Commentary: Czech philosopher Daniel Kroupa has crossed the line, or: What is racism?
Even a master carpenter can injure himself, and that has just happened to the philosopher Daniel Kroupa in his commentary for Czech Radio entitled "Carefully against Racism." In an otherwise good exploration of current issues, he has committed a foul, most likely due to little knowledge of his subject matter.
Kroupa has written, among other things, the following: "I dare say that the vast majority of our [i.e., Czech] people are not bothered if their neighbors are of Romani origin, but are bothered if those neighbors behave in the way they see them behaving during visits or in the television footage from the so-called excluded localities inhabited by Romani people. They are not, therefore, bothered by race, but by unacceptable, callous behavior that sparks an aversion which may be exaggerated, but is understandable - and which is not racism, but could easily become racism if some zealots mistake it for racism."
Kroupa should not have "dared" in this direction. I have been involved with this issue for 30 years as a journalist, a publicist, and a member of the nonprofit organization ROMEA, so I dare say that I know something more about this than he does.
While the expression "majority society" may be frequently used - which in and of itself excludes minorities - in reality we live in one society, together. Also, nobody doubts that there are some Romani individuals whom nobody wants as neighbors here - not even their fellow Roma.
I have heard, more than once, from local Romani residents in excluded localities (where people actually do live in social exclusion) that they don't want to live next door to this or that family, or next to Romani people who have just relocated into the locality. However, those were judgments about specific individuals - and in exactly such a way, many Czechs and Roma would also not want to live next door to some individual "gadje" [non-Roma] because of their lifestyles.
This is clear. However, most of the time, among whites in the Czech Republic who don't want Romani neighbors, what I have encountered is pure racism.
The reason these non-Roma reject Roma is, first and foremost, the fact that they are Romani. I have actually heard many expressions like "cikáni to the gas chambers", "bury them alive", "burn them out", "black swine", "colas", "hoses", "brownCzechs", etc. from these supposed "non-racists".
In addition, naturally, there are also Czech people who have allowed themselves to be influenced by a single example of Romani behavior they experienced during a visit, or who are being manipulated by the clamorous anti-Romani campaigns in the media here. Among them are people who actually are not racists, just as there are racists among them for whom the anti-Romani media campaign, or the example experienced during a visit, have merely confirmed what they already believed.
I dare say, therefore, on the basis of my many years of experience, that most of those who do not want to live next door to Romani people in the Czech Republic are racists. The very fact that they generalize from the behavior of some individuals to all Roma as a whole is proof of that.
It is dangerous to describe this aversion in the way that Kroupa now has, because by doing so, he is relativizing racism. I do greatly appreciate him for what he has done in the past, he has written a great deal that is brave and useful - but, he also should know that the kind of audacity he has attempted must be filtered through a deeper knowledge of this issue, not just on the basis of one's own feelings and impressions.
- Commentary: Romani actors should boycott Czech cop show over antigypsyist content
- Commentary: CNN Prima begins its Czech-language broadcasting with stereotypes about Romani people
- Commentary: Which Czech media outlets can we take seriously?
- Commentary: Time for a European Union Army
- Commentary by Czech MEP Zdechovský: Roma need work, not welfare!
- Commentary: Czech Interior Ministry is realizing ultra-nationalist politician is becoming a monster
- Commentary: Czech President spouts reassuring nonsense to ultra-nationalists
- Commentary: Truth vs. oligarchy, populism and xenophobia
- Commentary: Czech ultra-right politicians singing in harmony, and Russia likes it
- Commentary: Is the Czech PM just a liar, or is he also paranoid?
- Commentary: Czech Republic, Slovakia must compensate the victims of forced sterilization while they are still alive
- Commentary: Czech Social Democrats have to choose between democracy and racism
- Commentary: Four years for terrorism is a mockery - and others should have been tried
- Commentary: Actual risk now exists that deniers of the Holocaust of the Roma could join the Czech Government
- Commentary: Roma Pride and listening to each other
- Slovak census: More than 156 000 people declared Romani nationality, more than 100 000 declared Romanes as their mother tongue
- Editors at Slovak news server apologize for anti-Romani, racist joke, but legislator is filing a complaint
- Czech census sees 65 % rise in number of people declaring Romani nationality
- Czech lower house to review Govt agreement with expansion of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, which advises on racism and other matters
- Community spread of Omicron reported from socially excluded locality in the Czech Republic
- Welfare recipients in the Czech Republic who default on fines for serious misdemeanors could lose part of their housing or subsistence benefits
- Czech martial arts organization Oktagon MMA bans contestant because of Hitler tattoo
- Czech regions combat COVID-19 disinformation in socially excluded localities as hospitalizations soar
- Czech court hands down suspended sentence for racist commentary on article about children's deaths and confiscates the computer used
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights finds police officers made significant errors in the controversial arrest of Stanislav Tomáš
- Greece: Romani girl caught in sliding doors dies due to shocking indifference of bystanders, her family sees it as racism
- Jarmila Balážová: Petr Uhl stood up for Romani people many times