The case of Dumitru G. an excerpt from my book

22 Nov

My book is out –  http://www.amazon.com/We-are-Roma-Discrimination-Manifestos/dp/0857420380/ref=la_B00ABPJEXS_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385123705&sr=1-1

Here an excerpt

Mr Dumitru G. is a wealthy, successful Romanian businessman.

On September 4, 2008, he booked online a minivan. He paid using his VISA card, and the system issued a confirmation of the booking clearly stating him as the person that made the booking of the vehicle and his address in Romania.

On the September 5, 2008 Dumitru G. arrives at the Europcar office in Munchen Airport and asked to receive his car.

Miss Manske, who was on duty that day at the Europcar office, checked the booking and the payment. She finds no discrepancy with the booking, his ID and address.

She refuses to hand over the vehicle motivating that the company “cannot rent vehicles to Romanian citizens because they steal them and cross the border with them”. Following the subsequent discussions, Europcar’s position towards Romanian citizens is stated again, in presence of the airport police.

Mr Dumitru G has a dark complexion. Miss Manske thought that he looked Roma and according to her company policies Mr Dumitru was a high-risk customer.

Dumitru G. like many others Romanian Roma is fully integrated in the Romanian society. According to a private investigator research many of Romanian employees of successful businesses lead by Roma think the Roma owners build their fortune through theft and violence and is just since recently (before they started working for them) the Roma bosses became honest and hardworking.

For the last 30 years the main focus of anything done by the European Institutions, the UN and national governments has been education and employment of Roma.

A significant number (if not the majority) of Roma that are successfully integrated in their societies hide their ethnic roots as they do not fit the prevailing Roma stereotype – uneducated and unemployed. There are many similar cases as those of Dumitru G. – for these people the problem has nothing to do with education or employment but with racism (anti-Gypsyism). People as Dumitru G. can be the very much-needed positive role models for both the majorities and minorities and contribute significantly to the social inclusion of Roma within the European societies.

For the last three decades the European Institutions equated Roma with uneducated, unskilled, unemployed, poor and often criminal Roma mainly from ghettos and traditional Romani communities. This part of Roma population (that I call Frankenstein Roma) fits the negative stereotypes of the majority populations and was the main focus for European initiatives targeting the social inclusion of Roma. No European awareness campaigns ever targeted either the successfully integrated Roma or the even the much larger group of ethnically mixed Roma.

The selection of much needed highly educated Roma human resources is seriously hindered by the existing target group and leads to low quality leadership and representation which further pushes away the existing successfully integrated Roma elites.

Accordingly, the increase in the number of Roma declaring their ethnic identity is minimal and the number of those Roma who prefer to hide their ethnicity is still between 3 to 10 times bigger. The positive role models are largely missing and the social stigma continues to be perpetrated by the existing leadership.

Cases such as the case of Dumitru G. should signal an urgent need to reform the functional paradigm of the European Institutions.

Over two thirds of Roma[1] do not declare their ethnic identity fearing stigma and most of the professionally successful Roma prefer not to talk about their ethnic identity or hide it. Anti-Gypsyism remains strident and rife within the political elites of Europe as the opinion polls continue to prove year after year that Roma are by far the most hated ethnic group in Europe.


[1] According to the statistics of the Council of Europe

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