In a lot of situations we are not aware how full of prejudices, stereotypes we are, we think that there are no taboos in our society and as soon as we notice one, how do we react?
We live in a multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious society. Regular people especially those who live in mixed ethnical environments showed that they can live with each other. At least in the majority of cases. However in a lot of situations we are not even aware how full of prejudices and stereotypes we are, we think that there are no taboos in our society and as soon as we notice one, which one is our reaction? Are we broadminded or do we have limits? A lot of questions to consider, aren’t they? But there is nothing simpler and more sincere than to ask ourselves what do we think of each other and how well do know each other. Is the appearance, place of living, clothing defining us? So this time we asked non-Roma what is the first thing they think of when Roma are mentioned?
” When I hear the word Roma the first thing I think of is that they are musical people, joyful, people who live day after day, and people who have a lot of children”, considers Viktor (36) from Shtip.
His co-citizen Viktorija (32) has a slightly different perception. Here’s what she thinks:
“I can divide Roma into two categories. The first who are civilized, hard – working, well – mannered and accept all the negative critics about them and lately interested in education. But there is another category of Roma who do not accept critics, don’t want to adjust to the environment and are very aggressive towards other people. That’s way you can’t mark every Rome like the ones in the second category”.
Unlike citizens of Shtip accidental citizens of Skopje we met had completely opposite opinion on which association they give for Roma people?
“Association of beggars. Starting from those on the Stone Bridge and also the new ones who walk from door to door with a child in their hands”, this is what Andrijana M. (32) from Skopje says.
We asked her why does she think that way and how come that she had so much prejudices?
“I say this because it is a thing I meet on a everyday basis. And I don’t think that is a prejudice, but a real occurrence for which not only Roma are guilty but the society”, said Andrijana.
Bojan D. (30) also from Skopje admits that he has prejudices towards Roma. Here’s his opinion:
“It is generally known that those are people from the bottom of the society who live in the poorest parts of the cities. They are cheap workers, mostly illiterate and exactly because of their illiteracy, which lasts for years, they cannot create conditions for better life. But lately there is part of them who managed to create special social status to adjust to the social customs, to gain social culture and material goods”.
EDNO: How did you get so much prejudices, are you aware that you have prejudices towards Roma people?
“Yes I have prejudices. They were attached to me from when I was growing-up and will need a long time to eradicate them. And I think that Roma themselves with their behavior and lifestyle contribute to that kind of opinions. At the beginning of the pluralism of Macedonian society, when the Political party for emancipation of Roma was formed I thought that things are finally going to go better. However Roma politicians instead of directing towards improving the situation of their people, accepted the general trend for chasing positions and closeness with the Government in order to fulfill personal interests. In those kinds of conditions the emancipation of Roma will have to wait”, considers Bojan.
Citizens of Prilep, on the other hand, are very liberal in the opinions, or the ones who we asked seemed like no dividing people according to their nationality. But according to neighboring, friendly, school relations.
For Maja Roma are the same as other people and she has no special opinion about them.
“Roma people are very good people. They are talented for everything. In Prilep Roma are the only citizens who are people, unlike the non-Roma who emigrated from the neighboring villages” says Goran.
“Until 15 years ago we, non-Roma had bad opinion about Roma, that they were not educated, that they are the only beggars, that they are the only ones who steal and so on. But all those opinions changed because we saw that Roma people can be educated, integrated in society and that it isn’t them who steal, and it isn’t only them who beg”.