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Social pattern of Roma – non-Roma relations based on the in-depth interviews and opinion survey realized in Razgrad region (Bulgaria) Ilona Tomova, Lubomir.

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Presentation on theme: "Social pattern of Roma – non-Roma relations based on the in-depth interviews and opinion survey realized in Razgrad region (Bulgaria) Ilona Tomova, Lubomir."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social pattern of Roma – non-Roma relations based on the in-depth interviews and opinion survey realized in Razgrad region (Bulgaria) Ilona Tomova, Lubomir Stoytchev, Stoyanka Cherkezova IPHS, BAS

2 Regional context Rich ethnic diversity: largest ethnic group - Bulgarian Turks; second – Bulgarians, third - Roma people; Experts’ estimates: more than three fourths of the Roma are not likely to identify themselves as Roma; Low employment rates (49%, ), impoverishment, mass emigration and shrink of population (37 % between 1988 and 2011), “working poor” phenomena; High unemployment rate among Roma, but similar or better financial situation in comparison to the rest; About 20 % of Roma people are poor.

3 Survey results… Ethnic relations have been brought to normal and eased: “heterogeneity is something good because it leads to cultural richness” Ethnic relations issues are sidestepped by social justice issues: ◦ “reform that never happened” ◦ “laws are different for the rich and the poor”; ◦ “government does not act in favour of the majority but on behalf of the affluent and those in power; ◦ “bribes, corruption and nepotism are widespread…”; ◦ “social rights of citizens are substantially restricted and not protected by the state”.

4 Social Image of the Ro ma different perspectives no major social-economic inequality in terms of ethnicity explain traits of the Roma groups in their district: “their Roma” are diligent, responsible and clean Interviewed experts: local administration and police officers social statuses of the ethnic groups in Razgrad district are different Interviewed NGO activists and the Roma traditional stereotypes and prejudices towards the Roma disseminated by media and politicians negative representations about them Project survey results

5 Generalised Social Image of the Roma survey results Positive Statements about Roma people: "contribute to the cultural diversity and richness in our country"; "give us a good example when it comes to taking care of elderly parents"; "provide us the opportunity to prove that we are a tolerant society"; "teach us how to value not only the economic aspects of life but also the social ones" "we can be proud that the Roma people prefer to live in our country" Negative Statements about Roma people : ” create a negative image about our country”; ”are not attached to our national identity”; ”are a personification of the lack of development ”; ”if there were no Roma people in the country, racism would not have been a problem” "I feel ashamed because there are Roma people in our country" Average proportion of agreed: 36.3% Average proportion of agreed: 42.3%

6 Natural Creatures or a Group with Specific Culture?  Generalised image of the Roma in Razgrad - more positive than last several years and compared to national level;  Respondents are more likely to address Roma people using “natural” than “cultural” traits; 4/5 of the respondents ascribe “naturally positive” traits: musical, free-spirited, spontaneous, intuitive handsome 4/5 – “naturally negative attributions: noisy, impulsive, instinctive, aggressive, wild rude 3/4 - culturally negative traits: dishonest, revengeful, manipulative, malicious shrewish 3/5 - culturally positive traits: communicative, preserving their self-identity, solidarity, smart creative

7 Roma Stereotypes About 2/3 of the respondents expressed agreement with the prejudices: the governmental officials let Roma people avoid responsibility for violations and breaches Bulgarians who live in villages are victims of thefts and violent offences committed by Roma a substantial proportion of Roma are careless parents to a very high degree Roma people create insecurity in the public space through thefts, mendicancy, fraud and vandalism Roma embezzle social payments funds at the expense of the elderly, the disabled, the children and the single parent families Roma are not law-abiding citizens and because of that they are dangerous for society How to explain the positive experts’ statements about Roma in Razgrad? The role of media and politicians - hate-speech covers other social problems.

8 Social Distances towards the Roma hypothetical symbolic relationships in which Roma people and respondents had equal social roles eat in a restaurant right next to Roma people, to become/stay friends with them, to sit right next to a person of Roma ancestry in a public transport, to have Roma people living in their street, to be served by a Roma waiter/waitress in a restaurant to share an office/work place with Roma people between 1/4 and 1/3 of the respondents reject the option to: very close relationships (to have a child of yours married to a Roma; to have a roommate of Roma ancestry) 2/3 of the respondents reject to have:

9 Social Distances towards the Roma hypothetical hierarchical symbolic relationships with the respondents to have a Roma music/dancing instructor, Roma officers in the army, a Roma person to teach the respondent’s child at school, a neighbourhood police officer of Roma ancestry, a Roma person to become a judge, Between 1/4 to 2/5 of the respondents rejected: a Roma person to become a mayor, a Roma person to become a minister of Roma ancestry in the government respondent to report to a manager of Roma ancestry About 50% of the respondents rejected:

10 Social Distances towards the Roma Some Conclusions and Hypothesis Hypothesis that ◦ Roma people in the district of Razgrad are better integrated than the average Roma person in the country ◦ the social distances towards the Roma in the district of Razgrad when it comes to a hierarchical position are shorter than those in the country Explanations: ◦ Tradition in hiring Roma as professionals (doctors, nurses, accountants, social workers, assistant-teachers, policeman etc) ◦ the proportion of Roma who graduated from college/university and take superior positions has increased BUT The majority prefers to identify the highly educated and qualified Roma people as Bulgarians and Turks, or at least not as “typical Roma” 50% of the respondents agreed with statements like: ◦ “when I think about Roma people I feel them very different from me”; ◦ “Roma people cannot be trusted or relied on”; ◦ Roma are a threat to culture, social peace or the national security

11 Open and Latent Racism Transition towards the new forms of “modern racism” is undergoing in Bulgaria 2/3 of the respondents agreed with statements which disclosed latent racism: “Roma people do not care about the education of their children“; "are less likely to pursue self- perfection“; "are less interested in politics“; "care less about the welfare of our country “; "are less interested in environmental issues" 1/3 agreed to some extent with openly racist statements: it is hard to imagine that I can have a Roma person as a close friend", "Roma people are parasites", "they should be made live like the rest of the people" "schools should have quota limiting the acceptance of more Roma children than it is admissible

12 Does People Justify Their Racism as Something “Natural”? 2/3 are likely to find the reason for that in the “deficits” of the Roma themselves: “they like the way they live” and “do not care whether the rest of the people like them “ The proportion of those who become aware that Roma people are badly treated, has surged up (50 % of respondents) Respondents admit that traits which are intrinsic to a small part of the group are being unjustly ascribed to the whole community Between 1/2 and 2/3 reckon that the police officers, employers and media often execute humiliating and unequal treatment It is doubtable that this type of treatment is realised and interpreted as discrimination by respondents Half of the them share the opinion imposed by media and particular politicians: "Roma people in this country are privileged"

13 Attitude towards the Roma Integration Policies Respondents better realise the necessity of a more resolute implementation of Roma integration policies 2/3 of the respondents: “more political will and social actions are necessary” by: ◦ social programmes for employment; ◦ special educational programmes ◦ more decision-making posts/positions ◦ ¾ expressed an opinion that Roma people should have their own representatives in the National Assembly Policies that passively support the Roma via social payments or extended antidiscrimination legislation are not accepted

14 Thank you for your attention!

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