Perception on the Roma Minority in the Romanian Society. From Serfdom to Emancipation
Although 165 years have passed since the Roma community was liberated by law, prejudices and hostility towards it have not been fully eradicated, perhaps precisely because throughout history stereotypes and negative perceptions of the Roma have remained deeply rooted in the collective consciousness, being transmitted from one generation to another in Romanian society. The racial concept of “gypsy delinquency and crime” that has emerged and circulated since the time of slavery continues to be perpetuated as the main justification for anti-Roma racism, although the Roma ethnic group has lived with the majority population for centuries, its members considering themselves both Roma and Romanians who fought in the two wars for the defence of the country. Discourses on tolerance and acceptance risk to fall into the trap of positive discrimination because the collective mind is in fact the one that must understand and respect the values of the cohabiting minorities. Much remains to be done for the integration of Roma at the legislative level, as well as at the level of perceptions, mentalities and thinking patterns of a society, which cannot evolve without tolerance and acceptance of ethnic and cultural diversity.
Keywords: slavery, manumission, Roma ethnicity, minorities’ rights, diversity, traditions, discrimination, stereotypes, policies, strategies, international recommendations
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