The ‘Gypsy Problem’
by Melany Williams, Bookseller at Barnes & Noble College on Apr 10, 2008
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The Roma (or Gypsy) minority have been considered a ‘problem’ since their arrival in Eastern Europe over 700 years ago. Communist regimes sought to ‘solve’ their ‘Gypsy problem’ using ...
The Roma (or Gypsy) minority have been considered a ‘problem’ since their arrival in Eastern Europe over 700 years ago. Communist regimes sought to ‘solve’ their ‘Gypsy problem’ using methods that varied in degrees of coerciveness. I have outlined Communist policies toward the Roma according to a three-line model of Communist systems. The results of Stalinist, Titoist, and Maoist policies towards the Roma are examined through comparison of the situations of the Roma in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. In the case of Romania, a fourth category, Ceausescuism, is added. Each type of Communist policy had a profound impact upon the economic and social well-being of the Roma. Many of the Communist ‘solutions’ contributed to the creation of a ‘Gypsy problem.’ Following the collapse of Communism, the situation of the Roma deteriorated due to economic difficulties, rising nationalism and ethnic hatred, low levels of Roma educational attainment, and a lack of political representation.
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