Salaam et Paalam

22. Afro-Asian. Womanist.

Circa 1920s-1960s Hollywood glamour.

Music, film, fashion, art, socioeconomics, politics.

Blah blah blah.

Just when I think that this whole blackface thing on halloween can no longer shock me…I see a picture of some guy with brown paint all over himself and big ass chains attached to his neck, wrists and ankles. This is not just another american expecting the rest of the world to adhere to our outrage over racial politics. ASSHOLE FROM ITALY…you wanna act like being a slave is oh so fucking hilarious and feign ignorance when the majority of western Europe had a hand in colonizing the fuck out of Africa…then your ass should really experience what it’s like to be black in Europe and experience what Mario Balotelli has. 


"Grading college essays I can tell who’s not white–which is to say I know who got here based on merit and who got here via affirmative action."

Philosophy Graduate Student (via shitrichcollegekidssay)


I call bullshit. In my rhetoric and composition class freshman year I was editing papers in a group of three. The third group member wasn’t able to come to class and so the two of us just edited her paper. In all honesty, for someone so well traveled and can speak multiple languages..I don’t know how in the hell she was able to do the college application writing sample. Other than the typical grammatical errors that’s expected when writing your essay the night before (to be fair everyone in class wrote it the night before), it was waaayyy too in.. no one taught her to use complex sentences at all.  A year before graduation, I was told that her father donated A LOT..

*sigh* If you go to a private college I’m sure you see this crap a lot, so this philosophy student can sod off. This girl got in on merit my ass..

My Problem with Europe


Is that I grew up there; I have relatives who still live there; and I have experienced first hand the racism and hatred that are perpetrated against my people.

Yes, I am quite aware that I have light skin and eyes and don’t *look* Gypsy according to all y’all… so, imagine if I was a victim of racism, how much worse it is for those who are not so privileged?

I’ve had multiple emails from Czechs and Hungarians, Slovakians and Romanians all saying the same thing… that “Gypsies” are bad, bad people and they are to blame for all of the stealing, murder, rape, the economic crisis, bullying, poor education, collapse of society, contagious diseases, and even global warming…

Whenever I challenge these views with Amnesty, ERRC, news, and other reports I’m told that:

  • I don’t know what it’s like to live in the country
  • Oh, it’s only GYPSIES who are bad, not Romani (*blink*)
  • The reports are wrong/falsified/not written by a person from ___insert country here___
  • You are wrong. Period.

And there is nothing I can say to change these views.

This… this is the problem. 

Many, many people in Europe are raised to believe that Romani are “inadaptable”. I’ve been asked why, if Romani are so good, did France expel hundreds of them and why did they recommend internment camps?

It’s called institutionalized racism.

According to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights 2010):

The Roma, estimated at between 10 and 12 million people, constitute the largest minority in Europe and are present in virtually all Council of Europe member states.

This minority has been suffering profound discrimination for centuries and, even today, is still frequently rejected by the rest of the population because of deep-seated prejudices. Moreover, in these times of economic crisis, this highly vulnerable minority presents an easy target and is used as a scapegoat.

The situation faced by Roma in terms of access to education, employment, health services and housing or in terms of social integration is still very often deplorable, not to say scandalous.

But, I’ve also been told that reports such as these are not legitimate sources either—because such committees are inherently biased against the “normal” population within Europe..

but, most of these people are not taught about the history of the Romani and are bursting with privilege and patriarchy.

So, here is a brief timeline of our history:

A Brief Timeline of Romani History

997-­‐1026: The people now known as the Roma/Romani/Romanies begin to leave northern India,
headed west through Persia. The last migration begins in 1192.

1347: Due to plagues and wars, Romanies begin to move west again, through Armenia and Asia Minor.

1385: The first recorded transaction of Romani slaves is recorded in Romania.

1416-­‐1504: The Roma are expelled from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and France.

1510: Switzerland imposes the death penalty.

1512-­‐1538: The Roma are expelled from Catalonia, Bavaria, Portugal, Sweden, England, Wales, and Denmark.

1538: Portugal deports Romanies to the Colonies.

1544: England deports Romanies to Norway.

1589: Denmark imposes the death penalty to all Roma.

1637: Sweden imposes the death penalty to all Roma.

1721: Emperor Karl VI orders the extermination of all Roma in the Austro-­‐Hungarian Empire.

1728: Last living Romanies hunted down in Holland.

1547-­‐1749: The Roma are expelled from Norway, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, Scotland, Denmark(again), Norway (again), Belarus, and Sweden (again).

1758: Empress Maria Theresa begins a program to assimilate all Roma by force.

1783: Most legislation against the Roma is repealed.

1812: Nomadic Romanies in Finland are confined to workhouses.

1822: Turnpike Act is introduced. All Roma camping along the roadside are fined.

1830: Germany begins a program of removing Romani children from their homes to be fostered with non-Roma families.

1848: Transylvania frees the Roma from 500 years of slavery, followed by Moldavia in 1855 and Wallachia in 1856.

1849: Denmark allows Romanies back into the country.

1868: Richard Liebich coins the phrase “lives unworthy of life.” This is later used by the Nazis to destroy the Roma alongside the Jews in the Holocaust.

1872 – 1899: Roma are expelled from Belgium, Denmark (again), and Germany.

1884: A Romni, Dr. Kavalasky, is appointed Professor of Mathematics at Stockholm University. She is the first female professor in Scandinavia.

1890: Germany organizes a conference on “The Gypsy Scum.” The “Central Office for Fighting the Gypsy Nuisance” gets its start there.

1906: France hands out identity cards to all Roma.

1920s: In the Weimar Republic, Roma were forbidden to use parks or public baths and required to register with police. In 1922, Germany begins a program to fingerprint and photograph all Romani. Professor Hans F. Gunther blames the Roma for introducing foreign blood into Europe.

1933-­‐34: Hitler comes to power in Germany. Romani musicians are barred from the State Cultural Chamber, forced sterilizations begin of all Romanies, Sinto boxer Johann Trollman is stripped of his title as lightweight champion, and “Beggars Week” means thousands of  Roma are arrested. Romani people who can’t prove German citizenship are expelled.

1935-­‐38: In Germany, all Romanies become subjected to the Nuremburg Laws for the Protection of German Blood and German honor. Roma in Germany lose the right to vote, the internment camp in Marzahn is opened, Hitler issues the General Decree for Fighting the Gypsy Menace, and the Racial Hygiene and Population Biological Unit of the Health Office opens. By 1938, all Roma in Germany are declared anti-­‐social, arrested, and sent into forced labor to build the concentration camps.

In Russia, Stalin bans the Romani language and culture.

1940: The first mass genocidal action of the Holocaust takes place in Buchenwald, where 250 Romani children are used as guinea pigs to test the Zyklon‐B gas crystals.

1941-­‐44: In Germany, in July, Himmler orders the Einsatzkommandos to “kill all Jews, Gypsies, and mental patients.” In 1944, the 1,400 Roma at Auschwitz still deemed fit for work are sent to Buchenwald.

The remaining 2,900 Roma attempt to defend themselves using rocks and sticks, but they are defeated and taken to the gas chambers.

1945: World War II ends, though it is still illegal to be Roma in much of post-­‐war Europe.

1962: The courts in the German Federal Republic declare that the Roma were persecuted in the Holocaust for racial reasons. Romani survivors do not share in the millions of dollars of reparations given to other survivors of the Holocaust.

1966: The Gypsy Council is set up in Great Britain.

1969: Bulgaria establishes segregated schools for Romani children. Countries across the former Soviet client states follow their lead.

1970: National Gypsy Education Council is established in England.

1971: First Romani Congress held in London, England, adopting “Gelem, Gelem” as the national anthem, as well as a national flag, based on the flag of India. Other considerations include a Romani alphabet, the protection of the language and culture, and human rights issues.

1972: Czech Republic begins to sterilize Romani women. The government claims the process ended in 2007, but reports of sterilization are still being investigated and the government has refused to pay reparations to the affected women.

1977: A UN sub-committee makes a resolution on the protection of Roma.

1979: The Romani Union is recognized by the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

1981: Yugoslavia grants the Roma national status.

1987: The United States Holocaust Memorial Council appoints its first Romani member, seven years after the Council was created.

1989: Germany deports foreign Romanies.

1990: Fourth World Romani Congress adopts an alphabet for the Romani language.

1991: The Roma gain equal rights in Macedonia.

1960-­‐1999: The Roma face persecution and death from attack by both civilians and governments across Europe. In 1997, Neo-­‐Nazi street gangs beat and kill Roma with impunity in Serbia. Periodic altercations continue, especially in Eastern Europe, where Romani children are relegated to back rows and special education, often beaten and ostracized by students and some teachers.

1998-­‐99 In the Kosovo Conflict, Romani communities are targeted by all sides.

2008-­‐9: Parts of a Romani settlement near Naples are burned by a mob. Italian authorities destroy another settlement, moving Roma to temporary quarters that lack water and electricity. The Prime Minister gives local authorities powers to carry out evictions and to fingerprint people, including children.

A widespread outcry ensues, but the European Commission does not ask Prime Minister Berlusconi to end the fingerprint provisions. Romanies from other EU countries are deported without individual appeal.

2009-­‐11 Neo-­‐Nazis intimidate and harass Romani communities in Hungary and the Czech Republic. Repeated violence, discrimination in employment and housing, and continued harassment from authorities continues across Eastern Europe, forcing many Roma to flee to Western Europe.

2010-­‐11 French police shoot and kill a young Rom at a checkpoint in the Loire Valley, resulting in riots. In response, French President Sarkozy orders the dismantling of some 300 Romani settlements, declaring the illegal camps sources of crime, and deporting Roma, most to Eastern Europe. Caught up in the police roundups are some Roma who are French citizens. Deportations do not allow for asylum or appeals. EU Commissioner Vivian Reding declares the expulsions violate EU provisions on freedom of movement, but eventually Sarkozy’s deportations are allowed to continue.

2011 In Kosovo, thousands of Romani refugees whose homes were destroyed in the War remain in refugee camps without appropriate hygiene facilities, located near or on top of rubbish heaps, which leach harmful substances into the water and soil, while other refugee groups have been given housing. One remaining camp populated by Roma in Mitrovica sits atop a heavy metal mine, leading to lead poisoning in the population.


These are just some of the things that have happened. Recently a Romani family were shot, others have been raped, or forcibly sterilized or evicted. Romani are still regularly victims of intolerance, discrimination and rejection based on deep-seated prejudices in many Council of Europe member states. It is also important to note that the Roma are Europe’s largest minority without a compact territory and unlike other national minorities, do not receive any support from a kin-state. In some countries, the Roma minority is not recognised as such even though it has been established there for several centuries.

The Roma are scapegoats, convenient answers to those hard questions… a people who have for centuries been victims of brutal and sustained racism, discrimination, and oppression.

So don’t tell me that I don’t know what it’s like, I have lived in many different European countries. Don’t tell me I don’t know what’s going on, I still have family and friends there, and I read multiple reports from different agencies and news outlets every day.

If you want to read the full Parliamentary report it is here. Perhaps you should actually READ some of these reports before condemning them as biased or misleading.

My problem with Europe is it’s legacy of colonial imperialism, white supremacy, and racist ideology.

(via golden-zephyr-deactivated201401)

I remember when I watched Full Metal Jacket last summer.  It was my first time seeing this film and finally found out where that phrase “me love you long time/sucky sucky 5 dollars” came from.  I’m not going to lie, it was really hard to watch that film.

Read More

Random Fact:

The current version of the popular children’s rhyme:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,Catch a tiger by the toe.If he hollers, let him go,Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

has about 9 different versions from Europe and South Asia.  This rhyme has been around well before the 1820s.   Originally, this rhyme became part of Bert Fitzgibbon’s 1906 song “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo.”

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo,Catch a ni***r by his toe,If he won’t work then let him go;Skidum, skidee, skidoo.But when you get money, your little brideWill surely find out where you hide,So there’s the door and when I count four,Then out goes you

Prior to the 1906 version, in the U.S. a version that is similar to it was reported as the most common version among American schoolchildren in 1888.

Eeny, meena, mina, mo,Catch a ni***r by the toe;If he hollers let him go,Eena, meena, mina, mo

(Via wikipedia)

So much for teaching this to school children.

Random Memory:  During my first year of college, I remember that my school threw a Halloween Bash in conjunction with another program in Berkeley.  It was interesting being there as this was the first Halloween that most of these foreign exchange students (mainly from Europe and East Asia) have celebrated.  Some of them did the traditional fun costumes, many of them were drunk out of their minds, and others…well…took it way to far.  One of my hall-mates and porch mates told me about this guy from Italy who kept hitting on her the entire night.  He was “dressed up” as Bob Marley, wearing dreadlocks and dark face paint, while his friend (not sure what country) was dressed as a stereotypical pimp from the 70s.  Ironically, the one person he happened to try to talk to all evening was in the ethnic studies living community with me.  My two hallmates didn’t really care to speak to these guys anyways, but all I could wonder about was HOW did they get away walking around like that in the East Bay (especially Oakland!) and whether blackface is a serious problem in Europe… 

I just have a hard time believing that someone would be that oblivious to something that offensive and think it was OK.  Especially since two guys in the exchange program were black Frenchmen, but I guess they thought it was funny. =/

One of my major lessons of 2011…

never have a conversation with someone about politics who is terrifyingly pro-Zionist.  I’ve never heard so much offensive jargon in my life.  Then said person proceeded to tell me they were impressed at how articulate I was. -____-

Even though we disagreed…apparently, I’m supposed to be stupid. Awesome.

Pub dinner with a side of racism.





I’ve had an interesting evening. I went to a talk by John Rose; “The fight for Palestinian liberation”. It was brilliant. 

A few of us went to the pub to have a few drinks and dinner. This drunk guy decided to sit himself down next to us and try to “chat us up.”

I ignored him for the majority of the night until he started having rant about unemployed people being unemployed because they are “lazy”. We were having an interesting ‘debate’. Whenever I said something, he became agitated and annoyed.

He looks straight at me and says “no offense”

And I just thought…Here we go.

He has a massive rant about all the blacks in prison, I told him to fuck right off.  My friend told him to fuck off and leave the table, she made it clear we were not putting up with any racism.

He got up, screaming at us to “watch our mouthes” and “dont fucking tell me anything about the darkies”.

“the darkies”

I couldn’t believe he actually said that. I just sat there in complete and utter shock. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. 

He threatened to “slice up” my friends on the table because they dared to call him out on his racism. He told us to watch our backs, he told us he is after us.  I think he was angry that my friends were supporting me and not agreeing with him, he must have seen them as some sort of “race traitors”. He almost smashed his glass into my friends face.

I sat there, thinking to myself, this is happening and nobody is doing anything. A pub full of people stayed silent while a man threatened to violently assault several women for calling him out on his racism, sexism and xenophobia. 

This happened and this will happen again and nobody will do anything because they can’t bring themselves to let go of their “post racial society” illusions. They will go home, convince themselves it was an isolated incident while I walk home completely terrified— for my life.

Welcome to the lives of POC. 

I can’t believe this happened last night.

One thing that really struck me about this guy, in amidst his threats to ‘cut my face open’, and demands that I ‘shut my mouth, because you know fuck all’, was the phrase ‘this is my manor, you don’t know where your from.’

And I think that’s the crux of the problem, how dare young women tell him, on his ‘manor’, that he’s got it wrong. 

For instance, he made claims about France not having free health care. (This was mid-debate, before it really all kicked off) I told him he was wrong. (He is) He immediately told me to shut my mouth, and that I know nothing. I simply replied with ‘okay’, because I’m a woman, and because of that, me telling a man that he’s factually incorrect about something will never be believed. And how dare I even think to tell him he’s wrong? He can’t be! And from what did he derive this confidence that I must be wrong and he must be right? Because I’m a woman. It grinds me down that all I could do was sit there while a man shouted in my face about my stupidity, over a fact that as it transpires, I’m correct about. 

Don’t like intelligent young women? Fine, but you don’t deal with that by pretending they don’t exist.

And now at the same time, I’m genuinely terrified that one day that man’s going to be wandering down Mile End Road, and he’s going to be wrecked, and I’m going to be alone, and I really don’t know what will happen, but at the same time, if I take this further criminally I really don’t think someone so angry and let down by the world will really get much out of the criminal justice system.

And yet again, we must resign ourselves that in this world, the systems creates its own problems, and then doesn’t know what to do with them.

Added commentary to yesterdays events. 

I need to point out that these things happen all the time. ALL THE TIME. to PoC, not just where I live, but where you live, where anyone reading this lives. All the time. 

All those isolated incidents, all those individual experiences, when taken together, form a pattern, and to deny that is patently ridiculous, and it is denial in its most basic form.

(via ekom-aka-makoma)

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