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Roma are often perceived as a homogenous group and many times they are reduced to their ‘Gypsyness’. They are not perceived as individuals but simply as ‘Gypsies’. Some people can produce the most outrageous stereotypes about Roma but then claim that they know one ‘who is not like that!’. Talking badly about Roma damages all Roma including the one who is supposed to be ‘different’. Roma who do not fit the image that others have about ‘Gypsies’ are often not perceived as Roma. In reality there is not a single Roma who could meet all the stereotypes that exist about them.
There is a huge heterogeneity among the Roma themselves. What is true for one group might be different for another. Differentiating only between ‘traditional’ and ‘integrated’ Roma would be too easy: what is true for all the populations is true for Roma as well: generalisations are never true and the differences between the individuals are greater than the differences between ethnic groups. Roma live in many different environments, speak different languages and different dialects of Romani, they can be found on all five continents, and have adopted many of the habits of the majority population of the countries they live in. They are engaged in numerous occupations, are members of different religions, and their financial and educational situation also depends from person to person, from group to group, and from the general situation of the country they live in, just as for any other citizen!