To battle racism, Roma scale Europe’s ivory tower

May 5, 2015 by

Even in the vaunted halls of higher learning, Europe’s Roma minority is subject to flagrant prejudices. Now activists are trying to equip them to fight back via graduate-level education.

The accusation – that Roma mothers willingly accept evaluation of their children as mentally disabled so that they can reap social benefits – was not unusual. Indeed, it’s hardly the worst claim made about the Roma, Europe’s most marginalized minority. Similarly racist claims can be heard on any street corner across the continent.

What made it particularly frustrating for Jelena Jovanovic, a Roma woman from Serbia, was not what it said, but where she encountered it: in a Serbian academic journal.

Ms. Jovanovic says that this type of cultural racism, that fails to analyze poverty or structural discrimination, is rampant in academia. “There has been no one to challenge this,” she says.

But now she’s one of many young Roma developing the intellectual savvy to hold such scholars accountable for the prejudices they perpetuate.

Source: To battle racism, Roma scale Europe’s ivory tower – CSMonitor.com

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