A Look beyond Labels for Equal Education: The Presence of Racial Discrimination against Roma in the Czech School System Can Be Properly Addressed through a Careful Race-Blind Reform of Multicultural Education That Teaches Students to Reject Stereotypes
Favin, Michelle, The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs
Despite prior attempts at school reform, racial discrimination remains rampant in Czech classrooms. Roma children are forced into substandard separate schools and if kept in regular classrooms, are often treated as inferior to their Czech peers. Persistent negative Roma stereotypes in the Czech Republic fuel these actions, which bring the Roma into a vicious cycle of dead-end schools, poverty, and crime.
If schools fail to properly educate Roma children, there is little hope for their social mobility. But if schools fail to educate Czech society and teach tolerance towards all ethnic minorities, there is little hope for any governmental policy reform to be successful. Education remains a vital socializing institution, and discrimination against Roma can improve through a careful, race and culture-blind reform of education in the Czech classroom. While the results may not be immediate, the effective and nuanced introduction of "Transcultural" education will help the Czech Republic become more tolerant towards the Roma community.
A Brief History of Roma in the Czech Republic
The Roma have, in fact, experienced prejudice for centuries within the Czech Republic. Since their arrival in the CR in the 15th century, they have faced waves of discrimination laws, poverty, and anti-Roma sentiment.
In 1547, Prague's Roma population was exiled after receiving blame for a fire which broke out in the city; in 1697, killing a Roma was not a crime; in 1710, Joseph I issued a decree to hang all Roma men. While such outright discrimination against the Roma ceased under Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, the Empress set in place a policy that remains the root of the problem today: socialization. In attempting to assimilate the Roma, Maria Theresa weakened their distinct culture. She sought to settle the nomadic Roma people quickly and perhaps insensitively. Nomadic life was forbidden, the Roma language was banned, and children were taken to non-Roma families for re-education.
World War II brought the harshest period of Roma discrimination. Almost all of the original Czech Roma population perished in Nazi concentration camps. But the Czech …
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Publication information: Article title: A Look beyond Labels for Equal Education: The Presence of Racial Discrimination against Roma in the Czech School System Can Be Properly Addressed through a Careful Race-Blind Reform of Multicultural Education That Teaches Students to Reject Stereotypes. Contributors: Favin, Michelle - Author. Magazine title: The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs. Volume: 12. Issue: 2 Publication date: Spring 2009. Page number: 11+. © 2009 Martin Jan Stransky. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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