Worst social stigma in Romania
Worst social stigma in Romania (Romania - why) In August 29, 2002, Madalin Voicu, one of the most well known Romani politicians in Romania and one of two Romani representatives in the Romanian parliament, made the following statement:
Our gypsies are stupid. They could at least be crafty but they aren't. They are just primitives and they manage to irritate the entire society which is already watching them closely [...] They run through the country and Europe barefoot, slimy and dirty, wearing clothes which are more likely to disgust you than make you feel sorry for them [...] Begging, soliciting and being disorganized will never bring them any advantages.
Romanian media received his declaration almost ecstatically: it was quoted in most mainstream Romanian newspapers and was considered the political declaration of the week. In Romanian politics, Mr Voicu usually advocates the rights of Romania's Romani minority. Why would a member and representative of the Romani community make such a degrading public statement?
Romanian society harbours one of the worst cases of social stigma in Europe. The direct result is the reluctance and, in most cases, refusal of important public personalities of Romani origin to declare their membership or links to Romania's Romani minority. Important Romani members of the Romanian government, writers, professors, doctors, sports celebrities and singers refuse or avoid discussions targeting their origins, afraid of the likely consequences: exclusion from social life, scapegoating or the decline or end of their careers. Even the few Romani politicians elected to represent Romani communities often criticise or insult those communities, in an effort to distance themselves from ordinary Roma and to show the majority that they belong to "high society."