They seldom stop to think

Author: Martina Hudecková
Location: Brno
Very few people know about the Tour of Tolerance. At least, as a member, that’s how I see it.
The week before Easter I went with the Tour to Havírov and Karviná in the Ostrava region, where the statistics say that there are the most racially motivated attacks.
I didn’t know what to expect. And we had only three people on our team: usually there are four.
In Havírov, we were well received: everything was OK, and there were no verbal attacks or heated debates.
But in Karviná it was very different.
We met in one of their vocational schools. First, it was really hard for a team of three to keep the attention of forty people. And for me, a Rom, it was really difficult to stay calm when I had to talk about racism with boys who openly declared themselves as backers of skinheads.
They didn’t realize that I was a Rom, so I could decide what attitude to adopt. On top of that, it was clear that they liked me: they were quite open about that.
But our talk about minorities took a sudden turn when I said that I was a Rom.
Their reaction was interesting and, actually a bit funny. One of them said, "If that’s so, I don’t want you anymore.” Another one joined in “Neither do I.”
So I got ready to face a stormy discussion. Surprisingly, though, they didn’t say anything else. And the rest of the discussion that day went as they always do.
Why did I write this? Because these “men” showed me once again that people who proclaim themselves members of the skinhead movement rarely think about why they are — and seldom stop to think about whether it is right to fight for the skinhead vision. But at least the guys I was talking with had a chance to see that we don’t always recognize the nationality of people we don’t know personally but just happen to see or meet somewhere.
My friend and colleague who also was a member of the team on that day would say: “Let’s be careful not to jump to conclusions. We’re not always right about people.”

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