Roma anti-gypsyism stereotypes
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Counil of Europe Thomas Hammerberg provides a thorough explanation of anti-Roma stereotypes in his report 'Human rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe' (2012):
Anti-Gypsyism, as specific expression of biases, prejudices and stereotypes that motivate the everyday behaviour of many members of majority groups towards the members of Roma and Traveller communities, is deeply rooted in Europe. Many Europeans who have never interacted with Roma or Travellers volunteer detailed, stereotypical descriptions of Roma or Traveller appearance and behavior as a result of having absorbed this general cultural understanding.
Anti-Gypsy stereotypes that are prevalent throughout Europe – such as the idea that Roma or Travellers are disproportionately reliant on welfare, or are the exclusive perpetrators of various kinds of crimes – pose significant obstacles to overcoming negative attitudes towards these persons.
Anti-Gypsy stereotypes also continue to be spread and perpetuated in the media across Europe. A number of journals and broadcast media have been reporting on Roma and Travellers only in the context of social problems and crime. Anti-Gypsyism is reflected in the use of stigmatising anti-Roma rhetoric in public, notably political and media, discourse.
The widespread lack of knowledge of Roma history and culture, both amongst the general public and at the political level, including the lack of recognition of Roma as victims of genocide during the Second World War, further fuels anti-Gypsyism across Europe. This passive denial is often manifested in silence about Roma victims at commemorations and memorials, in media coverage, or in official history and textbooks.
Public leaders and opinion bodies – both elected officials and others – have openly defamed Roma and Travellers using racist or stigmatising rhetoric. In some cases, these words have been understood as encouraging violent action against the Roma, such as mob violence and pogroms.
Here follows an example of a self-conifrmed sterotype and myth about Roma minority's own resposnibility in segregation and precarious living conditions from Greece:
From the RAXEN report Housing Conditions of Roma in Greece. Vicious Circles & Consolidated Myths:
The vicious circle of socio-spatial segregation and the consolidated myth of Roma responsibility
The persistence of extreme socio-spatial segregation of Roma and its underlying causes has resulted in acute social exclusion. The spatial segregation of habitats is a pattern closely connected to their socio-economic exclusion which leads them to seek and find unoccupied and isolated areas in order to set up temporary or longterm encampments with makeshift shacks. At the same time, the lack of basic access of most unregulated encampments to public utilities seems to be the result and justification of the Roma’s socio-spatial segregation. In this way, the consequences of their marginalisation become the reasons – and legitimising arguments – for their perennial segregation and exclusion in a persistent vicious circle of stereotyping, state inertia and local hostility.
The Roma minority lack cultural capital and have limited resources for dealing with complex situations in housing; in some cases, dealing with the authorities leads them unable to benefit even from a generous loan programme like in the Greek case. It is like giving a sports car to a person while he does not even possess a driving license. This is true, given their lack of acquaintance with the real estate market and the frauds they suffer as a result, and also, given the affordability problems they face once they own a house. They soon realise that they cannot afford to maintain the house, and consequently move to an adjacent shack built right next door on their own land.
In this way, the myth of Roma responsibility for their own precarious situation is consolidated.
The Internet is increasingly used as a platform for both expression of anti-Gypsyism and the organisation of groups that promote it. In an increasing number of European countries, extremist groups explicitly target Roma and Travellers, in some cases galvanising segments of the public against these persons. Such extremist groups are increasingly active on the Internet, a medium which has allowed for enhanced crossborder co-operation among likeminded groups with extremist outlooks. These groups are active in recruiting youths through a variety of techniques, including the organisation of hate music concerts. Vigilante and paramilitary groups often wear uniforms, use weapons and have been increasingly tightening their net around Roma by using verbal and physical threats and carrying out massive protests. Members of these extremist groups have been found to be at the source of a number of hate crimes targeting Roma.