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The plight of the Roma in the light of the US protest movement

July 20th, 2020

A former World Bank economist living in the United States believes that the problems of Hungary’s Roma are probably even graver than those of Afro-Americans in the United States.

In Heti Világgazdaság, István Dobozi, a former senior economist at the World Bank dismisses the overwhelming feeling among Hungarians that although in terms of living standards Hungary is far behind the United States, at least it doesn’t have to face the same racial conflicts Americans do. He points out that African-Americans have made tremendous progress over the past half a century, and believes that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement may well reshape itself into a political party – all the more so, since the Democratic Party has ceased to represent the weak and disenfranchised, including the black community. Instead it has turned into a platform for metropolitan intellectuals and the winners of globalisation, he believes. Meanwhile, he argues, the Roma who will soon represent about 9% of Hungary’s population represent by far the most explosive problem of Hungarian society, while the political elites practically stand by and consider the problems of the Roma incurable. The Roma, unlike the blacks in the United States, have no charismatic and incorruptible leaders like Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson or Rosa Parks. Without such people, Dobozi doesn’t expect the Roma to become equal players either in the economy or in society in general.


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