Racism in Romania

I know this has been covered before, but until you experience it first-hand, you really don’t get it. And, clearly I am scratching the surface of a deep problem and I am at best a novice on the topic of Romania…

A large percentage of people in Romanian–both native Romanians and ex-pats–openly make derogatory racist comments about gypsies on a daily–if not hourly–basis. The rampant racism towards the Roma people in Romania is shocking. And, it’s deep-rooted, everyday, casual, accepted, and intrinsic to Romanian culture. If I gently push back or raise questions like “so all gypsies cannot be trusted?”, I get a smile and a the look that says: “you soft, naive Americans with your high ideals, just wait until a gypsy rips you off, then you will know what I mean…” Again, I am unprepared for the level of social and intellectual ignorance that is everywhere, even among the educated and traveled. It’s frightening at a very deep level. At times, I feel like I am drowning.

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4 thoughts on “Racism in Romania

  1. You are very sick, man! You’re seeing only racism in Romania just because you adopted a couple of gypsyes. It is your problem,man. You are the racist, not the majority. And it is your problem to be cheated and offered two gypsyes instead of 2 romanians, when you obviously paid for 2 white kids.
    You’re just a scam bag white infatuated, and brainwashed stupid american who lost and spread lies about others.
    You’re a loser and a racist !

  2. @Romanian: Thank you for illustrating my point. I was worried that people might think I was exaggerating.

    Note that I have seen this type of reaction across the web when someone criticizes Romanians. Often it’s Romanian on Romanian. Each time, the cruelty, barbarism, and anger are stunning and scary. For the record, I would like to be proven wrong about my perspective and do not harbor any negative bias towards Romanians. On the contrary, my children and their birth family are Romanian and I have several dear friends who are Romanian, so if anything I am biased towards them. And, I am in love with the good in Romania, the history, the art, and the culture that once was (and is now returning).

    I should also point out that I believe that the problem of racism is not unique to Romanians–seems to me that it is a natural, primitive weak emotion of many humans–but, the openness and matter-of-factness of racism in Romania is what caused me to write about it.

  3. Note: I have received an amazing amount of angry comments from Romanians. Most of these accuse me of reading the wrong press, being a liberal, and talking without any experience in Romania. The first two may be true, but, I DO have experience in Romania.

    I have traveled the country, talked to lots of people, spent time in the slums of Bucharest with Roma families, and rubbed shoulders with the elite. I stand by my comments on racism. But, I do want to make it clear that I don’t intend to be judgmental of the People of Romania (even if racism disgusts me). I grew up on the East Coast of the US in the 60’s and 70’s, and witnessed rampant racism in my own family and country.

  4. Here’s a comment I received. I agree that she was booed for telling Romanians how to behave (even though I think it was brave of her and the right thing to do). It’s not ignorance since Roma racism is a serious and acute problem. And, I have actual experience in Romania (many trips) and based my post on real experiences (not liberal press).

    winterychibi has left a new comment on your post “Racism in Romania”:

    “Madonna was booed because she thinks she can go in someone’s country, not learn enough about the situation there and then tell people what they should be like. It must be easy to speak like that from behind a thick line of personal bodyguards, though. *rolls eyes*
    It’s sad that so many people shamelessly bask in such ignorance, really.

    I’m not saying anyone should be racist but, honestly, do your research before you start badmouthing a whole nation because you heard rumor has it that they are racist. Media is easily influenced by too many factors to count; get reliable sources.

    overall, I agree with Anonymous.”

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