March 15th, 2011

romani

look, i am in a real field now!

This is exciting! Finally, a dedicated conference! I guess I better write an abstract soon!

Call for Papers:
PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY

Inaugural Conference in Romani Studies
University of California-Berkeley
November 10th, 2011

In preparation for the inaugural Romani Studies Conference at the
University of California, Berkeley this November, we seek papers
within the burgeoning field of Romani Studies. By examining and
exploring the various strategies by which Roma have represented
themselves and others, both in dialogue with and apart from the larger
societies in which they live, the Inaugural Conference in Romani
Studies seeks to support the continued development of this
rapidly-growing field. We seek new studies of the uses of Romani
images in non-Roma cultures, contemporary social and political issues
facing Romani communities across the globe, and Roma-related research
in the fields of literature, film studies, religious studies, genocide
studies, art history, anthropology, history, sociology, linguistics,
and political science, among many others.

This conference is supported by University of California, Berkeley's
Institute for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies in
partnership with the Institute for European Studies through an
initiative of the Jewish Studies Program. The conference’s keynote
speaker will be Dr. Ian Hancock, Director of the Program in Romani
Studies and the Romani Archives and Documentation Center at the
University of Texas, Austin.
romani

(no subject)

Dear A & E,

Friday, March 11, 2011, the repeat episode of Criminal
Minds titled Bloodlines ran on A&E network.

The story of this episode tells how a family of Gypsies kidnaps two
young girls, age ten, wanting to make one of them the bride of their
son. The Gypsies slice the throats of parents, and we learn through
the investigation that the boy was forced to kill one of the parents
while his father gave him instructions. This is considered a 'rite of
passage' from boyhood to manhood. Later, the boy is being taught by
his parents how to steal from a dummy that has bells hanging from it
and the audience is informed by the "expert detectives" that this is
the test of the seven bells, a method Gypsies use to teach their
children to pick pockets. While the boy is practicing, the first girl
kidnapped has a seizure. The father decides to murder her. His wife
reminds him that they do not kill little girls. As the show
continues, the "expert detectives" explain that "a lot of Romani make
their living as petty thieves" as well as other statements based off
racist and stereotypical beliefs. In the end, it is revealed that
there are numerous Gypsy families living in the United States,
murdering parents and kidnapping their daughters. The final scene in
the show depicts yet another ten year old boy and his parents
preparing to murder yet another set of parents and kidnap their daughter.

As this episode aired, a demonstration by white supremists began in
Novy Bydzov in the Czech Republic. This demonstration was prompted by
a Czech mayor who claims "They (the Romani) are roaming the town,
being a nuisance, stealing and raping. During the time a decent
citizen works, gypsies lazily sit on park benches in the square,
happily chatting."- Prague Daily Monitor, November 26, 2010.

The conditions of the Roma in the Czech Republic are appalling.
Forced sterilizations have been in place from the 1970s until as late
as 2007. Romani children are placed in schools for the mentally
handicapped, even if they score well on tests. The Romani have sued
and won the right to be educated in the public school system in the
Czech Republic, yet they have yet to be allowed to set foot inside a
regular classroom. Elsewhere in European Union, the Romani are being
fingerprinted and photographed in Italy, a direct violation of the
human rights regulations set down by the UN. The last time this
happened, Hitler was in power and the Romani were sent to the gas
chambers. Romani are being deported from France, Italy, Germany, with
England soon to follow, even though these people have been living in
these countries for over ten years.

Forced sterilizations, the denial of education, the denial of work,
being fingerprinted and photographed, these actions are obscene to
the American way of thinking, and yet, we don't mind, because Gypsies
really are dirt, after all, that is how they are portrayed on TV.

Contrary to the comments made on the show, most Romani do not steal.
I will not deny that some Romani do steal, but can you name a race
whose members have never committed a crime? Romani children are not
'born to steal' nor do parents teach their children to do so. The
bell man is a creation of author Victor Hugo for his novel "The
Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Romani children in Europe are denied an education to help themselves
out of poverty. Parents do not steal brides for their sons and they
do not kidnap children. The show claims that the Gypsies in the US
have gotten away with murder and kidnapping because they are nomadic,
yet 85 90% of the world Romani population are settled. But more
importantly, the crime of murder is considered not only heinous to
the Romani, but a crime of such evil that those who commit it are put
out from the society.

European politicians villianize and scapegoat the Romani, claiming
they are to blame for high crime rates, poor economic conditions, and
most social ills. Yet they refuse to follow through with the European
Union's plan for Romani inclusion and ignore the EU's regulations
regarding the treatment of minorities within the EU's borders. By
using such tactics, the politicians in Europe guaranty the continued
persecution, discrimination, and murder of the Romani for years to come.

Your mission statement for your company makes the following claims to
your work environment.

We believe that our programs, products and services are only as
good as the people who create them. Because of this, we have a
commitment to high ethical values and to creating a workplace where
employees are encouraged to strive for professional excellence. The
diversity of our workforce plays an increasingly important role in
meeting this commitment. Diversity extends beyond race, color, creed
or sexual orientation. Diversity is that combination of traits and
characteristics that makes each of us unique individuals and what
brings us together to achieve our goals. Diversity is about respect,
openness, innovation, and knowledge. It's what we practice in our business.

I ask you now to uphold that which you claim to embrace. I am not
asking you to cancel the show, only to pull that episode. It promotes
racism and the stereotypes that keep the Romani in both the United
States and Europe in perpetual poverty and persecution.

Do the right thing, A&E.