While much concern has rightfully been expressed for Ukrainian civilians suffering as a result of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, many have noted that the level of concern expressed for Ukrainians exceeds that expressed for civilians, particularly non-white civilians, who die in other conflicts. This paper attempts to offer an explanation of the disparate concern Westerners have for civilians who die in different wars abroad. I consider two attempts to explain the disparate concern in terms of racism; first a more interpersonal understanding of racism as racist animus, and then a more structural explanation in terms of ‘white ignorance’. I ultimately argue that trying to understand the disparate concern evinced for different civilian causalities primarily in terms of racism is mistaken, and that an adequate explanation of Western attitudes must be grounded on an account of imperialist interests.
- Department of Politics
- University Center for Human Values