I don’t live with them; I don’t know them.

Ivana BroftovaSchool of Social StudiesUsti nad Labem
I’m curious about one thing: who are they? What nationality are they? Where did they come from?
There’s one Romany family in Vedomice where I live. I don’t see them very often. I occasionally see their four children. I don’t even know their names.
I think they try to look decent. The children go to school and are polite. They have a house that looks quite nice — though there’s mess around it. The garden is dirty, their dog runs wild, and the fence is broken. There are two or three cars parked in front of the house.
I don’t know what these people are like.
Perhaps they send their children to steal in shops.
But it might be the other way round: perhaps they encourage their children to study, to be hardworking, clean and so on.
I don’t know.
I don’t live with them; I don’t know them.___________________________________
A response from Anna Chvalova@centrum.cz
Ivana, your essay is interesting, and it seems you would like to get to know more about us. But your point of view is similar to the views of other Czechs.
It’s not your fault. The Communist government is to be blamed for that. They never spoke about us.
It’s true that we judge people by the way they look.
But we’ve been living here as long as the Czechs have.
You can get some information about us at www.romove.cz. I wish you pleasant reading.
We live here with you. Not only Roma, but also Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Slovaks, Germans…. And we can all learn from each other and enrich each other as well.

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