Why do Roma children have a more difficult life?

December 2, 2020

An animated film about the systemic racism against the Roma in Hungary (inspired by an American viral video about systemic racism that reached millions of views) puts the social exclusion of the Roma people in historical context.

The Hungarian film, like the American one, presents why most of the Roma suffer from disadvantages in education, housing, employment and health care, and explains why they live in much deeper poverty than their non-Roma peers. The 6-minute-long film, the “Why do Roma children have a more difficult life?” is available on the YouTube Channel of the Budapest based Rosa Parks Foundation. The text was written by Agnes Kende Visiting Researcher at the Center for Policy Studies and also education policy researcher at Láthatatlan Tanoda - Rosa Parks Alapítvány.

The basic idea of the film is to show, through the lives of two children and of their ancestors (one Roma: Jani and one non-Roma: Tomi), why the career prospects of a Roma and a non-Roma child are so different from the very first moment of their birth. Why is it that one of them has almost no chance of reducing the social disadvantages of his birth during his lifetime, i.e., how do these disadvantages inherit from generation to generation?

“We didn’t make the film,” says Agnes Kende, “to awaken people’s remorse. Most of the people are indeed helpless as individuals and they do not want to push the others deep, they merely want good life for their own children. However, we believe that understanding the complex phenomenon of systemic racism or Antigypsyism brings us closer to acceptance. We hope that whoever watches the film will become at least a little more receptive to state or civil initiatives that point in the right direction. We are very far from these now, but it is a path that we will sooner or later go along, and it is important that people become more inclusive and tolerant towards the Roma”.