Culture as Opportunity?


Hamze Bytyci in Eurozine:

Art is here to provide individuals the freedom to express their own feelings, views or identity without having to give too much heed to social conventions. Yet when it is about the art and culture of Sinti and Roma, the situation seems to be a bit more complex. Here there are a number of prejudices, stereotypes or simply certain expectations that come to bear, be it on the part of the majority society or that of members of this minority itself. They influence not only the everyday life of many Sinti and Roma, but also, possibly their artistic production, be it only through the compulsion of having to react to and reflect on the overall situation.

In order to be able to assess the social effect that the art and culture work of Roma and Sinti has, it is necessary to first take at least a cursory look at the situation of the Sinti and Roma in Germany. This, however, proves difficult since there are no official studies on the situation of the non-German Roma in Germany. The following information is thus based on two studies that focus only on the situation of the German Sinti and Roma. It can be assumed that the situation of the non-German Roma – in particular among the Roma who have moved to Germany from Romania and Bulgaria – is even graver, especially in the field of education and in terms of economic and social factors. With regard to discrimination and racism, we can, by contrast, assume that the experience of the German Sinti and Roma is not much different from that of the non-German Roma.

More here.