These people turn up the volume

Author: Workshop V
Location: EastWest Institute – Prague
Eva BajgerovaRomany Advisor, Usti nad LabemLocal Project Coordinator, Stories Exchange Project
There are problems communicating with — I don’t want to say working-class: with socially weak Roms. They look at us as having become too assimilated. They call me a coconut. That is, that I look like a Rom, I’m dark but inside I really think like white people. So they call me a coconut.
I don’t mind if they’re critical of me – but I also make a point of telling them my criticisms.
White people are usually worried about being too openly critical of Roms. They beat around the bush to avoid being critical. They try to be diplomatic . But I can afford to be more direct.
Ivana SimikovaCounsellorDrom CenterBrno
The families in the houses organized by Drom are always complaining about noise. But when I go over there, each and every apartment is blasting a boom box – with different kinds of music. So they yell at one family for their cymbolons, but they all have these boom boxes blasting.
You know, when my neighbor blasts his boom box , I ring the bell and say, "Please stop it. “And he will. But these people turn the volume up. So you can’t really communicate with them.
Vera Dudi Kot’oTeacherOstrava
You find this kind of problem everywhere.At our Romany school we had a festival for our kids’ parents of our kids. We gave the parents tickets for free. Thetickets cost forty crowns apiece, but we gave them to parents for free. And some parents actually sold them to their friends fora hundred: tickets to theirchildren’s festival.
So we had a lot of Romany people coming who bought their tickets for a hundred and they actually started a fight, and the parents who came were angry. Then the parents who sold their tickets cameto school the day after and said “How come you had a fight?”And I said,”We had a fight because you sold our tickets for a hundred crowns to these weirdos, and they made a mess and the people who came to see their children were in a minority. And those nice parents who wanted to see their children, bad luck.”
Since then we can’t have festivals at school. Our headmaster says no more festivals.
John W. ErwinProject DirectorThe Stories Exchange Project
I’m glad we’re talking about this, about there being educated, active and well-disposed people in and around the Romany community – the people who aresitting at this table, for instance – and the people you’re trying to help.
Let’s go farther with this.

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