by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, April 13, 2022
U.S. liberals are the worst perpetrators of Russophobic behavior. They are most likely to follow the dictates of corporate media and the democratic party and proudly take part in discriminatory acts. But foolish bans of anything Russian are just the most visible indication that war propaganda is at the root of the hysteria.
The city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts prohibit discrimination based upon race, color, gender, disability, religion, and national origin. Such discrimination is prohibited by most cities, states, and the federal government as well. But one wouldn’t know that due to a plethora of discriminatory acts carried out against Russian nationals. The latest perpetrator is the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) , which announced that citizens of Russia and Belarus who reside in those countries will be barred from participating in the Boston marathon taking place on April 18, 2022. The war in Ukraine, years of Russiagate hysteria, and corporate media demonization of Vladimir Putin and all Russians have led to this moment of dubious distinction.
The weaknesses of what passes for a left wing movement have been fully exposed ever since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Of course many people who are called leftists and even those who consider themselves as such are in fact just liberals. They do not stand against imperialism as any leftist ought to do. The eight-year long U.S./NATO scheme to use Ukraine as a weapon against Russia should be universally condemned by anyone claiming to be in that cohort. Leftists can have principled disagreement about Putin’s decision, but they should not ignore the culpability of the U.S. and NATO and their support for the 2014 coup which overturned an election and put neo-Nazi groups in power.
Their confusion on Russia and Ukraine is emblematic of their confusion about so many other issues. The faux left are a highly problematic group, making common cause with the democratic party wing of the war party, and ignoring the war crimes committed by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Joe Biden. Not only do they fail to ask, “What about?,” but they have no critique of the U.S. role which instigated this crisis. They say nothing about the U.S. and its NATO allies refusing to engage in negotiations which might end the suffering of the Ukrainian people they claim to care about so much.
So deep is the rot that they say nothing about increasingly blatant and bizarre examples of Russophobia. Russian cats cannot enter international cat shows, a Russian singer was fired from the Metropolitan Opera when she refused to denounce her government, an orchestra canceled a festival featuring the music of Russian composer Tchaikovsky, and a tribute to space exploration removed the name of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin from the program.
It is tempting to snicker about the denial of recognition to Russian cats, but the lack of opposition to the Boston marathon action is shameful indeed. People who see themselves as enlightened, and even intellectually and morally superior to others are silent in the face of an obviously unfair and illegal act.
The BAA is typical of U.S. elite organizations. It makes a big show of proving itself diverse and equitable by establishing a Boston Runners Collaborative whose mission is “… expanding access to running and walking in Boston with a focus on communities of color.” The outreach was in part motivated by the murder of Ahmaud Arbery , whose memory is not certainly not honored by phony shows of racial solidarity. So the BAA used the cold blooded murder of a Black man to jump on a superficial liberal bandwagon and illegally banned people who live in a country their government is telling them to hate.
Of course the BAA is not alone. Politicians, pundits and corporate media all tell us to “stand with Ukraine” and to call Putin a war criminal. American presidents are never connected to war crimes, even when they invade Iraq and kill thousands of people, destroy Libya and kill thousands of people, or enact sanctions and steal government assets that kill thousands of people. The war criminal category is only deemed appropriate for leaders the U.S. doesn’t like.
U.S. liberal elites are as much in the thrall of the dictates of their leadership as the members of January 6th mob who attacked the capital. Their critical thinking skills are practically non-existent, or they go along to get along, or silence themselves due to cowardice. The end result is much worse than a Russian missing a race.
The blue and yellow flags and whipping up of hysteria have a very important and dangerous aim. The goal of the propagandists is to get the country in the mood for war. When the slippery slope gets steeper and the public are convinced that the use of “tactical nukes” or other such nonsense is acceptable, the entire world will be at risk.
Perhaps the plight of Russian and Belarusian athletes isn’t viewed as an important human rights issue. Of course world leaders do much worse to millions more people. But every acceptance of what may seem to be a minor slight can lead to major implications. Liberalism itself is a great danger. The censoring of left voices in media and the conscious effort to disappear all but the state narrative are liberal led efforts and lead to dehumanizing whomever the president and his friends in corporate media may choose to target.
So let the Russians run. Acquiescing to this misguided effort will lead to greater dangers in the future.
Margaret Kimberley’s column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. Her work can also be found at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com