It's always struck me as ironic that a number of Hollywood film stars are happy to be credited with being 1/4 (1/8, 1/16th...) Native American but its not so positive to be more full-blooded Native American, in terms of your social status, health or life opportunities in the US.
And if you substituted gypsy or Roma or “traveller” (a UK term) into those same actors’ ethnic mix, you wouldn’t even get claims for 1/8.
AS part of its fight for human rights, the Anne Frank museum, Amsterdam, which I visited 2 weeks ago, featured the plight of Roma in Hungary who are being pressured by Far Right groups, in their interactive debate for visitors. Daily, visitors are presented with current TV news items, linked to human rights, and asked to vote yes or no to a proposition.
I was in Amsterdam to attend EUPHA 2010. A speaker, Daniela Bobokova, presenting in the Health Inequalities session, dispelled thoroughly another preconceived idea about Roma...that they are drunks. “In Central Europe, it is thought that Roma drink more, smoke more and generally have more risky behaviour”, she said. Her talk focussed on binge drinking, comparing Roma and non-Roma adolescents in Slovak Republic, a country where Roma make up 7% of the population.