Blatant racism

  • 2006-06-07
  • by P. Dermott
London - I was happy to read your account of the Roma woman who won her legal case against racial discrimination. It seems to me that Latvia has a very long way to go until it is anywhere close to being on a par with other EU countries in terms of combating racism.

As a regular visitor to Riga on business, I have also witnessed examples of racial discrimination. On one occasion I saw a black man turned away from an Old Town bar for no other ostensible reason than he was black. When I have spoken to Latvians about this problem, they mostly just shrug their shoulders and dismiss the whole issue as though it wasn't anything serious. But there is a fine and dangerous line between all prejudices, whether it is against the Roma, black people or homosexuals. Steps need to be taken to educate people against this sort of senseless hatred. Modern-day Europe is based on principles of tolerance and inclusion, and Latvians will need to rapidly adapt their outmoded and insular way of thinking if they are to successfully adapt to the demands of a multi-ethnic Europe.
 

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