“I will not sell a car to a Roma”

By • on April 29, 2013

This is an ad I saw two weeks ago on some Czech website selling used cars. My boyfriend was surfing the web in order to find a second-hand transit van at a convenient price. He stumbled upon one sold for a very low price which made the deal seem a bit suspicious. However, what really got our attention was the content of the ad, which read that the car is in a quite good state, its price is negotiable and, last but not least, that the owner “ will not sell it to a Roma.” Needless to say, I was very amused.

This sentence proves that racism is still flowing in the blood of non-Roma. They would prefer not to sell the car or let it rust in their yard rather than seeing a Roma drive it.

Actually, this is not about racism anymore, but about the paranoia of a man who would give up a profit just to avoid coming into contact with a Roma. If businessmen dependent on profit discriminated in the same way, what would their businesses come to?

I have worked for a fairly big Czech company and one workshop that I took part in was devoted to this theme. I was surprised about that, but apparently they must have had employees who caused losses to the company in the past. The speaker highlighted that everyone entering the shop, including Roma, is a potential customer requiring our attention. In fact, Roma would buy the most expensive toys in our shop, although I could tell they were not rich. Out of love for their children, they would buy them a toy that would cost around 10 000 CZK, even if this was a once-in-a-lifetime expense. For some, Roma are non-acceptable customers, but for others they are acceptable because of the money they spend.

However, Roma employees are rarely suitable because their places can easily be filled by non-Roma. I have to mention that the same company fired me because of my nationality. Although this was never said out loud, some legal grounds are always easy to find.

When I started working for this company, the son of my employer was very keen on me. He dedicated so much of his time to explaining and training me. He must have thought that I had Spanish roots, because after a month his friendship vanished completely and he was hardly able to greet me at all. He must have understood that I was Roma. I was forced to leave when my contract expired. They did not give me any reason why the contract was not extended and my place was taken by a non-Roma in a flash.

This is how life goes for many Roma. Although sometimes we don’t take racists seriously, they can ruin our lives, or at least try to do so. If they can, they take the last penny out of our pockets or they scorn us. This is a sad reality which starts with “I will not sell to a Roma” and ends with murderers of Roma being dubbed “shooters,” and getting very light punishment, if any at all. But I will tell you more about that next time.