25 October 2013

Not Being Trusted

The story this week about the little Roma girl in Greece has been fascinating to watch.  If only I'd posted about it earlier this week, I could have said I told you so today because the story is playing out in the most logical and expected way, even if the media loved creating more sinister motives and dredging up old stereotypes.

It is very unfortunate that so many jumped to the conclusion that the Roma family from Greek had kidnapped the blond little girl, or that they were part of some sex trafficking ring, or whatever.  It's awfully difficult to think that racism wasn't involved in some way.  The parents' story made sense from the beginning, and, like I said, was logical, but no, we had to come up with all sorts of crazy explanations. 

This all doesn't mean that this story is over, or that everything is okay.  But there are larger problems we should be paying attention to.  What are we doing to help Roma families with many children who are living in desperate circumstances like the family from Bulgaria? Why do Roma families avoid state legal systems and what can we do to give them better access to legal protection?  Of course there are many people already working on these problems, but the reporting this week was so sensational that we couldn't even get to these questions.

And they're really difficult questions to deal with.  Any group who feels marginalized legally, socially, religiously, or whatever isn't going to trust the system.  It's been so clearly shown this week that Rom aren't trusted, so why should they trust anyone else?

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