How Europe’s last dictator is weaponizing refugees

Belarus’s president is weaponizing a refugee crisis AND what it means to “pass” as white.

Thousands of refugees are currently stuck in limbo on the border between Poland and Belarus, invited by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko when he announced that his state would no longer secure Belarus’s border with the European Union. The invitation was his way of retaliating against sanctions that the E.U. has enacted against Belarus for a number of reasons. But the power play has created a refugee crisis at the border — one that threatens to grow deadlier as temperatures drop in the forests between Belarus and Poland, Loveday Morris reports. Later in the show, we continue our Teens in America series with a story from 17-year-old Ichtaca Lira. Ichtaca has always been certain of their identity as a person of color. But when people on social media told them that they looked White, it sent them down a path of self-exploration: What does it mean to “pass” as White?  “Language has simply not evolved fast enough with the rate that these complex discussions about race are happening,” Ichtaca says. “We don’t have enough words to describe people of color who also just don’t feel like they fit into anything that’s out there right now.”This series is produced in collaboration with YR Media, a nonprofit media, music and technology incubator. For more stories in this series, visit