The ascension of Hungary to the European Union promised to bring an end to segregation for Roma communities. But implementing new laws and programs has proven as difficult as changing cultural attitudes.
The Roma have a long history of discrimination and oppression. They were enslaved by the Mongols in the 13th century, chased through Western Europe in the 15th, and exterminated at Auschwitz in the 20th. In present-day Central and Eastern Europe, they are largely segregated from mainstream society. They live in isolated, “Roma-only” neighborhoods—often referred to as settlements. Their children attend sub-standard “Roma-only” schools. And they are blighted by poverty..
How can such longstanding, deeply rooted problems be solved? Can any desegregation campaign succeed without first changing the way non-Roma citizens see their Roma countrymen? Journalist Jeneen Interlandi travels to Hungary to report on desegregation efforts there, and to look at, among other things, the potential role for psychological interventions. In this video, she talks about how she approached this project and how it evolved over time.