Letter to the Editor: Romany remarks offensive

Dear Editor,

I read Ms. Matheson's letter "Roma plight needs a closer look." I was interested to see that she describes herself as "a Canadian Slovak who has spent some time in Canadian politics" and also as a "human rights activist."

Her background is particularly interesting , and disturbing, as the points that she makes in describing the Roma - it is not their custom to work or send their children to school, that they steal things from their employers in order to sell them or buy alcohol, that they ruin decent housing - are just those that are made by certain Canadians who are prejudiced against the native peoples of our country.

These points are usually made by people with a view point such as Ms. Matheson has, in an effort to 'explain' why such people who are 'different' from the majority population fail to enjoy the same standard of living as they do.

Bigoted statements like this do not address the real problem of why such minorities are living in bad circumstances, which is often tied to prejudiced attitudes.

I was glad to read in the same issue of your paper the article by Sharon Otterman that attempted to look at the problems of this minority group in an objective manner.

Gillian Hammonds,
Montréal Canada

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