Racism in Russia

Discussion in 'Russian Society' started by Moscow Exile, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    So an attack against Russia on the grounds of racism has been launched today in a lengthy Moscow Times article about a black American trainee ballerina at the Bolshoi who claims she has suffered from discrimination.

    To provide proof of racial discrimination against the Detroit born dancer, the author of the article: U.S. Ballerina Faces Discrimination at Bolshoi Academy, uses such anecdotal statements as:

    "The instructor stops in front of one ballerina, Precious Adams, an 18-year-old American from Detroit. 'What are you doing here?' the instructor asks curtly, then tells her to leave the audition room"

    and uncorroborated claims such as:

    "Adams has been left out of performances because of the color of her skin"

    and:

    "'Some of the teachers know in the back of their minds that it is unfair, because they know that I can do what these other people are doing just as good if not better than them'"

    and:

    "... her dark skin has singled her out and prevented her from being cast in roles, particularly in group pieces".


    There is no hint of a suggestion from the writer, though, that the American dancer might just not be that good enough yet for selection for the chorus. It's patently obvious to both the dancer and the MT journalist that the black ballerina is suffering racial discrimination at the hands of those despicable Russians.

    To cap it all, the ballerina in question is reported as saying that she "has grown accustomed to the casual racism of Russian society. She does not go out alone at night, she has gotten used to the stares from passersby, and her headphones silence remarks from people on the metro".

    Now I've noticed in recent years a steady increase of Negros in Moscow. There's a house full of them in the next street to where I live, all dancers at a Cuban nightclub here, and there's a house full of black African diplomats and their families near to my local metro station. Furthermore, everyday I pass dozens of Negros handing out leaflets and ads at metro station entrances throughout the city. The mornings are dark now (sunrise is now at about 9 o'clock), and the evenings are rapidly growing darker as the winter solstice rapidly approaches. The black students - for that is what I presume they are - do not leave their distribution post because of the dark. And I often travel in metro carriages in which Negroes are present. I have never ever heard the local Orcs muttering racist abuse at them, nor have I seen them staring at black people.

    Now I'm not saying that there are no racists in Russia or that no instances of racist assault take place here, but I still have the feeling that this story is somehow - what should I say? - manufactured.

    But what of the civilized world, one may ask: how do black ballet dancers fare in the West?

    According to a Guardian article of 4 September 2012:

    "Junor Souza is one of only two black dancers (out of 64) at English National Ballet, both of them male. 'Most of the time ballet dancers are white', he says. 'It's disappointing, and it makes me sad. Usually, when I go to see ballet, there is no one dark on stage.' Nor is this dramatic imbalance limited to the UK: the picture is poor worldwide. Russia's elite Bolshoi Ballet has no black dancers in its company of 218; there are very few black dancers at any of the major US and British companies. The Royal Ballet has four – three men and one woman – in a company of 96. At the Central School of Ballet, which trains many future ballet stars, there are four black dancers in a student body of 110."

    See: Where are the black ballet dancers?

    Why has nothing been done about this shocking discrimination in London, of all places, that "vibrant", multi-ethnic community so beloved by all Britons?

    Well, in the USA, in the arts at least, they "embrace diversity" ... don't they?

    Not according to this article, "Building Diversity in Ballet", they don't:

    "... in America, with the exception of a few male dancers, our ballet companies remain unrelievedly white. In reviews, blogs and at the Dance/USA conference that coincided with the June 2010 series, the question again resounded, 'Where are the black swans?'”

    Another case of don't do as we do, do as we say?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  2. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    From the bits quoted, the article looks very flimsy. However, there is (or was when I was living there) a serious problem of violent skinheads in Russia. I'd think that's a much more serious issue than being stared at by strangers.

    As long as they're not being actually discriminated against on grounds unrelated to artistic ability, who cares?
  3. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Just... wow.

    In other news, there are no whites in a Japanese kabuki theater.
    Reggie Kabaeva likes this.
  4. owenpolley

    owenpolley Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    The FT recently ran this feature on the supposed growth of nationalism in Russia. I thought that, as articles of this type go, it certainly wasn't the most sensationalist that I've read.

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