OPINION: Targets of 'respectable' racism
Among all ethnic groups in the UK and across Europe, it is the Roma - or the gypsy and travelling communities as they are also known - who endure pariah status. While it is generally understood in polite, mainstream society that discriminatory attitudes against black and ethnic minorities are unacceptable, prejudice against Roma is even enshrined in an amendment to the Race Relations Act that allows immigration officers the right to target them. It is often perceived that travelling communities wish to roam on the margins of society. It has been recommended that they buy land and put down roots. Yet when they attempt to do that, they are often refused planning permission due to the ingrained fear and loathing that surrounds them.