Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bi-racial children in the Ukraine - "Family Portrait in Black and White"


Spotted on Blackgermans
"Family Portrait in Black and White" is a compelling film of Russian/Canadian Filmmaker Julia Ivanova about a group of bi-racial/black orphans in the former Soviet republic Ukraine.

Forced to constantly defend themselves from racist neighbours and skinheads, these children have to be on guard against the world that surrounds them.

The film is still in production, but will have its World Premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival





Short synopsis: Olga Nenya, from a small Ukrainian town, is raising sixteen black orphans in a country of Slavic blue-eyed blonds. The reality of growing up as a bi-racial child in Eastern Europe, a rare and truly visible minority, is not for the faint of heart. While Olga is on a crusade to save her children from the unjust world, she is also determined to shape their future according to her own, sometimes limited vision.

Long synopsis: Olga Nenya has 27 children. Four of them, now adults, are her biological children; the other 23 are adopted or foster children. Of those 23, 16 are bi-racial. She calls them "my chocolates," and is raising them to be patriotic Ukrainians. Some residents of Sumy, Ukraine, consider Olga a saint, but many believe she is simply crazy.

An inheritance from the Soviet era, a stigma persists here against interracial relationships, and against children born as the result of romantic encounters between Ukrainian girls and exchange students from Africa. For more than a decade, Olga has been picking up the black babies left in Ukrainian orphanages and raising them together so that they may support and protect one another.

The filmmakers interview Neo-Nazis in Ukraine reveals the real dangers for a dark-skinned individual in the street. These white supremacist youth joke about their evening raids and how police seem to let them do it. Prosecutors are not particularly determined to give strict sentences to racially motivated crimes, and young thugs can get away with probation for beating someone nearly to death.

Olga sends her foster children to stay with host families in France and Italy in the summers and over Christmas, where they are cared for by charitable families who have committed to helping disadvantage Ukrainian youth since the Chernobyl disaster. Olga's kids now speak different languages, and the older girls chat in fluent Italian with each other even while cooking a vat of borscht. But Olga doesn't believe in international adoption and has refused to sign adoption papers from host families that wanted to adopt her kids.

"At least when the kids grow up, they'll have a mother to blame for all the failures that will happen in their lives," she says.

See more information about the film and mixed race at www.mixedracestudies.org

See official website of the film at www.familyportraitthefilm.com

And see film synopsis in pdf at www.interfilm.ca

34 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Most touching story. A woman with a beautiful soul.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an amazing story! You guys @ afro Europe continue to educate me on so much that i don't know about Black people all over the world. Thank you! Kevin

Afro-Europe said...

Anonymous 1, you are right. But it's sad to see that these kids have such irresponsible parents.

Anonymous 2, thanks!

Sarah said...

I'm glad that someone is providing for those kids however I truly wish that she would allow these children to be adopted out to other countries. By the sound of it; being of color and living in the Ukraine could be fatal compared to other regions of the world. Why risk these children's lives like that? I feel that if she truly loves them, then she'd let them be adopted out. It kind of seems like she has some sort of hoarding mentality. In a way she is being as oppressive as the neo nazis.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sarah. If she truly cares about these children she would let them have the opportunity to have loving families and grow up in a safe environment. I think it is selfish of her to condemn them to a life of danger and hostility in that racist place when these children could have the chance of a better life. No one wants them in the Ukraine but I'm sure there are many people in other countries who would love them.

Chico-rei said...

I think what she is doing is amazing. At least someone is caring for them, where would they be otherwise. No one wanted black people in the UK or anywhere in Europe but they got used to it. Ukraine will have to do the same, what is happening in the Ukraine used to happen in the UK after WW2, there were alot of black soliders who had children with women and then went back, alot of the mixed raced children were adopted out, and grew up confused because they were in carehomes, i would rather the kids be with this woman then grow in carehomes.

Anonymous said...

I have a question? How can people in the Ukraine have neo-nazi views.Hitler considered these people/Slavs to be more inferior than Blacks and more destructive than Jews.So, why
such ridiculous attitudes? Just curious?

Afro-Europe said...

Anonymous, there are even homegrown neo-Nazis in Israel.

Anonymous said...

To Afro-Europe:
Isreali-Nazis!! What's the world coming to.
That's absurd as if they were black kkk members.

Afro-Europe said...

Yes, you're right, it's absurd!

Anonymous said...

Black+ Russian =Beautiful

Anonymous said...

I watch this documentary with amazement Olga is set in her ways but she is doing the best she knows I think she can be selfish at the same time I feel that if she truly loves them, then she'd let them be adopted out.
I really felt sad for the little boy who was in the boarding school especially the way he was treated in the hospital!

Anonymous said...

Julia Ivanova this documentary was exceptional, I give it two thumbs up ! much better than these Hollywood movies that are always the same theme, I wish there was a way we could donate to these children, how would someone achieve this ?

Afro-Europe said...

Ano, interesting to hear you saw the documentary.

About your question, how you could donate to these children. The fast answer would be, contact Julia Ivanova at http://interfilm.ca/contact.htm.

But I know there is another answer. I will try to find that out.

jennifer said...

This film is beeing shown tonight in Vienna, Austria at the thishumanworld filmfestival http://www.thishumanworld.com/jart/prj3/thw/main.jart?rel=de&content-id=1320313395716&reserve-mode=active

Anonymous said...

WOW AFRICAN MEN ARE IRRESPONSIBLE EVERY WHERE LOL

poorlilme said...

Anonymous, why are you generalizing all African men? That's ignorant.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Israel for a while, and yes, there are serious racists there. It did come as a shock at first given what the Jews went through themselves, but I guess that racism is a thing I will always have to live with.

Growing up partly as a bi-racial child in a predominantly white enviroment has left it's scars. I was lucky insofar as my parents were married, and I went to live in Nigeria with them once they'd finished uni.

I have mixed feelings about the children being adopted out. On the one hand I want them to be, but on the other, why should they have to leave their own country?

This documentary was hard hitting for me.....

Anonymous said...

Irresponsible men are just that: IRRESPONSIBLE! Colour has nothing to do with it - after all, the orphanages in The Ukraine are full of white children. Where are their RESPONSIBLE fathers's eh?

Ignorant comment. Truly ignorant. Maybe laugh at your own stupid views???

Anonymous said...

He/she/it has gone to every link to spout the same garbage. Like black men are responsible for all the unwanted children in The ukraine. Irresponsible men are just that - colour aside.

You can learn to become responsible, but stupidity - that's harder to overcome; especially if it's genetic like in the case of that d'oh above poorlilme.

Anonymous said...

PS. By the way.... I'm the Anonymous one with common sense. The other one is probably related to the stuff you find floating on top of ponds. Lol.

The Nomad said...

Not to dissuade from her kind heart, but how much does she receive monetarily for looking after these 16 children? I mean I trust that she is doing the right thing. I'm just curious.

Anonymous said...

Donations from the people where the children spend their holidays. It's just another business.

Anonymous said...

Not to dispute your assertion too much, but most of the white Ukrainian children in orphanages are either disabled, or the children of addicted (alcohol/drugs) parents. It is rare for a child of an unaddicted mother to dump a white Ukrainian child in an orphanage. That does not seem to be the case with black Ukrainian children.

Afro-Europe said...

If you want to post an anonymous racist comment on this blog, just remember that you are on the internet. Which means that you're never anonymous. And certain comments on this blog are monitored and logged.

truth2011 said...

Sanza uses the N word too. I find that offensive that she uses the N word too.

Afro-Europe said...

Truth2011, this message is meant for the Eastern European extreme right wing racists, who have this post linked to their site. They are being monitered and not only by me. You don’t see the comments because I have removed them.

truth2011 said...

I saw the one from yesterday. It was racist and had the N word in it. Sanza's postings should be removed too because she uses the N word and she's African.

Ola said...

It would be interesting to have a site dedicated to the bi-racial Afro-Jewish communities. If there is one please post a link.

nazarii said...

I am a Ukrainian and yes my people are very racist. While I have sympathy for the unfortunate children of these unions, I have no sympathy for their white mothers who couldn't keep their legs closed.

You can't have Ukrainian culture and customs without white people. Ukrainians, unlike western Europeans, are proud of who we are and our heritage. You can't have a Ukrainian culture and customs without white people, so by shaming these women and their scandalous spawn, we maintain the integrity and unity of our country.

Rae Fue said...

Are you serious? There is no way you are serious with this comment!! Really, are you kidding me? I feel sorry for people that feel they have to think you.

Anonymous said...

There should be no black people in Ukraine. That's our land and we can decide if allow them or not. Most people don't like them, so they should go back to Africa. Period.
Westerns always think their opinion in the only right one. That's not the way it is. We're conservative & nationalistic in Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

There should be no white people in Africa, Australia, or America. That's our land and we can decide if allow them or not. Most people don't like them, so they should go back to Europe. Period.

ZParalyzer said...

Screw your chauvinist "conservative and nationalistic view". You don't speak for the your country just as I can't speak for the 300 million denizens of mine, a nation cannot have a homogenous and omnipresent paradigm. What are 25 or so black orphans going to do to your country? Procreate and dilute your Slavic culture? Nonsense, these are adopted children that happen to be non white, not a horde of mass immigration.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...