Roma myth of self-segregation
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.