Are the media and families responsible for Czech youth intolerance toward Roma?

"The previously expected change in the ethnic climate, in young people's relation to Romanies, their rising openness, tolerance and peer solidarity have not come true," sociologist Ivan Gabal said about the poll results.

Elite grammar school students described coexistence with Romanies as difficult more often than apprentices and vocational school students, the daily continues. Not always did the respondents speak based on their direct experience. A half of them said the main source of information about Romanies is the media, family and friends. Only the other half said their assessment of the Romany problem ensued from their direct experience, LN writes.

Their position does "not primarily stem from their contact with Romanies. They make up their mind based on indirect experience," said Martin Simacek, head of the government agency for Romany integration.


Are the media and families responsible for Czech youth intolerance toward Roma?

Yes because... No because...

While media and each family have their share of blame, we should also blame the donors and Roma NGOs that have funded and implemented ineffective anti-bias programs.

The Czech NGO Člověk v tísni and the Millward Brown agency released the results of a survey last month. The survey indicated that Czech students' views today about Romani people “may be even more…rejecting and rigid than that of the adult population," Czech sociologist Ivan Gabal said. So discrimination or anti-Romani bias is actually increased from the older to younger generation.
Is it not time, then, to reflect on the unsuccessful methods of combating discrimination in the Czech Republic over the last several years, even decades, and to consider new tactics? Albert Einstein was the first to say that insanity should be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Blaming the media and Czech parents seems odd. Yes, they have their share of blame but let us remember that large sums of money and effort have gone to over 23 years of anti-racism programs in the CR and its predecessor state. If years of effort yields a worsening situation, should the work not change approach?

Yet the Czech governmental approach does not change, nor do Romani activists really want it to. Since 1999, money goes to performing arts and cultural programs like Khamoro, which has expanded from folk music to a variety show with no measurable (no measured, substantiated) impact on public attitudes toward Roma. It is a waste of money that does nothing to end segregated education, discrimination on the labor market, neo-Nazi violence or other major problems facing the Romani community. It does provide a few musicians and non-profit project managers (I wonder how many were Romani this year.) with short-term income but this should not be the purpose of government spending.

Donors who support Roma-related projects in the Czech Republic are lazy or perhaps do not believe that bias can be addressed. They fund project proposals that come without a well explained theory of change and plan for monitoring and evaluation (i.e. The main problem is X, activity Y will alleviate problem X, and indicators Z and A will be used to monitor progress toward the intended change.). Roma accept funds to do projects that we all know won't make a difference.

I wrote a very similar opinion in a group email. One musician of Romani-Czech extraction argued that we can show Czechs that Roma are capable of great thinking and culture by showing how well our people perform "high culture" music like jazz. If we could end racism by showing that Roma are good at jazz, racism would have ended in the 1930s. The Roma masses reap what the Roma NGO community sows. Let's stop selling the donors nonsense, even as they continue to pay for it and maybe even request it.

Debates > Are the media and families responsible for Czech youth intolerance toward Roma?