When Nationalism Defeats Racism

Ukraine is celebrating the National Vyshyvanka Day. Vyshyvanka is Ukraine’s famous embroidery that you can see on the men’s shirts and vests in the photo. Every region has its own vyshyvanka type, and there are coded messages in the embroidery, so it’s like a language of its own.

Today, everybody is posting the photos from the massive vyshyvanka marches in every region of Ukraine. I’ve seen this particular photo on a couple of resources, and I’m happy to report that there wasn’t a single racist comment under it. All of the comments are in the vein of “I’m so proud of our boys!” and “I always said our region had the best vyshyvankas.”

Five years ago it would have been very different. There would be racist comments, stupid jokes, and all kinds of dumb assholery. But as a result of the revolution and then the war, there’s been a nationalist awakening. And now people feel such gratitude towards anybody who embraces the Ukrainian culture that it erases racist feelings.

Vicious and unapologetic racism is the most intolerable and disgusting aspect of my culture, so this is big. And it makes me happy that the Ukrainian revolution has led to a sudden interest in anti-racist discourse, in feminist thought, in attempts to address homophobia. Even if for the most part it’s done to differentiate oneself from Russians, it’s still good. Who cares why it happens as long as it does?

If you are not from my culture, I don’t even know how to explain how big this is.

9 thoughts on “When Nationalism Defeats Racism”

  1. A similar type of picture in Poland would get some dumb racists comments…. from ME!!! (just kidding, but I have a reputation to maintain with Stringer). More seriously there would be some asshattery but not massive amounts (but this is a place where even sob stories about old ladies being evicted will bring out a few nasty comments along the lines of ‘it’s her own fault, dumb old lady thinks she doesn’t need to pay her bills!’)

    As you point out, Ukraine’s ongoing transformation is largely based on disassociating itself from Russia which is at present heavily regressive (bad for Russians, good for Ukrainians)

    The ongoing Polish transformation came from a very different place and there wasn’t much pressure or incentive for incorporating cosmopolitan progressive ideals (and there’s still not) the bad part is that it’s slow but the good part means that it’s more organic when it does happen.

    In other news, there’s a very good chance that I will be going to Ukraine (for a conference) in late September (nowhere your hometown, northeast of Lviv).


    1. “some dumb racists comments…. from ME”

      Yeah, your reputation is intact. In the Israel Palestine thread you posted a link to a blog that you found ‘interesting’. That its posts have ‘Jews’ as a tag didn’t seem to deter you.


      This is some Protocols of the Elders of Zion stuff, boy. I’m so shocked that you’d be drawn towards it.


      1. http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-no-show-of-jews-in-dance-music.html

        “Dancing is a group activity that bonds members together, giving music a key role in creating and maintaining a sense of community. Contemporary pop music that sets the stage for carefree dancing is an attempt to preserve those traditional roles of music.

        Thus, the relative absence of Jews in dance music is part of their broader hesitation as culture-makers to create a more cohesive group-iness among their host population. ”

        lol. When Brietbart’s too mellow for one’s tastes.


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