Dr. Andra Draghiciu, project worker for incident recording, research and public relations at the reporting and information unit for antigypsyism in Rhineland-Palatinate (MIA-RLP - Melde- und Informationsstelle Antiziganismus Rheinland-Pfalz)


Dr. Draghiciu, you assume that there is an immense dark field of antigypsy incidents in Germany. Why is this?

As the first report by the reporting and information unit for antigypsyism shows, 621 antigypsy incidents were recorded for the year 2022. However, we assume that the number of unreported cases will be much higher. There are numerous reasons for this: Antigypsyism has only recently come to the attention of the German public, for which reason there is little knowledge about this phenomenon itself. At the institutional level, no fixed, official definition has yet been developed that is recognized by all state, political or civil society bodies. On an individual level, people who are not affected by this phenomenon tend to lack knowledge about what antigypsyism is and its manifestations in everyday life. Consequently, it is not usually recognized as such. Furthermore, German society has a long history of antigypsyism. For those affected, the antigypsy view of institutions, media and individuals is therefore an integral element of their lives. Many of them do not know any reality outside antigypsyism. They perceive the way in which the dominant society treats them as normal. This contributes to the fact that antigypsy incidents are often not regarded as exceptional or worth reporting.

Moreover, many of those affected are suspicious of a system that has excluded and discriminated against them and their families for generations. And this is why they don't report their experiences or make a complaint. Some also do not want to come out as members of a group affected by antigypsyism because they fear negative consequences. Ultimately, people in Germany are also affected by antigypsyism if they do not speak German well enough, are unaware of their rights and therefore do not know who they can talk to.


How does social exclusion manifest in the everyday lives of those affected?

People affected by antigypsyism are already confronted with exclusion during childhood. They experience bullying, discrimination and insults both from their colleagues and from authority figures such as teachers. Notifications to the reporting and information unit for antigypsyism show that those affected experience institutional and individual discrimination when looking for housing, on the job market or in their free time. This happens whether in dealing with authorities, for example in the form of racial profiling by the police, automatic special school recommendations by teaching staff or in the private sector, for example denial of access to campsites or restaurants. An animated film by MIA-RLP, which was created as part of the EVZ Foundation’s funding and can be viewed on our YouTube channel, illustrates common manifestations of antigypsyism in the lives of those affected.


April 8 stands for the protracted and committed struggle for recognition and justice for the minority. How can society support Sinti and Roma locally?

Antigypsyism is a phenomenon that not only affects Sinti and Roma, but also Yenish people, travelers, showmen and people from Southeast Europe. In order to support those affected and to counter this form of racism, society needs to develop an awareness of the existence and manifestation of antigypsyism. Individuals as well as institutions need to reflect on themselves, their attitudes and practices, become aware of the antigypsy framework of prejudice in which they exist and operate, and intentionally break away from it. At the institutional level, state and civil society players have the task of guiding measures to combat antigypsyism in the form of sensitization, raising awareness and deconstruction as well as sustainably securing structures such as reporting offices. At the individual level, people need to educate themselves about the topic in order to recognize and subsequently report antigypsyism, not only as an affected person, but also as a witness. The reports allow us to work out the dimension and virulence of antigypsyism in German society, to show how and where antigypsyism takes place - because this is an important prerequisite for combating it and for empowering those affected.

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