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The Black Romanians. A Question of Race or a Question of Gypsiness?

Michaela Mudure

This paper explores the identity problems of the children resulting from the marriages between Romanian women and African students who came to Romania in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a result of the efforts of the Communist regime of the time to establish good relations with several leftist regimes from Africa and to turn the then dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceauşescu, into an influential factor in world politics.

With very few exceptions, all these African students were males and they had legitimate or illegitimate children with Romanian women. The paper analyzes the identity problems of these children, how they perceived their blackness and how their blackness was perceived by their Romanian relatives, by their African relatives and by Romanian society.

As Romania had its own “Blacks” for centuries - I am referring to the Roma - the paper also analyzes the way in which the race of the Black Romanians was constructed by association and stigmatization as Gypsiness.

The method used by the author is the interview with several individuals who are in this position and the research of the Romanian press after 1990. We have focused on the press after 1990 because it only after 1990 that race became an issue in the press. Under the Communist regime racist tendencies were not allowed any public outlet, they were officially repressed, but they survived and unfortunately took even violent forms in the personal discourse. After 1990 all these tendencies were given free manifestation in the press.

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