Before we get in to how you can help hunt for those evil Romanians in the UK, we’d like to share some interesting information with you regarding racism, hatred, ignorance and beyond. Hopefully, we’ll succeed in making some connections to the issue at hand; a potentially renewed hatred towards Romanians due to the fallout (or possibly unintended consequences) of the new series on Channel 4; “The Romanians Are Coming”.
To start things off on a lighter note, let’s talk about Black people. Particularly, blacks in America. Here’s a quick story, via Skype, from one of our contributing writers, Dennis:
For those that have read my profile, you’ve probably seen that I’m from New York. New York is the city of diversity – cultural and otherwise. I, myself, fall within the “minority” category. Not only am I an immigrant, but I am also a Jeeewwww. I therefore reserve the right to judge others (because of my minority status, not because I’m Jewish). New Yorkers, in general (screw all of you New Yorkers that want to take the high ground and argue with me) are racist. Well, for that matter we’re all “racist”, but that’s a story for another day. But while racism may seem to slant towards “skin color” or “religion” that doesn’t always have to be the case. Let me describe what I mean. Decades and decades ago, in a land far, far away (let’s say post-segregated US), Asians began moving into the US (so sorry for the lack of a segue here). They moved into NYC in droves. NYC was (and still is) the unofficial capital of the developed world – the land of opportunity (cough cough). This is why a lot of them came here. Oh yeah, did I mention there were a number of grants and funding opportunities ripe for the pickin’ by demographics such as this? Being that this is NYC, it carries the unique trait of being ludicrously expensive.
By comparison, if you think a taxi in Bucharest is expensive, then fuck you.
SO, having just emigrated to the US (some legal, some illegally), the Asians took what little money they had and moved to what would be considered the most “affordable” area(s). Coincidentally (not by design like some of you may think) these areas were almost exclusively occupied by blacks. The reason for this was indeed due to racism. In the US, sad to say, if your skin was (and this is still going on today) black then your economic opportunities were, shall we say, “limited”. Now, it’s also necessary to say that in the US, and likely for many other cites around the world, when a township reaches a tipping point – in that it becomes predominantly one “race” of people (again to use that term loosely) then it’s really hard to turn it around in a different direction. The US loves to scream that they’re the “kings of integration” but the truth is that they’re not. They’re the “kings of conditional acceptance”. So, where was I… right. The Asians. They came into the city and moved into the lower income areas and guess what they did? Well, they opened businesses! They opened delicatessens, dry cleaners, pawn shops, hardware stores, used appliance stores, clothing boutiques, mini-marts, you name it, they probably opened it. It took anywhere from three to five years on average for these businesses to become profitable – profitable enough that these Asians could start to bring more and more of their family and friends over to repeat the cycle. Do you see where this is going yet? Let me continue. The blacks in these areas hated this (again, I am saying blacks because the area was almost 100% black – other than the Asians. If you prefer I can substitute black with another color to make you feel better.?.? or I could use something slightly more p.c. but still equally stomach turning). They hated this because for the longest time, (maybe an unintended consequence of the civil rights movement) many blacks were taking extreme advantage of social welfare programs (before yous guys get all defensive, obviously people from all walks of life were abusing these programs too) – programs that were in place to help people that really needed it. These people used their “blackness” as a tool to get a free ride. Yes, I did say that they were held down economically, but let’s be clear – that does not give you the right to sit back, put your shoes on the desk, and “check out” altogether, collecting your winnings. Let’s leave that job to the Native Americans (which we call Indians).
By the way – a quick footnote – you know that guy Rev. Al Sharpton?? Well, he actually is (allegedly) “paid-off” by large companies so he WON’T file civil suits against them for “racist” issues. In my town we call that protection money. But I digress…
So, every minute of every day, the blacks would pass up and down the street seeing “proof” that a minority group could indeed “make it” in one of the most cut-throat cities in the free world. Now, all of a sudden (or as Hemingway put it, gradually at first, then all of a sudden), the Asians were proving these blacks wrong. Being a minority is not a legitimate excuse any longer. Sorry. What happened next, was rather unexpected for many. Windows were shattered, buildings were burned, people we hurt – the Asian community went through some rather tough times. “Thuggishness” took hold, and a micro-socio-economic war ensued. What effect did this have on the rest of the US? Well, for one, it solidified the belief in many peoples’ minds that blackness is the root of all evil.
So why do I tell you this? What possible connection could this have to the context of this article you’re writing?
Well here’s my thought; When you asked me my thoughts on this new tv show, and the seemingly never ending hatred by the English towards the Romanians, it made me think of this story. People inherently make extreme disconnects in their mind between reality and perceived reality. They’ll take minuscule “examples” of something – small but powerful scenarios, and let that shape their entire belief system. Just like the blacks versus Asians created a perception, as does the “Romanians” versus the English versus the rest of the World. I put Romanians in quotes, because the issue here is actually adding another layer – the misunderstanding that gypsies are Romanians and so on. Here’s what it looks like on paper simplified:
• Crimes are committed in the UK and in some cases the perpetrators are defined as “gypsies”.
• The media latches on to this, and makes a connection between gypsies and immigrants – in preparation of course to take a stand against immigration
• As gypsies can be from anywhere, someone must “rectify” this problem by clearly identifying where they’re from and how they can be “stopped”
• Coincidentally, Romania has some gypsies. Romanians are also emigrating to the UK. Oh, then it’s obvious. All gypsies are Romanian.
• Therefore, in order to protect our way of life, and to ensure our safety, we must take a stand against Romanians.
Well, there it is in a nutshell. Over simplified? Yes, but you get the point. Not for nothing, but allowing the actions of a small group of people to dictate the personal beliefs and motivations of an entire group/race/religion/color… is not only ridiculous, but ignorant, asinine, and absolutely not something that’ll make this World a better place – at least not the World that I fought for. Now, [Bucharest Expat] I believe you can take it from here and fill in the missing pieces, and clarify racism versus observation and reality.
Just like with the characters in the story above, it’s very easy to make generalisations that cause harm to all, and convey ignorance of the parties guilty of labeling. A few points on this. Are all black people bad? Umm no. Duh. Was it only blacks inciting violence in this story? Again, no. surely mob mentality took over at some point, and many “joined in the fun”. The same can be said for Gypsies (Romanians – again a problem here because people are making gypsy and Romanian synonymous when they are not), is it all of the gypsies committing crimes or causing problems? No of course not.
Suppose for a minute that in the US, a riot ensues in downtown Los Angeles. Do they run to close the border between the US and Mexico? Of course not – the implications within that statement are ludicrous and everyone (hopefully) can see that.
In England, if a Scotsman robs a liquor store and shoots the clerk, will England push to close its’ doors to Scotland? Probably not. People have a brain. They know that the actions of a few do not represent the actions of the many.
Like in the US, any one or group of people that suffers from a very distinct set of personality traits and socio-economic circumstances may become a problem to society. Anyone from any demographic can commit a crime or become an ill-contributor to society. The inverse is also true. Anyone from any demographic can also be of a great benefit to society. The problem arises when the media gets involved. Fear mongering combined with political posturing and class/race/religious “warfare” almost always ensue. People have just become so blinded by the fact that they’re essentially driven by unrealistic factors – collective mindlessness of society – that misplaced rage begets dis-proportionate action to the created situation.
Let’s discuss race and labels for a moment – diverging on a slight tangent…
In Dennis’ story, he references “blacks”, not African Americans. Why? because color is an obvious “identifiable” feature. It may not be the “politically correct” identifiable feature as he states, we’d have to go around identifying people by their socio-economic surroundings and personal upbringing and experiences. Sure, we could do that, but as human beings, we default to easier methods of “recognition”. Prior to this Skype call we actually had a funny conversation about this subject. One of our other team members at Bucharest Expat was in the Paris airport on a layover and had this comment to make: Many of us are aware of the diversity of the workforce at the CDG airport. But sure enough, an American coupled wandered up behind me ad set out loud “good god, there are so many African-Americans working here – good for them”. How brutally appalling this sentence is, and it’s a direct result (again) of this “political correctness” when it comes to race. In the US and the UK, among other countries, it’s frowned upon now to point out the obvious differences of someone – simple identifying features. We now have to “label” them. As a result, many people get dumped into a category in which they don’t belong. In the CDG Airport, these African-Americans consisted of people from nearly every country around the world – most having never been to the US. Not very American is it.
It’s okay to say someone is black. It’s okay to say someone is Gypsy. What is not okay is to do this in a derogatory context. What is not okay is to try to be politically correct by creating and utilising “broad” categories that try not to “offend” anyone or try to “hide” any perception of racism. That IS racism.
It seems to be that this is about where the English stand with Romania today. Gypsies have been erroneously identified as the sole cause of crime and a platform upon which to rest all immigration concerns into the UK. In an attempt to lend credibility to their cause, they’ve gone for the politically correct angle of declaring Gypsies as Romanians (well, first they decided the term gypsy was a bit controversial, so they decided to call them “Roma”. Well, Roma is close to Romania – it sounds similar, so, yeah, therefore Gypsies = Romanians. It all adds up well enough right? Wrong. Wrong, and more wrong.
We actually considered releasing a list of “statistics” here that proved that all gypsies are not Romanians and that being Romanian is not the same as being a gypsy. But, we figured that if we have to do that then in addition to typing more, we’d be preaching to the wrong crowd – for if you need proof of this fact then you have no business reading this article to begin with and should go on about your pathetic existence as a superior human being.
There is another interesting point to make here. Some of you may have noticed that there are a few people from Moldova in Romania. A good number of these Moldovans (from the Country not the region… Moldavians?), probably with their new-found love of what Romania has to offer, refer to themselves when asked as “Romanian”. In a lot of instances, this specific group of people have only actually been in Romania for days, weeks, or months. They say they’re Romanian because they prefer to claim Romania as their heritage. Fine. Nothing wrong with that. Now let’s assume for the moment that someone in the UK (an immigrant – that’s clear) commits a crime or causes a raucous. This person may be a gypsy, or they may not be a gypsy (ahem… Roma). The police intervene, and inquire as to who this person is and where they’re from. Low and behold, the person says “I’m from Romania”. Well, now they’ve just gone and opened a hug can of worms. It’s time to break out the good ol’ dictionary again, and have a look at the definitions for Gypsy, Roma, Romani, and be damn certain you don’t decide to add those one or two extra letters on the end or Romani.
Now, in closing, and to address our opening paragraph:
There’s a new show in the UK that clearly contains a connotation of negativity towards Romanians. You’ve probably already read about it through some regurgitated news stories already. It is called “The Romanians Are Coming”, on Channel 4. We’ll say that one more time, just for the sake of getting picked up in Google so the creators can feel free to read this article along with the rest of the developed world – the show about Gypsies emigrating to and living in the United Kingdom is called “The Romanians Are Coming”. Check it out, its’ on Channel 4. It highlights what they say are the good and bad Romanians. Gypsies, I mean, Romanians.. wait.. Gypsies… crap. You get the idea. It seems fair and balanced enough.
We hope that after reading this article, although your blood may have boiled at some points, cooled at others, you see the bigger picture. We’re trying to make Romania a better place, and we’re trying to share with the world all the positivity that Romania and Romanians have to offer the rest of the world. For those of you reading this that are specifically in the UK, and find yourselves turning your noses up at the sound of “Romania” (you know who you are) then why not take a moment to Google “important Romanians” and learn a little about how your life would suck pretty bad without the Romanian influence. Why not get on a plane and come here your self what can be found in this Country – stop letting the media tell you what to think. If you feel as though you know everything you need to know, then stay in the UK and keep hunting for those evil Romanians.