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Brown English II HG 23 November 2009 The Roma People: A Study in Discrimination
Anyone who has learned about American history has at least heard of the Jim Crow
Laws, and the overwhelming degree of racial discrimination that took place in America, even through the mid-twentieth century. Moreover, almost anyone who has heard of these things will agree that they are utterly appalling, and that they designate a shameful stain on our nation’s past. Were such a situation ever to arise again, most Americans would be quite upset and rather ashamed, and would work extremely hard to counter it. However, unbeknownst to many Americans, there is a very similar situation going on in the world right now. This situation is found in the profound discrimination that is being exercised towards the Roma people throughout Eastern Europe. This discrimination is shown very prominently in the educational policies exercised towards the Roma in multiple Eastern European countries. These measures of educational segregation and discrimination are considered by many to be extremely unjust, for a number of reasons. On this basis, many Roma and Roma supporters have tried tenaciously to rectify the situation. At a first glance, it may seem like these efforts have been futile and unsuccessful, but in reality, a good deal of progress has been made, and there is a clear trend of improvement that can only continue. The Roma people are a sad case, as they have been discriminated against for years. As early as the 18th century, Roma were forced to leave Austria by the Empress Maria Theresa. Two
as many people do at some point or another. such as the Czech Republic. the Roma children make up almost 80 percent of the population of special schools. such as a 2002 suit that was filed against a Bulgarian coffee shop for refusing to serve Roma. are segregated between Whites and Roma. a young girl from the Czech city Ostrava. and ridiculed by her classmates solely on the basis of her race. they became an often overlooked victim of the Holocaust. which states that citizens of national minority groups have the right to be educated in a minority language. and many Roma children face the same fate. Furthermore. An example of this is an article from Time Magazine. but Eastern European governments end up sending a large number of mentally able Roma children to special needs schools. This violates Slovakia’s 1992 Constitution. Then. when she began to fall behind in school. although Roma are recognized as a national minority in Slovakia. not only are the schools segregated.Hatcher 2 centuries later. such as Slovakia. and there are cases of discrimination in Bulgaria as well. Beyond this. yet almost all of them live in utmost poverty. in some regions of Slovakia. with unemployment rates reaching over 90 percent in many Roma settlements. Roma also live in poverty in Hungary. Also. and they are often the objects of prejudice and race-related violence. she was ostracized. but the situation is also very prominent in other countries. which tells of Nikol Pechova. she was sent to a special needs school. most of the school’s in many European countries. Nowadays. Nikol’s story is actually very common. the Roma people make up almost 10 percent of Slovakia’s population. When she entered school. All of these facts apply to the situation in Slovakia. . only four secondary schools in the country offer classes in the Romani language.
the Czech Republic. things are slowly getting better. However. For instance. Slovakia. Slovakia is a member of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. and that is a trend that can only continue. Hungary. all of the arguments against the situation may appear to have been unsuccessful. and that it violates the legal backings previously described.” Additionally. The adoption of this defense is a milestone development in activism against this discrimination. the discrimination is still happening.S. For instance. Board of Education. and may very well prove to be a major contributor to the success of the movement. . At first glance. notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: . or national or ethnic origin. .Hatcher 3 With all of these facts.S. States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone. Activists working against Roma discrimination are using the same argument: that the segregation taking place is discriminatory. legislation prohibiting racial discrimination. which states “In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention. and are working very hard to fix it. These are both strong legal backings to the arguments against the discriminations. Another. more recent argument that activists are adopting is one based on the U. it is very clear why many Romani rights activists are deeply upset by the situation. and that it therefore violates U. and Bulgaria are all members of the European Union (EU). to equality before the law. case of Brown v. and it is still very prominent. This case ruled that racial segregation is of a discriminatory nature. After all. colour. without distinction as to race. (v) The right to education and training. These activists have many strong arguments on their side. . and the EU Race Equality Directive prohibits racial discrimination regarding education and training.
things can only continue to get better. an increasingly large number of initiatives are attempting to counter this cruel practice. and we must hope. .Hatcher 4 in 2007. who managed to overcome discrimination. and progress is definitely being made. In a more personal context. an international initiative called the Decade of Roma Inclusion. for the sake of the Roma people. and provides advocates to the cause. However. Yet another initiative. To conclude. an article from the Christian Science Monitor tells of Romani student Elvis Hajdar. Such reform proved successful in twentieth-century America. With all of this progress being made. it is clear that horrible discrimination is being exercised against the Roma people in Eastern Europe. For instance. discriminated against the Roma people. the Roma Education Fund. that it will prove successful in this case as well. Additionally. and is now studying computer programming at Macedonia’s state university. provides funding to desegregation efforts. and the situation may soon become much better than it is now. and the arguments against segregation becoming increasingly strong and wellformulated. the European Court of Human Rights formally recognized that the Czech Republic had. in fact. involving nine Central and Eastern European governments aims to integrate Roma and desegregate education during the timeframe of 2005-2015. some Roma students are now managing to overcome the hardships working against them. especially in the context of education.
2009 .com/srcx/infomark. "Roma in Eastern Europe: The Wall in the Czech Republic. 2 (Feb 2008): 77(2). Gale. Czech Republic). David M. Student Resource Center . Otto. Pohl. Ed. the European Court of Human Rights produces its own version of Brown v. Vol.do? &contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=SRC-1&docId=EJ230900102 1&source=gale&userGroupName=miamidade&version=1.0>. Miami-Dade County Public High Schools. Amnesty International USA. 2001.(D." History Behind the Headlines: The Origins of Conflicts Worldwide. 2009 <http:// find. 2000): 24+. v.(Europe). Gale Group.do?&contentSet=IACDocuments&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=SRC-1&docId=A175287492&source= gale&srcprod=SRCG&userGroupName=miamidade&version=1.php? lang=e&id=ENGEUR720052007>. Gale. 8 November 2009 <http://www.galegroup. 2009 <http://find.Gold. Board of Education.H. 8 Nov.com/srcx/infomark. 8 Nov. 30.Gold. 2006: Crowe. Student Resource Center . Miami-Dade County Public High Schools. "Desegregating Europe: in a much-anticipated decision. "Gypsies Gain a Legal Tool in Rights Fight ". Miami-Dade 1.Hatcher 5 Works Cited "Slovakia: Roma children and the right to education Factsheet". Detroit: County Public High Schools. Gale. Goldhaber. Meghan Appel O'Meara. 1 (July 10. "Second-Class Kids: Romas in the Czech Republic go to court alleging bias against them in the school system. The New York Times May 7. 156.Gold." Time International.galegroup. Student Resource Center . Michael D.amnestyusa. 8 Nov.0>." American Lawyer.org/document.
Russinov. <http:// europa. 2009. Student Resource Center . Brown Foundation. 44.com/srcx/ infomark. Web.org/english/law/cerd. European Countries.Background Summary.htm>. 2009." Christian Science Monitor 13 Apr 2004: n. Board of Education .Hatcher 6 <http://find.do?&contentSet=IACDocuments&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=SRC-1&docId=A173423310&source= gale&srcprod=SRCG&userGroupName=miamidade&version=1. Excellence and Research. 5.0>. 2004." Map.htm>.0>. Web.galegroup. Rumyan. 22 Nov. 3 (Sept 2007): 34(2).p. "Equal opportunity in education: eliminating discrimination against Roma. 8 Nov. <http://brownvboard.org/summary/>.com/srcx/infomark. "European Countries. MiamiDade County Public High Schools. I. Pt. . Gale. Art. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination." UN Chronicle.do?&contentSet=IACDocuments&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=SRC-1&docId=A67972829&source=g ale&srcprod=SRCG&userGroupName=miamidade&version=1. Richard Mertens. 11 Apr. "Brown vs. SIRS Renaissance. 22 Nov. 08 November 2009.ohchr.Gold. "Young Roma Overcome Hardships and Head to College. European Union.galegroup. <http://www2. 2009 <http://find." Brown versus Board of Education / Brown Foundation for Educational Equity.eu/abc/european_countries/index_en. Web.
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