The Roma from ‘extra’ to ‘ordinary’: meaning is in the eye of the beholder  

Violeta Vajda

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We all see the world through thick distorted lenses. By the time we grow up, we acquire tunnel vision, limited by the many personal knocks we have suffered; by the fears of things that happened or we think may happen; but limited most of all by the prejudices that surround us like a deep fog, by ancient beliefs we unthinkingly inherit from family, teachers, the media and society at large.

Meanwhile, reality moves on, changes and evolves. Even individuals we thought we knew grow and transform and make new lives for themselves. But groups of people, nations and peoples as well enter new spaces, physical and imaginary, and within a generation, they may be nothing like their ancestors.

And still, the weight of unexamined and unchallenged pre-conceptions robs us of the miracle of this transformation – of ourselves and others. We look but we cannot see. Family, group and national…

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