid simply asked that her media colleagues give the same level of attention to conflicts and crises in other parts of the world.
“There is a lot of soul searching that we need to do in Western media about why some wars and lives seem to matter more than others, and why some refugees get the welcome mat while others get the wall,” Reid said.