She took the picture from me

Author: Lucie Conková
Location: Usti nad Labem
Unfortunately I don’t know Denisaês last name. She is a student at the Faculty of Social Studies in Prague. I met her when she was doing her practical training in Maticní Street in Ustí.
"I will tell you a story that happened to me when I was a little girl. It is about how I first met a Romany kid. Remembering it, I can understand why majority kids behave to their Romany counterparts as they do.
I was in the first grade and we had our music class with the class next door. Our teacher told us to hold hands with the other kids.
Suddenly, there was a girl standing next to me who looked very different to me. She seemed dark and maybe even dirty. I did not want to hold hands with her, and she just stood there staring at me.
Finally the teacher had to step in. She ordered me to take the girl’s hand and explained to me that I should not behave that way. How would I feel if somebody did something like that to me?
At home, my parents explained to me what I had done. And the following day I wanted to apologize to the girl. I was very sorry for all that, and I made a little painting of a princess for her.
I waited for the girl outside the school and I gave her the picture. I remember I was really ashamed for my behavior. She took the picture from me and smiled back.”
I often remember Denisa’s story, and I’m surprised again and again at how much cruelty even small kids are capable of without actually being aware of it. In my opinion, that’s where all the problems are rooted. I think that this first contact of the Romany kids with their majority peers is very problematic and very important.

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