How should the Roma be integrated in Romania using the principles of WEB DuBois and/or Booker T. Washington?

29 09 2012

Roma people: every Romanian person seems to have his very own passionate or passive-aggressive opinion about them. Every Romanian citizen will bring forth examples of their own experiences with them, and the endless ways these Roma People have wronged them and how they, as a whole race, are inferior to the whole gloriousness that Romanian nation presents in its current state. Roma people are the black hole we throw every complaint into: the blame for the situation in the country, our position in the world, the credibility, the economy, the condition of the city, etc. The question is: does this reputation come as a discriminatory legacy or is there a ring of truth to it? And if there is, and if their reputation if it’s true, how can we fix this situation?

  On one hand, Roma people have just the same rights that every other Romania citizen has, so there’s no civil rights to be demanded on their behalf. However, what makes them disrespected by Romanian people is their lack of willingness to do anything. Their contempt and lack of motivation to improve their living condition and to fight for this country, to leave something good for the future generations is one of the characteristics most of Romania people will mention when describing their dislike towards them. They simply live in this country; they do not belong to it, and not because of some social barriers created on no grounds, but rather on the self imposed state of social exile that was part of their national heritage since the beginning of time. Roma people have a history of freedom and social disadvantage for a long time: society did not accept them for they had no desire to be chained to anything or anyone, including homes, jobs or money: They did not have to fight for their freedom, because their view on ‘freedom’ was different that the view of others, meaning that they did not need the society to be content with it, for freedom was their life. This lifestyle has latter been a reason of irrational torture, especially during the Holocaust, which made their development even slower and harder, even impossible in some cases.

This leads to the other side of the argument: does the right to do a thing include within itself the circumstances to do so? Will the right to get free education and right to vote provide people with the push from behind to do so? We can see that it doesn’t necessarily. In Roma communities, girls raised in miserable conditions and treatment get impregnated at an early age, and any sort of escape seems too brave and naïve to consider. The right to create a future is just a bitter joke that Roma people have chased laughing at, and Romanians have never found funny to begin with. Born with the idea that no bright future awaits them, Roma people find no motivation in trying to communicate properly with the white folk. Why earn the respect of someone living a parallel life, unbothered by the daily struggles a Roma has to deal with? Romanians look at them and see bugs crawling in mud, but they do not realize that they DO crawl towards something far, far away, and that the reason they are slipping down and making to progress is because the ground that supports them is unstable and hostile and unlikely to help their cause in anyway.

So, under the circumstances, what shall one do? Is it a question for each individual to consider, or for a whole ethnicity to decide? Honestly, the approach to this issue need to be a slow but persistent one: slowly and patiently both races need to approach a stage, a compromise equally good for both sides, so that in the end they will support each other and make the country a better place, for nothing makes a country more unstable than a struggle within itself. Romanians need to acknowledge the skills Roma people have and can master under the right conditions, and Roma people need to work harder to grow themselves into their potential, their very own best. That’s why Booker T. Washington was right: the road is hard and the weather is difficult, but creating a new path to the destination might not be the right decision, for more loss the walkers will bear when walking on unknown, forestry roads, unprepared for the physical involvement of it all than those who gain power by walking and not stopping on the road which leads precisely to where they want to arrive and are supposed to be, to belong.