It’s Prague Gypsy week

Or to be far more accurate, World Roma Festival. This is the same week Lidové Noviny had a notice that the recently published book Psychologie Romů (The Roma psychology), which among other things claims that Roma have smaller brains than non-Roma, is under police investigation for racism. And Týden in an article on Czech likes and dislikes (for inexplicable reasons illustrated with two semi-nude girls) quoted a 2001 STEM poll
“Who would you consider as problem free neighbours?” with the following results:
Slovaks: 90%
French: 71%
Americans: 64%
Jews: 57%
Czechs*: 48%
Germans: 48%
Russians: 22%
Vietnamese: 15%
Roma: 9%
Big city Czech were more neighbourly, while communists were more hostile.
* The Czechs weren’t Czechs in general, but from re-immigrants from the Czech minority in Ukraine, and seemingly just as bad as Germans and five times as likely to be troublesome as Slovaks, the Czechs’ favourite neighbours.

Strikingly, but not surprisingly, only 1 in 11 would be untroubled with Roma neighbours. Czechs have always topped anti-Roma sentiments in all European polls (though neither Czechs nor Hungarians have much anti-Semitism; unlike the Poles and Slovaks). I believe the figures hide huge regional differences, that the sentiments in Prague neighbourhoods like Žižkov or Harfa are much more relaxed than you would find in Northern Czechia.

On another tack, the Roma were to blame for the Bohemian reputation of Bohemia (which is the English name for the Czech part of the Czech Republic, the non-Czech Czechs are Moravians or even Silesian, though most Silesians are Polish). When the Roma arrived in France, they were believed to come from Bohemia, and they were believed to be free-moving spirits, and not like most Czechs farmers staying very much put. Then the name Bohemia itself is a result of migration. The Romans named the Celtic tribe that used to live here the Boii. The Celts have long passed away, but the name remained even when the Slav and German tribes entered the scene.
The French were not the only ones that were confused, the English believed them to come from Egypt, thus Gypsy, and the Roma themselves believed they came from Romania, where most Roma live, thus Roma. Current, and better founded, orthodoxy pegs them as refugees from India. Maybe they more appropriately should be called Indian, a name that has never confused anyone before.

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  1. Anonymous writes:”Maybe they more appropriately should be called Indian, a name that has never confused anyone before.” LOL! :)))))))))


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