A visitor’s guide to Romanian racism

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The most popular article I’ve ever written was Romani, Racism, and Romania, which continually ranks among the most-viewed pages here on this blog. And I see that a Google search for “romanian racism” currently has my article as hit #3. So obviously I hit a nerve on something with that discussion. In particular, I seem to get a lot of Americans who have gone or are going to Romania, and want some context for what seems like a lot of racist behavior on the part of the Romanians.

I’m here to fill that need.

I write from the perspective of a white, middle-class North American. And I’m writing this for the benefit of anyone visiting Romania from America or Western Europe, though I don’t necessarily assume that you’re white. (We’ll cover that below.) My view of Romania is an outsider’s view. However, I speak Romanian fluently, I lived in Romania for a year before getting married, I’m now married to a Romanian, and we continue to visit the country frequently.

Romanians and Anglophone whites

If you go to Romania as an American or British person, you probably won’t experience anything that you’d call racism. However, if you actually attempt to engage in conversation with the locals, you’ll find a lot of stereotypes and assumptions that Romanians make about you. This may occasionally provoke some discomfort.

Rich guy

A typical American

The first and most obvious thing: everyone will assume that you’re rich. And truth be told, you are pretty rich, compared to most of the people that you meet. This can lead to some uncomfortable situations. Some people may ask you for money, and they may become upset if you won’t give it to them. People may not understand the difference between “can afford to go out for dinner every night while on vacation” and “can afford to give someone a $600 laptop on a whim”, since buying a laptop and going out to dinner frequently are equally signals of wealth and influence to typical working-class Romanians. In general Romanians are very generous with each other; conversely, if you start to make Romanian friends, they will expect and assume that you are going to be generous with them. Many people find this presumption of wealth and generosity to be off-putting–I certainly did when I first started building Romanian friendships.

A related point is that you may discover people speaking to you with a certain amount of resentment. Romanians often feel like they’ve been unjustly maligned by history, and that foreigners don’t appreciate their considerable cultural and historical acheivements. As a result they may display a nasty inferiority complex that manifests as the need to constantly put down Westerners, or try to impress them by playing it cool.

Many Romanians are credulous of conspiracy theories and fringe scientific ideas that Americans find ridiculous. An example: I once had the truly surreal experience of talking to a Romanian who insisted that the Jews controlled the banks and the governments. However, he said they were doing as good a job as anyone, so he was content to let them continue.

Romanians who have never been abroad get most of their ideas about America from movies and television. Think about that for a moment. A lot of Romanians assume that America is basically Southern California + New York. And not the actual California and New York, but the Hollywood versions.

Romanians and English-speaking people of color

(I hate the term “people of color”, but I don’t know of anything else that can be used in this situation.)

If you’re a black, Asian, Indian, Native American, or other non-white American, you may be in for a somewhat rougher time in Romania. You’ll find that most of the stereotypes discussed above also apply to you, but with an additional wrinkle: many Romanians will never have meet or spoken to a non-white, non-gypsy person before you. This creates additional opportunities for discomfort.

A lot of people will simply be curious. Try not to take this personally. Americans have been conditioned to avoid directly mentioning or commenting on someone’s race, while Romanians have not. You’ll find that Romanians gleefully trample over the conversational niceties that Americans observe when discussing race. This may come across as rudeness, but it really shouldn’t be interpreted as racism. In fact, you may find that Romanians hold fewer racial stereotypes about blacks and Asians than Americans do, simply because there are almost no people of those races living in Romania and there are no cultural narratives defining what PoC are “supposed” to be like.

The Romanian dependence on Western pop culture without the rest of the Western cultural context can have some surprising and upsetting consequences. I had to explain to my sister-in-law that it’s not okay to call black people “nigger”, and that it’s in fact extremely offensive. She didn’t see what the big deal was: rappers and movie characters use the word all the time! The subtleties of in-group vs. out-group usage were lost on her, and she had no understanding of the history of the word. (Romanians know that black people used to be slaves in America, because for some reason Uncle Tom’s Cabin is quite popular in translation there, but they’re largely oblivious to the complex, bitter history of American race relations following the Civil War.) If you find yourself in a similar situation in Romania, it’s important to be forgiving and remember that your Romanian acquaintances are very likely oblivious to the racist significance of their language.

On the other hand, due to the inferiority complex mentioned above, some Romanians will fixate on any available reason to belittle a Western visitor, including their race. Some people will always be assholes. Hopefully you won’t have to deal with very many of these people.

Romanians and gypsies

Ah, here is where things get bad.

(I’m going to use the word gypsy throughout this section rather than the preferred Roma or Romani, simply to avoid any possible confusion between Romani and Romanian. The two words have nothing to do with each other, and the resemblance between them is completely coincidental.)

Before coming to Romania I thought of gypsies basically the same way I thought of pirates: something exotic and alluring that existed only in distant times and places. I was very excited to see real, live gypsies when I came to Romania. But discovering the actual situation of the gypsies in Romania was a rather rude shock.

Tiganca cu copil

A young Romanian gypsy woman and her child

The relationship between Romanians and gypsies is the only thing in Romania that’s remotely analogous to the relationship between American whites and blacks. Gypsies have never been enslaved en masse, but they’ve formed a permanent underclass for pretty much the entirety of their history in Romania. Most of them speak Romanian, but many of them also speak a dialect of Roma, their native Indic language. Traditionally gypsies were nomadic, traveling in caravans from place to place, but many of them were forcibly settled during the Communist era, creating miserable little gypsy villages and ghettoes across the country. Most gypsies live in tremendous poverty, they have a very high illiteracy rate, and they’re plagued by many of the same the social ills that attend to the inner cities in America.

If you’re visiting from America or Western Europe, you’re not a gypsy. Even if you’re dark skinned, even if you actually have gypsy ancestry, even if you think of yourself as gypsy, your Western wealth and status make you Not A Gypsy in Romanian eyes. However, you’re going to see plenty of gypsies in Romania, and you may be very disturbed by what you find there.

Romanians carry lots of stereotypes about gypsies. Here’s just a few:

  • Gypsies are swindlers. If you try to make a bargain with one, you’d better watch out, because he’s going to try to screw you over.
  • Gypsies are thieves. If you live near gypsies, you’d better lock everything up tight, because otherwise the gypsies will break in and steal it. Keep a tight grip on your wallet if you see gypsies in the market.
  • Gypsies practice witchcraft. You can often see gypsies acting as fortune-tellers in the markets. They can work hexes on you if you insult them.

There are basically two ways to react to this situation, and if you stay in Romania long enough you’re likely to experience both poles of this dichotomy. The options are:

Stuff White People Think: Obviously the gypsies are an oppressed people. The stereotypes about them are completely unfounded, and in fact the existence of all of these negative stereotypes is the reason that gypsies are so poor and underprivileged. If Romanians would just open their eyes and stop being so racist, they’d see that the gypsies are wonderful people with a beautiful culture of their own, and the gypsies and the Romanians would live in perfect harmony.

This viewpoint is likely to persist until the second or third time you get followed through the market with a gypsy woman on your tail begging loudly to read your palm, or until the gypsy boys down the street break into your ground-floor apartment. At that point you’re likely to Buy Into the Hype. Everything that Romanians say about gypsies is true. The gypsies are poor because they’re filthy and dishonest. You have every right to avoid them on the street and watch them distrustfully when you see them in the market. And naturally you’ll want to find another apartment further away from those people.

At this point, it would be nice to say that my experiences in Romania disproved the stereotypes and showed the baselessness of Romanian anti-gypsy prejudice, but that would be a lie. In reality, despite my initial favorable disposition to the gypsy people, I rather quickly learned to keep my wits and wallets about me when I saw gypsies approaching. This sort of thing falls into the realm of unfortunate necessity, a necessity that many people have discovered.

So what does this practically mean for you, the intrepid traveler?

In the first place, I’ll repeat the advice that any tourist is likely to receive. Don’t give money to panhandlers (of any race). Don’t go to people offering to read palms, tarot cards, or any other kind of fortune-telling, no matter how fun or innocent it might seem. Keep an eye on your valuables, especially when in crowded public places like markets. Do all of these things double when gypsies are involved. You may feel uncomfortable about doing so—I certainly feel uncomfortable giving this advice—but you’re not actually helping the gypsies any by letting them steal from you.

On the other hand, don’t hesitate to buy from gypsy vendors who are selling handicrafts or homemade goods.

Don’t bother arguing with Romanians about gypsies and racism or anything of the sort. They’ll tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and they’ll be right.

If you actually want to help the welfare of gypsies in Romania, I recommend that you donate to a reputable Romanian charity, or one dedicated to helping gypsies across Europe. You, as a visitor to Romania, are not in much of a position to change Romanian culture or make any real difference in the lives of the gypsies that you meet. However, there are many charities that are doing real work to increase literacy, provide job training, etc., and they’re much better equipped to actually help people break out of the trap of poverty and crime.

One last thing

Have fun in Romania. I love the country, and I can’t wait until the next time my family and I get to go back.

Please read this before commenting: A more positive follow-up. I get a lot of people complaining in the comments that I was overly negative about Romania, so I want to make sure that people see the other side and realize that there are lots of great things about Romania, and I don’t want to discourage anyone from going there.

146 thoughts on “A visitor’s guide to Romanian racism

  1. David Dickens

    As an Orthodox convert, I’ve often been fascinated with life in Orthodox countries. I’ve been told that Romanians are the most compatible with Americans for a host of subtle cultural and historical reasons. I’ve even wondered what would be involved in moving there.

    • J.S. Bangs

      I’m curious why they would have said that Romanians are the “most compatible” with Americans. I’m plenty compatible with my wife, but that doesn’t mean that we never had any cross-cultural issues.

      In any case, Romania was a wonderful country and you’d enjoy visiting it. I recommend you go to the region of Moldova/Bucovina, where my wife is from, and visit the seven Painted Monasteries and the cave that the famous hermit Daniil Sihastru lived in.

      • Roxi

        Romania is almost like any other country, you’ll meet poor people but also very rich and a middle class. For example I live in a very small town but it’s like a vacation city :))) many bars, restaurants, banks and so many cars…we don’t have where to park them anymore and we have every side of every street to do that. And usually romanians are very pride, too pride and most of us don’t need pitty from foreigners, even if we don’t have always money we don’t consume rather than have others to pay for us. But there are people who take advantage like in every country. Try to live in Romania and meet as many people as any other romanian does and then you’ll change your opinion. Compared with similar level countries Romania is actually less violent or racist. Hating thiefs is not called racism but normal. Small percentage generalize gypsies, but again, in every country happens this phenomenon so nothing unusual. As cities I recomend mostly Brasov, Bucuresti, Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj, Oradea, Sibiu and the order is irrelevant. There are many more but just to name a few.

      • Daniel

        Hi,
        I am sorry but your ideas of Romanians are mostly wrong. I do not know with what type of Romanians you had the chance to build a friendship but for sure they were middle to low class.
        1. Romanians travel a lot into Europe (West of EU). Those area are among the most advance on the planet, from a technological pov as well for their mentality. So what you are saying about “Seeing Westerns as rich people” would instantly fail. It’s not like we cannot make the difference between a normal person and a rich one. If you would been rich you wouldn’t stay for drink with middle class people…
        2. In Bucharest (Capital of Romania) you will see loads of foreign people, including a lot of blacks. If you go to the City during a Friday/Saturday night you will have 20%-25% foreign people. Yes, we use words like “Niggar” but that’s because in Romania it doesn’t matter, we do not use it in a racist way, a negative way. We don’t look at black people as being different, we see them as people! We also call each-other whites… it’s exactly the same thing for us.
        3. We hate gypsies because they are Lazy, they do steal because it’s easier then working for money. It’s not the fault of youth gypsies but that’s their culture, they have a different one and they keep it very well. Only now a few (Smarter ones) started to change their life style, they are called Romanised Gypsies. They are better seen in society only because they behave different then the rest. We hate them because whole Europe has a problem with Gypsies, and they call them Romanians because of their Romanian passport.
        Is this the same as in USA? No, because USA was build from foreign straight, we have museums in Romania older then USA as a country so yeah, our hate grows deeper. I could go into this a lot longer but im tired from work.
        You should do a lot more research before jumping to conclusions.

      • J.S. Bangs

        First, this article is several years old, and things have changed a lot since it was first written. In particular, since Romania has joined the EU a lot of people have gone and worked in Western Europe, which of course has radically changed the way that Romanians think of and relate to Westerners. So you’re right about that point, but this is a recent development, something which has changed in the last several years.

        Secondly, Bucharest is quite different from the rest of Romania. There are a lot more foreigners in Bucharest than in any other part of Romania, so comparing Bucharest to the rest of the country is sort of pointless.

    • Joe

      Dear Friend,
      Do not move to Romania. I have lived here for a decade! It is a downright awful place. I really want to help you not make a big mistake. I don’t think you will remain Orthodox if you come to Romania — as you will see the priests are VERY corrupt.
      There are some great exceptions but as the majority are money-focused machines that will put America’s best TV evangelists to shame..perhaps not on how money they raise but on how they abuse the name God for personal gain. There are wonderful Romanian people BUT and I say this WITH GREAT RESPECT TO THE GOOD HEARTED AND/OR TRULY EDUCATION PEOPLE OF ROMANIA… most Romanians in Romania are disrespectful, arrogant, close-minded, and see you as an ATM machine.
      I am not trying to let off steam. I think the author of this site, from what I have read so far has a great understanding of Romania only I would add that it takes YEARS to really really understand Romania. And after years and years, I can tell you that I see God’s goodnes, His mercy in that this country is not a bigger disaster then it is and His justice in that He lets those mean-spirited people live in their filth and think it is paradise. Harsh words, right? Come live for 10 years and swear to me on a bible that you don’t have the same opinion. Everything here is a struggle. The better you speak Romanian the worse it will be because the niceties for the foreigner will disappear.
      I am not an expert on the Bible but I know that is says something like ”even the wicked love their own kin.” Even this is not true in Romania. You can talk very nicely to people..sentences starting with ”I kiss your hands” and anything can lead to a slammed door in your face and nasty insults. Nothing is easy.. buy pretzels — ”What kind of pretzels do you have” ”Can’t you see them” ”Yes, but what is in the one on the left.” Window slammed in face as women curses you for taking her time.
      Electric company — credits money to the wrong month. No one knows how to speak on the phone..come talk to them three towns away so they fix their problem. Yes, they messed up but you have to pay for it. Something entered in a computer has no way to be modified. No apologies. Ask a question – get cursed.
      Rude, ignorant, uneducated, IMMORAL people. Not a good place to make a nice impression of Orthodoxy. I studied the religion, sounded good on paper, saw the people who follow it and said ”better stay the h-ll away”.

      • Lucian

        Andrei, from my point of view you might obviously be a pour isolated romanian soul that couldn’t find his purpouse in Romania and always thought tht you could find your own kinder abroud. It’s not unsusual for romanians to do this in the last 20 or so years because of the misinterpretated idea about the west, especialy the US, since we have been told that they are corrupt and shit and we’ve seen from other sources that it might be wrong and maybe that’s what freedom is, to be free to ”do wrong”, to have fun, to be yourself.
        The author is right about many things when whriting about Romania. Yeah, we are chilled, yeah, we are tollerant and friendly but of course we have our prejudices and things we don’t like even if we know we are wrong. Somethimes it’s best to stay aware about gipsys, but always it’s best to be aware to stay aware about strange people. And us, being a people coming out of communism, with our own unique background and history, we are always aware of people talking our language and coming from abroad, at least as americans are about south americans coming in the US… or maybe more because we always know that someone coming from the US, why not, is someone coming here to make money for most of the parts, and that’s not something you take around so easily. Just think about all the debates aboute illegal emigrants taking US jobs and all the debate around this. It’s nothing too different, it’s just the same thing and a different place.

      • Andreea

        Joe, you said you have lived in Romania for the past 10 years, right? If you have such bad opinion about Romania and Romanians, why in the world are you still living there? I really can’t understand.. There are so many more elevated countries out there to live in, and you chose Romania? I am Romanian and I truly love my country. I live in the US now but I wouldn’t trade the education that I received in Romania for anything in the world. Because of the education that I received there, I am a successful business woman here in the US. I live in Seattle, Wa and it’s full of successful Romanians over here. I am just proud to say out loud that I am Romanian. Here, in Seattle, when you say ‘I am Romanian’ it’s a big deal. That usually means you either work for Microsoft or you have a good business. I don’t understand your frustration..really! If I wouldn’t love America, I wouldn’t live here. Why be a frustrated resident of Romania? I bet nobody withholds you there..

      • Joe

        @Andreea.
        Hi. I just saw your reply. You make great points.
        There is one point where I respectfully disagree with you; education in Romania. I would never, not with gun to my head, send my children to a public school in Romania. Now, listen, I am sure that the education in the US is lacking but there like in other countries, children are children. In Romania, I see five year old kids that seem like they are learning wonderfully — at an accelarated communist China style approach — and I’ve seen these kids by the time they are 10 be totally drained and unable to think for themselves or take anything lightly. I think the greatest root of all evil in Romania is the educational system… but I am glad it worked well in your case.
        I was actually in the US with an entourage from Romania and everyone was treated very well, like you say. America lacks the stupid racism of Europe. Yet Romanians, together with their unbelievable antisemitism have become over the years anti-American, prefering second class citizenship in Italy to aspiring to something better in the US. I know Romanians who lived in Canada — I knew them there — they had everything they needed, help from the government with business and they came back to Romania and now do not live very well. As one confided in me ”I must be a fcking idiot.” The Bulgarians, Croats, even Germans and Brits were all happy and content in a country that appreciated them (Canada) but the Romanians uniquely were not content. My opinion is that (most) Romanians are unable to accept ”foreign rule” and feel a need to live apart where no one has an opinion or way of life other then the one they have. Those who aren’t like that — are people like you who are successful and enjoying their life. 110% it is great to be proud of your heritage ad Romanians in Seattle deserve any and all applause given them for what they have accomplished. However, are you a Romanian in Seattle or are you a Romanian-American/ in-the-making..? Where is your loyalty ultimately?
        If you are not sure, let me tell you this — it ought to be where you are actually appreciated and valued for who you are.
        Where is your culture America or Romania? If you say Romania, then you must think that despite your success in the US that the States should be against small business, that it is proper for people to impolite to people who are polite to them, that you shouldn’t help people who can’t help you or won’t help you in the next 5 minutes and to see everyboy as someone you can profit from.
        I have been stuck here because of business and because I care about the people who invested in the business and insist to win over the Romanians at various levels who ran scams on the Company. When I finish what needs to be do , I will leave.
        My friend sold his apartment in Toronto, violated rules on is immigration and returned to Romania with dreams of going from the good life to a dream life that doesn’t exist in Romania. We don’t talk much anymore, he is genuinely upset with me since he left in 2000 and I had already lived here for several years in 2008 when he moved back that I didn’t tell him the plain hard truth about what Romania and most people in Romania are like (nothing to do with ”culture” or financial standing but issues of the heart of the people being sick). So now I just tell it like it is..

      • Maxwell Deere

        Hello everyone, I’m gonna sum up, fast list 24 years in romania.
        for 5 minutes try to sum them up again, think just for the sake of god that is true, don’t pre-judge. I won’t be a negativist.
        till 90′ comunist romania – has all, economy,pride,gouverment,
        romania exported cheese and wines to france, cars in germany, fridges and tv’s in china.
        every citizen had shares at state company ( any company was state’s ), + 90′ shares are close to 0 as value, gouvt ppl get them as bribe for getting down comunism, they turn up milions,
        90′ +, new gouverment installed by … :) nothing has change since 90′s for romania in better.
        you can walk the street and end up in a coffin just because some dogs eat you alive ( happend numerous times)
        gypsies, thieves, foreigners come in romania to have ‘fun’ , you know what ‘fun’ is right?
        1. Criminality is property related, thievery, burgulary, economic frauds, etc etc.
        of course :
        you can have a walk in the park and some football supporters from another country beat you do death.
        walk into a srynge, hole in the asphalt, open sewer( they seem like jokes, but these are real and they all contribute to romanian lifestyle)
        you can get out of your house and someone throw a brick in your face.
        some people here are in extreme poverty, something that you just cannot mentally imagine and cope very hard with the situation,
        2 .The System
        in romania no.1 disease is depresion which is generated by a neverending struggle, constant living struggle.
        there are numerous people in romania that are smart,handy,artist ( in the true sense of the word), singers, movie directors, theatres, writers, poets,.. so on .
        they all suffer from depression, noone can be kind to you, due to the fact that they struggle every day beyond an outsiders can ever know, imagine, feel.
        there are rich people, richer than richer people that you’ve met before, for sure.
        poor people,.. no middle class, no working class.
        let’s say medical system helps with lifecare, in romania medical system doesn’t nullify it’s meaning, it’s completely the opposite; you go to hospital = surgery for nothing, new diseases, food poison, alot of money wasted on bribe for doctors nurses doorman, anyone there, no bribe = complete and absolute ignorance.
        police and forces for safety are mindnumbing for someone that didn’t had any previous contact with a state like that ( for usa/non-lastcountrieslisted )
        ex: citizen to policeman – I am robbed, not my duty ma’am, I’m from traffic control or I’m guarding this public toilet ( fact, happend )
        if you walk down the street, and there’s a car on fire, noone comes with the extinguish , that costs money,
        if you are robbed in broad daylight, have the unfortunate to be brawled, etc , noone pays any attention to you.
        noone = nor police or people
        if you have a tax for ….(romania has alot of taxes, some of them ridiculous, some of them illegal, some of them just prolonged from other taxes that you already have paid) you spend at least one full day going to every institution in the city, and they just close the door, plain and simple. noone has the 20 seconds just to tell you where to go, to pay something for nothing.
        education is worse every day, i-phone kindergarden kids, tests are easier each year for highschools and they are still unable to pass. university is just whom to sleep with, where to pay for future job/license etc.
        what more? wage?
        3. Economy is at a experimental level
        average wage is less than 200 dollars a month… and to cap that out.
        renting a small flat or a studio, one room anywhere is more than that.
        1 kg of cheese is 10 dollars, 1 gallon of diesel fuel is 9 us dollars.
        let’s say you have a job paid twice the average salary,
        one room flat + car ( tax paid ), just gas. gets over your salary.
        in romania children are small mature people, grown-ups are milking cows for govt and others, old people are not people.
        as far as you consider, english is no my native language and I hope that you all understand that I’m not media, I’m not obama, I’m not christian god, I’ve just shared my experience of my past 24 years spent here.
        move to romania if you have large sums of money, and if you are rich indeed.
        you’ll have the fun of your life, you can buy university masters degree like you order burgers, get drivers license, house in the middle of the lake,in woods, 20 story building in 1500 yrs old unesco site.
        YOU cannot change romania, you cannot teach people to take good long term decision on their money , things won’t WORK like in your books. like in your life.
        I hope you get my point. in romania is like a jim jarmuch movie, dead man.
        and of course I’ll lace a challange.. come to romania , get a job, a house, car, wife, childrens, and by the time you do that, don’t end up in jail, don’t die, and don’t get all these in more than 10 generations :)
        Have a great evening, your respectfully romanian friend.

      • Sounds like projecting your own bitterness unto the whole of Romania and Romanians. I have lived in my home country for 35 years (minus one spent in the States) and I have known many Romanians who developed this bitterness, not to call it hatred, of Romanians. Still, I can’t accept them, even if I understand them.
        I know so many good, talented, hard-working Romanians I couldn’t but disagree with you.

    • catadeluxe

      Hello there, Mr. David Dickens!

      I’m from Romania, and I’m currently living in Canada.
      First of all, God bless you, my friend, I hope you’ll find your way through Orthodox Christianity, and live a wonderful life!

      Let me tell you that most of the things written in this article are true. Especially the gypsy part. Thing is, I do not recommend moving to that country just for pleasure. I do recommend though, visiting the country often, with friends and with a guide. If you visit Romania with Romanian friends, which I recommend, try to convince them they don’t see their families, because you’re going to spend a lot of time of your vacation that way, and are not going to discover the country! In the worst case, bring your spouse, and/or children, and/or other friends to visit the country and hire a guide. Those are not very expensive, and speak very well English. You are going to notice that many young people in Romania speak well Shakespeare’s language, so if you run into any trouble, just ask around! Don’t forget to tell that you’re simply a tourist, so that they won’t believe you’re just trying to show off your English skills, haha!

      For someone like you, I highly recommend moving to Romania if workplace gives you the opportunity to do so. Look around, ask people around, I’m sure you’ll find permanent and/or 3-year or another term work contract in Romania. People there are more religious than in the West, and out there, openly speaking about religion is not a bad thing, especially if you’re an American convert.

      This being said, I wish you all the best and I hope you’ll be able to one day, fulfill your aspirations.

      Doamne ajută! :)

  2. David Dickens

    I suppose they were speculating on temperament and the mix of eastern and western culture. There are a couple of Romanians at my parish who I get along with very well, but we’re a big mix of cultures so there really isn’t anyway to speak about such things from personal experience. My limited knowledge about Romania from photos and travel information is very positive. You might be interested in Raoul Pop’s video/interviews I really enjoyed them:

    “Romania Through Their Eyes”

  3. albert wohn

    gypsies have been enslaved in romania for 600 years, not all gypsies dress like gypsies, all tanned people living in romania have gypsy ancestry;pale white romanians steal and do more illegal things than gypsies but usually they are regarded as gypsies(adjective); if you are educated(college etc) as a gypsy nobody would admit or accept that you are gypsy even if you say that you are one;most discrimination is at an institutional level and that’s a big problem;the cause of envy is that while some gypsies live in extreme poverty and pick up scrap metal or steal to survive, many live better of than the general population but that’s because traditional gypsies inherited alot of gold from their ancestors and have hidden it;in comunism tons of gold have been confiscated from gypsies by state and secret service;gypsies have been mass murdered, killed and hunted for about 800 years (official decrees in all europe)in europe for their gold, pope inventing stories saying they are followers of satan,sons of cain,hamites, etc get your facts straight upon maybe the most persecuted race in the history of europe.

    • @albert wohn: i was just about to say many of the things you’ve mentioned there :) however, just a few amendments: gypsies were not slaves in romania, but serfs (serfdom is quite close to slavery but with some important differences). and i wouldn’t say they were THE most persecuted, i think they come second after the jews (who suffered a lot more than gypsies especially during the fascist period of romania). but indeed the social stigma is a lot greater nowadays towards gypsies while in the case of jews it’s pretty much extinct.

      still, a VERY good article. i’m romanian and been living in romania most of my life. the author really nailed it on many points :)
      i would’ve have maybe rephrased it a little towards the end, the article leaves the impression that romanians’ hatred towards gypsies is in fact justified.. Many gypsies in romania are completely assimilated into general society, but many of those won’t openly admit it for fear of social stigma. differences and problems are indeed more visible in the case of traditional gypsies who are also easier to point out. unfortunately, romanians see this as a race issue and not as an integration policy failure (or lack thereof).

      • J.S. Bangs

        I don’t mean to leave the impression that Romanian hatred of gypsies is justified. I do, however, want to poke a hole in the condescending, uninformed way that many Westerners think about the issue. The gypsies don’t “deserve” their status (what would that even mean?), but neither is it the case that Romanian prejudices against gypsies are completely unfounded and irrational. To deal seriously with this issue, we have to grapple with both the unfairness of group prejudice and the social and cultural realities that created that prejudice in the first place.

      • spyked

        @albert wohn: i was just about to say many of the things you’ve mentioned there however, just a few amendments: gypsies were not slaves in romania, but serfs (serfdom is quite close to slavery but with some important differences)

        Relevant link.

        I’d say selling people in public places counts very much as slavery. Also this article (Romanian only, unfortunately) gives a good image of the sexual privileges that the feudal nobles had over gypsy women.

      • Artist

        Sometimes i wonder if my lowlife host (ex gf) was a closet gypsy. Though she was pale bit often talked badly about gypsys. Though one of her good friends lived in a community full of gypsys. Wish i could show you her picture and you tell me if she was romanian or a closet gypsy.

      • heliana

        Gypsies were slaves (robi) in Romania. Slavery was abolished in waves, but abolition was completed by 1956. Incidentally, Kogalniceanu was a great abolitionist

    • Joe

      lol.. is this is joke? Gypsies are all across Europe..who is their slave master?
      Who compels them to steal.
      Come to Romania. Find me 20 hard working Gypsies in 5 days. If you do, I will pay your airline ticket and $5,000. Let me know if you are interested.

      • Marta

        You know very well that is a lost bet from the start, don’t you, Joe? Tell me, don’t you care at all of the injustice you’re trying to make to some people? Shame on you for all your racist prejudices and lies! A shallow mean dishonest ignorant you are! Pfff…

    • Marius

      Not all tanned people in Romania have gypsy ancestry, they may also have Turkish ancestry. Yes, some gypsies inherited gold but a lot of them have built “palaces” for themselves from stolen money, or illegal stuff like begging in London. There have been some documentaries about this and you’ll see that they aren’t that nice people. Nowadays, gypsy is more a cultural classification, not a strictly racial one. Also, there are some gypsies that are fair-haired with blue eyes and look more like scandinavians or russians than indians.

  4. Cara

    I just recently discovered a Romanian ancestral link through DNA research. When I read the results of the test and read the words “Romanian” I was shocked and completely taken by surprise. I had never even had an inclining of a clue about this connection me being of African American (or Afro-Euro American) heritage. I asked myself “how did this happen?” I was never drawn by the Romania culture or had any reference points other than the famous gymnast Nadia Comaneci who was owe inspiring during the Olympics of 1976. Now that I know that I am part Romanian, I have started reading what I can on its people and history. Despite the obvious hesitation, I am very curious about this nation and its people.

    • J.S. Bangs

      That’s really interesting, Cara. I wish I knew a good book about Romanian history to recommend you, but alas, most of my knowledge of Romanian history is really piecemeal, and doesn’t come from any one source that I could recommend. Still, I think you’ll find that Romanians are, for the most part, very friendly and hospitable, and they’ll be happy to get to know someone with previously unknown Romanian ancestry.

      • June

        Dear mr. J.S. Bangs,

        I am Romanian, by birth, because I was born in Bucharest, otherwise I’m 80% Hungarian, I know History as well as many other Romanians(and I’m talking about general History, That you obviously don’t handle that well). You might know that between the Hungarians and the Romanians has been for centuries this huge grudge, but I personally, really don’t mind. I am living in Bucharest, I always have and, I’m sorry to say that I find your opinion about my people( because I embrace gladly my citizenship) rude, unkind and abominable. You make us look like a really poor people and we’re not. Also, you generalize and imply that we are some pagan lunatics that believe in witchcraft,wizardry and , OH!, you forgot to remind the world that we believe also in the Easter bunny, Harry Potter and , for us, The United States are a marble and that we think Usher is the president. You , my friend, are so wrong. I believe that your wife is from some poor village, otherwise I must say that you were blinded by your own stereotypes. You see, not all of us are materialistic “whores” waiting for our rich friends to pay for us,we actually have monies of our own. Not all of us hate gypsies, and not all the Gypsies are considerate bad. There are some, and you must believe me when I say, that are absolutely monstrous, that commit all sorts of felonies and there are some sweet and nice ones. But, as we are at times, a bit racist, so were you in your post. It is too bad that you made such a shamefully description of a country you are related now,and you obviously don’t know well enough, but it’s your call anyways. I hope you’ll change your mind, the next time you’ll be here.
        P.S. We don’t consider all the Americans, English and God-knows who else, rich or, for that instance, intelligent people, we only expect you to be more open-minded and carefree because, dear, you have lived a life without the terror that the communism inflected upon us all. You were free to know, to learn,to watch TV, to visit and to enjoy, while we were fighting for our freedom. So, I apologize if I’ve misunderstood your words but I don’t think you are in the position to judge and, that, my friend, you did. But ,hey, we are free to say whatever we want so… no preasure.:)

  5. Matei Raluca

    I’m from Romania and I was curious about what someone else thinks about Romania. It’s a bit strange that everyone knows that they have to keep an eye on gypsies.
    Gypsies aren’t all-over the country.They’re living in small groups and they’re very poor OR they’re almost like romanians: living in a house (a normal one), going to school,having a job …
    The problem in romanian eyes:
    -some gypsies are stealing
    -gypsies aren’t trying to get over their bad condition of life
    -the ‘colorful’ vocabulary (the rude way some of them speak)
    -the hygiene(aren’t very clean)
    -the fact that parents don’t try to help kids to grow in harmony and learn good things
    But also romanians learn since their childhood that those gypsies aren’t like their family and they don’t have a respectable politeness, hygiene and culture level.
    Hope you’ve understood something, I’m not that good at English…I just tried to help…
    (I’m just a child but I dont like the way google says that all of us are unclean, lousy, thieves, rude…)

  6. cristina

    I am romanian too, and I came across your article by chance ….I would just like to say that I disagree with almost everything you said about the romanian people…..I do not know what sort of people you have met during your staying here but let me tell you this:
    1. not all romanians have an inferiority complex as you said. I, and I believe all the “normal educated people” from Romania , are wise enought to know that just because you are from the West does not mean you are rich. The way you describe how people look at you when you are foreign and how they ASK YOU FOR MONEy that for me is VERY offensive as I do not know anybody who would think that. My opinion is that your view of the romanian people is indeed expressed with a certain superiority.
    2. “Many Romanians are credulous of conspiracy theories”- just becouse you found one person who believes in conspiracy theories does not give you the right to generelize….you have spoken like all romanians are naive…I do believe that many people across the globe trust conspiracy theories to be true, so I don’t see why you would mention such a thing

    I could find many more examples in the text below but I will not bother….I am surpized that you lived in Romania for 1 year, are married to a romanian woman and yet you write such things about romania that to me seem foreign. Yes , we have a problem with the gypsies, that is the only aspect I agree upon but to say that we are being racist in an “nonracist” way just because we are not used to seeing other races is plain ignorant . I live in a town (not big, nor small) where we have all sort of races: chinese and african people mostly.
    Anyway…I hope your opinion has been created after your stay in a small village in the countryside otherwise I can’t imagine why you would portay such an image of Romania especcialy since in all the major cities you can find any races from arabs from every arabic country possible to people from india or algeria, china etc.
    I don’t want to sound like I have an “inferiority complex” like you said , but I believe the image you portrayed here is from maybe the early 90′s right after the revoltuion, in any case not of the 2012 romania or 2011 when the article was written .

    Cristina

    • J.S. Bangs

      Cristina, I appreciate your comment and wanted to point out a few things. First off, I repeatedly said many Romanians act a certain way, not all Romanians. Things will vary a lot in different parts of the country. I spent most of my time in Suceava, a medium-sized city, and in the surrounding countryside. The major urban centers (Bucharest, Timisoara) may be different. In Suceava there are a very small number of Asians (maybe 2-3 families), and no black people at all, at least last time I was there.

      Nonetheless, what I wrote here really does reflect things that I consistently noticed while I was there. I had my Romanian family look over the article before I published it, and they agreed with most of what I wrote, and thought that I had done a fair job. Please note that I’m not trying to insult Romania with this article, I’m just trying to give visitors an idea of what they might encounter. I’d be very happy to hear that things have gotten better. I’ll be visiting the country for a month next year, so we’ll see then.

      • cristina

        The part which bothered me the most, and I am shocked that your wife agreed with you , is the ” Romanians and Anglophone whites” part where you did use the word
        ” everyone” (everyone will assume that you’re rich. And truth be told, you are pretty rich)

        You say you don’t want to be offensive and I beleive that, yet you portrey the romanians as being not only extremely naive but also ignorant, it’s almost like talking about how the indigenous people acted when they first saw the” civilized” people…you may say it is a bit much to say that but trust me, it’s not. i really don’t think you realize just how offensive you were in this part of your article and although I know this was not meant to offend , it does.

        My boyfriend’s familiy is English living in the UK and they have been coming to Romania since the 70′s and they indeed told me some of the things that you stated to be true about 20 years ago when romanians “have just been released” from comunism but even they say that things nowadays are nowhere near like they used to be. Many romanians nowadays go on holidays abroad, or go to work abroad in the western countries ( especially romanians from the countryside or small towns where the jobs are less payed) so they know what life is in the west, what the avarage life style is etc. so I do think your article or at least the part I was reffering to above is profoundly unreal and misleading for anyone who wants to come to Romania. Let’s not forget we are in the EU now, not “in the dark ages” of comunism anymore…

        We might know a lot more about your culture ( the wars, the “negroes” situation etc) than many of the Americans who are ignorant and don’t know or care about their own history not to mention the history of other people, the “average Joe’s” general culture rate is very low in America. ( I said many, not all but still sounds offensive doesn’t it?:).

        Anyway, I stand by my opinion and hope that your experience this year will be much better than last year’s ( although if you go to the same places and meet the same people I don’t think much will change) and I look forward to reading another article about your visit when you get back.

        Have a nice day.

      • J.S. Bangs

        Romanian perception of Westerners is probably the thing that’s changed the most in the last several years. The last time I actually lived in Romania was 2004, and I was there when Romania celebrated its entrance into the EU. (Which, by the way, was a terrible idea, and I wish Romania had never joined — but that’s a subject for another day.) Shortly after that the floodgates opened and it seemed like every Romanian with two good feet (and some without) went abroad looking for work.

        So you’re basically right about that: Western Europe and America have a lot less mystique for Romanians than they used to, and that part of my discussion above is probably out of date, and becoming more so.

      • You stayed in mother fucking Suceava????????? You didn`t even stay in Bucharest!!! You stayed in one of our poorest and most uneducated parts of our country…kind of like Kansas or Ohio or wherever your rednecks come from!
        FYI Jews do rule the world along with the House of Windsor and some other bunch of people-you would know all these things if you knew your World History!!!!!!
        But most americans are illiterate, uneducated and fat so why do I have any expectations from the lights of you is beyond me.

        ps: the whole world knows all americans are closed cases of stupid! If you didn`t have immigrants you`d starve to death !

      • Dear Mr J.S, Bangs,
        Your review on Romania is very disturbing and unkind. You claim that we are some undeveloped materialistic “whores” that believe in witchcraft and that we have this big problem, we are paranoid. For me, your article is funny and full of errors because I can see how wrong you are but others believe you and that’s not OK.
        First of all, Moldova is our poorest regions. Suceava, as you kindly explain for Cristina, is a small town, not a medium one. Have you even visited Bucharest, Constanta, Cluj or Timisoara? I bet you’ve never seen Sibiu, Brasov, and all the beauties our country has to offer. And, my friend, when you say : most of the romanians you do generalize because you used “most of”, not “some” which might have been more suitable.
        I must agree with Cristina, your article insulted me deeply because it is cruel and unjust. While accusing us of racism and stereotypes, you alone made this huge discrimination.
        1. Romanians know History better than many others because we have to learn it during high school to pass our exams. And I’m not speaking only about our History but the general one. We also know where the black people are, as a mater of fact my uncle is black, and we don’t treat him like some kind of marble.
        2. In Bucharest there is a Chinatown, which means that we have seen asians too.
        3. YES, we do believe in witchcraft, spells, Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and , in our opinion, Harry Potter exists, he is a rich short gypsy-wizard from England. Right? NO. We don’t believe in all of this and also we don’t practice woo-doo.
        4. We don’t hate all the gypsies. There are 2 different kind of them, those who are going to schools, are living in normal houses, are going everyday at work, like most of us, and there are the poor ones who don’t want to work or to get over their actual state. But we don’t have them, we are just sick and tired of the beggars and thieves.
        5. I have lived all my life in Bucharest and I’ve never paid/expected for someone to pay for me or to bring me presents. We are not beggars, we work hard for what we have.

        P.S. Romania entered in EU in 2007 , not in 2004 as you claimed. In 2004 Romania entered in NATO. So, maybe you’ll visit Romania again, and stop being so narrow minded. Yes, we expect something from you, the westerns, to be more open-minded, carefree and fair , because after the WW2 , you were free, you could watch TV and say whatever without being persecuted, you were able to choose your president and to fight about it while we were under terror, fighting for our lives, for our future. We have struggled from 1945 until 1989 and that’s a hell of a period. So, please, don’t get me wrong when I can’t step aside and watch how an ignorant foreign offends my country, because you got that wrong mister, we are pretty proud about who we are.

      • Luigi

        Everybody keep calm. Mr. Bangs is right from the point of view of an first world country foreigner in Romania, pretty much you will encounter what he says.

        You can already see how the Romanians jump him because they believe what they want to believe at the moment because of their frustration, and they cannot see it as an outsider.

        They still bribe nurses in the hospitals, doctors, priests to do their job and teachers, cops to do not. And cops that will not accept bribe from an “important” man with high relations will be finished by his superiors. This is most of it because of the infected system that there is in Romania since 1990. Traitors sold the country and Romania now is suffering because of killing one of the greatest leader they ever had in this new era.The communism time was the best thing that ever happend to Romania since… (when did the last great thing happend to Romania? im asking the Romanians) If you cross the country, you visit the cities… everything was made by Ceausescu. Everything whats concrete, and you are going to start appreciate when you are going to see a brand new road or building at “low cost” how it looks.

        Low hopes mentality. Its depressing when you know an average salary is $250 and their boss spends more on two tires of his car, or better yet… spends a lot more a week on “nothing” actually. And talks dirty, can be brutal… and gets away with anything. Simple citizens of Romania have to face this everyday. Imagine how fulfilled is their temper when rich and poor live together in missery. You never know who shuts you up and when. How your friend of a lifetime sells you out for a “sit” at an unpromised table. After that, seems like nothing doing it to a stranger. Hey, you’re the sucker if you trust just a face.

        Romania its a country where you are getting robbed by the bank, the state… in your face! Cannot do nothing about it. Justice is down the hill. But believe me, if justice could be served to almost everybody as they deserved, this country can get up in 2 2-5 years and be the coolest to live in Easter block of Europe. Romania has a lot of potential to grow. Still, now, the conditions can be very inconvenient when you go places and spend a little more and you get shitty treatment and conditions. Romanians make vacations in Turkey, Greece, Croatia because of its conditions and the prices are lower than going to Constanzza, at the Black Sea, for example.

        In Romania you can have a nice mountain vacation with a lot of thermal water places that is so healthy and relaxing, you might not want to leave. The mountains and forests are incredibly amazing if you travel through the country. The food with their own specifics tastes really great. You don’t have to eat what you don’t like, it can be some nasty stuff too. They eat with a lot of fat in the country side.
        Women are just beautiful. Everywhere, right? They are a little materialistic, a little more perhaps. Its because of the poverty. They all want to live confortable one day.

        The main Romanian’s wondering thought is: How would be life with no worries of money?! In God they trust, too!
        Yeah! You can find pot in almost every neighborhood, less in the Moldova region which is the poorest. You don’t want to find more than pot, it comes with high risks.

        ——————————————
        What did I say and its not right? I am not evaluating every Romanian person I met, just the majority on a scale.

      • Roxi

        Luigi, the majority of women are not materialistic, I think if you count all the woman few are only for the money, like in all countries, it’s not good to point only the bad things to describe a country if all the things match in every other place, maybe even more. Everything that you’ve just said it happens in U.S.A., U.K. and in the entire world. I have to say that brutal murders are less here then developed countries, never heard of someone killing her husband/wife for the money, not yet. So it’s a safer place to live than many who object something about Romania. Of course we feel offended if we read lies or half of truth, we try to clear the situation. I saw documentaries about U.S.A. of people who had 3 jobs to sustain their family, so the difference between salaries are accetable here. Talk about pot? We are good in what concern drugs, cause the procentage is low compared with other european countries, not even mention about other continents. You can have a good life depending on the path you take, you can’t not always find the right one or have the luck. I saw many things about other developed countries and I can say here is still good. Coruption? Everywere. But you can walk on the street without fearing to be shot. Poverty? This happens most of the people that forget to stop having kids, or gypsies, or other wierd situations, in every country the boss spends a lot more than the employee, in other countries spend on a dinner the sallary of 5 people. What Romania misses the most is the romanians who help their country, honest people who work before blaming people for what they have, who look the bright side of it, not only the bad things that every country has it, Romania misses the confidence of the romanians. Don’t describe something about 10 % that you know, describe something when you’re aware of it 100%.

      • Cata

        Hey Mr. Bangs, Romania entered EU in 2007, you haven’t been to the History classes I reckon…
        What can you expect from an illiterate people as Americans?

      • J.S. Bangs

        My comment above was unclear. I lived in Romania in 2004, but I was visiting for a few weeks on 2007 when we entered the EU.

  7. cristina

    Romania joining EU may have some disadvantages but for the avarage romanian there are a few considerable advantages that directly affect them whilst the political or macro economical disadvantages do not affect them directly.

    Such an advantage is being able to visit any European country without needing a Visa . I know for you it doesn’t seem like much because you were born with this “privilege” but I know what waiting for hours on queues at the Embassy for a Visa, (being asked unconfortable questions and being suspected of not being truthfull, that you want to emigrate etc.) means and trust me it’s not pleasent. And not even this would be so bothering if you knew you would certainly get it but in many cases you would’t.( like for Americans…you need visas in some countries but you know there’s no chance of not geting it, it’s a simple formality).

    You are right about the work migration but this is both an advantage and a disadvantage as the money sent home from the people working abroad have kept the economy floating for many years and many poor families have been able to work abroad and offer their children an education and life they probably would never have had unless they went to work abroad. I was fortunate that my parents payed for my univeristy studies but I had a lot of colegues whose parents had to work abroad to be able to pay for the fees and rent.

    After reading my previous comments I now find them very argumentative but that was not what I intended. It’s just that I did not find myself or any of the people I am surrounded by in the things you wrote because the new generation is miles apart from the last one, and I belive that we can change this country for the better and in my mind I do not consider myself below anybody in this world, being American or Western European , so I felt rather put down by what you said.

    Have a nice day!

    • Joe

      I have to comment hear as well. The mentality in Romania is very bizarre..very illogical and very unfriendly for foreigners. There are new buildings and people speaking English and eating at Mcdonalds but the heart of the culture is foreign and frankly offensive to foreigners because it is based on a lack of logic and ”no-can-do” attitude combined with a stubborn insistance that this way is the only right way. it’s arrogance meets ignorance. i’ve been in many eastern countries..no where nearly as closed minded as here and foreigners are always stupid when they are different in their way of acting even when they are clearly right. and no one in romania is every wrong.

      And I will tell you this from the bottom of my heart, bless you, I know you don’t think is true.. and maybe less true among the Bucharest middle class but nationwide very true.. foreigners are good for one thing money.

      bye the way, like the author my wife is romanian and my son is half romanian.
      this isn’t racism.

      • cristina

        I am sorry you feel this way…Again, I don’t identify with the things you said , and I am not from Bucharest, I am from Baia Mare.

  8. George

    Hy up there ! I would like to make a comment to this article. I do not doubt about the good nature and good spirit of Mr. Bangs ,in judging Romanians, however to compare Suceava with the hole of the country is like judging the hole of USA ,after you lived 1 year in El Paso ,Texas.Prejudgements are everywhere in the world and they are tied up to their own cultural place.
    I am myself romanian ,left for USA in 1975 and now I live in Denmark and by the way ,the turks and arabs in western Europe they have about the same status as gypsies have in Romania.
    Believe or not ,true or false …you can be the judge but you need time to understand a culture.
    All the best folks !!!

    • Artist

      Yet in the usa turks and arabs are put high as a result of being ‘exotic’. Still rank above black americans. Its all the same deal. In holland its the morrocans, in the uk its the pakistanians and sometimes the irish. Every society has its scapegoat and pee on.

  9. Fuck u

    how the fuck our u ass holes are going to come to our conutry with ur ideas about how we so act who sould run our goverment or other stuff like and one bigg thing compared to us u ass holes are rich a a america make 100 a hour a romanian 100 a year and gypes are thives dirtty ugly and stupited the steal from trashs and curse everywere the rish one that dont look like gypes stole so much from europe that they live in fucking castles

  10. Silwer

    Because they know how to run their own country in a great way, you stupid mophead… In my opinion, if britons or americans would have run our country, they would have make waaaaay better than etnical Romanians. And you could have give them all our beautiful girls.

  11. I’m very interested in visiting Romania, I’m from Orlando Fl but i was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I find Romanian women very attractive and wanna visit a nice city where i can just tour around and maybe meet my future wife..What are good recommendations???

    • Oana

      Romania is a wonderful country and almost everything J.S. Bangs said is FALSE. Do not trust a person who doesn’t know a thing about Romania, but trust a Romanian who says that the country is a wonderful place to visit and to live in. ;)
      Try Bucharest! :)

    • Artist

      You are crazy. Your chances of finding a ‘good’ romanian woman is less than winning the lottery. Unless you are rich and like being lied to and used i would stay away from them. But i cqn understand you wanting to find a nice woman. Orlando ranks very low in so many things and finding a normal woman in mind and body would prove difficult there. Its even worse in tampa. There are some romanians and russians who work for the rat. You just have to find someone to get you into vista way. Also check out panama city, they have a huge russian exchange program there. The girls work at local hotels for a few months.

      • cristina

        At first I thought you were just being sexist and judgemental about romanian women and wanted to say that no matter the race, country or culture, people will always be judgemental in a way or another. But after reading all you comments I now realise that your opinion of the Romanian women is based only on a certain girl that made you suffer and I can understand your frustration to a certain extend, but being a romanian woman myself I felt offended by your comments knowing that I am not like what you described us to be. Anyway, hope your perspective on life changes and you get what you deserve.

      • Roxi

        Well after reading your comments it becomes clear to mee that you deserved that whore…If I met many idiot men should I generalize? If so then I’m allowed to say you’re an idiot and a pig. I saw many documentaries about materialistic women who killed their spouses for their money, never happend in Romania. It is true that SOME women abuse their beauty and take advantages from the stupid perverts who only want them for their looks and sex.

  12. adrian

    Bla,bla,bla…so i’ll be rude like all romanians are..I’m against racism,i’m tolerant,open minded,but those romanians are really retarded…my name is J.S.Bangs,i couldn’t find an all american pure race woman so i’ve married a racist ,ignorant romanian woman..first of all mind u’re own bussiness,u don’t know either the people or the country that well in order to have an opinion or to do a blog about this fake impression of yours.All the countries in the world have racist people,all the countries in the world have region underdevoloped economically,socialy,in mentality,etc.U’ve been there,if u look on the map to see where Suceava is u can get an idea that is not that cosmopolite.As almost all the ignorant romanians i know for example the south of the U.S.A is racist,religious,retarded,poorer,u don’t know shit and u make a blog to express an idea just like that bitch of yours Madonna that made an appeal to the romanians not to discriminate romanians.We let the gypsies travel in our buses not like u americans that had a special place for coloured people,in the back,we let the gypsies vote for allways,not starting 1940′s,we ended that so called slavery long before u,and when i mean ended u’ve ended it for real not on a treaty only,we although poor gave them money as an incentive for every child born,the only condition for them to get the money till 18 years was to keep going to school.That’s why Romania has so many gypsies because they could manage living only by reproducing.We are the country com gypsy parties.The name of ROMANI was invented in 1993 by the fucking U.E,as we had many gypsies they can take our name too.I was raised in a neighbourhood with a lot of gypsies being as poor as them,the only difference was that i was an only chid,but i also had only one parent,the most of them don’t want to work,the money is not enough so they preffer robbing,singing,asking for money,go to youtube u ignorant,know it all,head of the world american that u are,and look for the gypsies houses,cars in Romania,gypsies receiving wellfare with huge mansions.Because of the name confusion and that love the gypies have for work romanians are seen like the most laziest,thiefes in Europe,see most recently in France,u ignorant,
    Sarkozy sent them back,a part of them to Romania,who is intolerant now?I live in the very open minded ,extremely different mentality,lol,western country now,a country that had colonies all over the world,are they more tolerant?they have a word:”the work is for the black”….this shit u’re sayings work with another ignorant americans or western they also don’t even know where we are on the map,don’t know any language besides yours,but u made an opinion maybe in a bar talking with a faggot that didn’t scored in Romania

    • Artist

      John delorean was of romanian origin. He designed the famous GTO and delorean auto as seen in the back to the future movie. Romanian men are cool. I truly believe that it is the romanian women who hold romanian men back.

      • What is it, dude, Nadia Comaneci, Gabriela Szabo, Sandra Izbasa don’t mean a thing, right? They are just some romanian women, they all beat the hell out of the competition during the Olympics so don’t you dare come and offend all of us because some chick played with you and than left you. You are hurt, you want revenge, but stop talking shit about all of us.
        I don’t know from what cave you’ve came but you are one judgemental sexist brat and you should get over your big self and stop being such an whiny calumniator.

  13. adrian

    I think u’re exotic romanian wife is in fact a gypsy,that’s why u defend them…dark hair,dark skin,swears alot,stinks,lazy…u’ve been conned,lol…ignorant people u americans,i’ve met a couple that was almost getting in the wrong plane they wanted to go to Spain’s capital Madrid but they were going to Madeira Islands…i bet after all this years married to a romanian gypsy u don’t speak romanian..grow up man,leave those opinions that u afterwards interpret them as u want(they are racist,but not all ofcourse)aside and talk only after having more life experience.U’re country is hated in the world because of this know it all atitudes,u’re situation with the minorities is different.For example Great Britain was doing the same thing,accusing us of being racists,till some romanian gypsy assaulted a parliament lady,the french before us entering the E.u.said the same,they ended deporting U.E.citizens to Romania,whose the tolerant now?That things u said the romanians teach their kids the gypsy still and stuff it’s based on hundreds of years experience,it’s true

    • Marta

      Why would you even care if his wife is ”pure romanian” or not, dear? Because racism blurs your mind just like your writing, isn’t it?

      There are so many comments and reactions on this page that prove the great ignorance, racism and unfounded superiority complex that exist in Romania! :D

  14. adrian

    We didn’t made reservations for our indians like u nore hunt them down lke u,U.S next idea,nozy as u are is making a country for them,i hope it will be on your territory or some others nazi’s country that know what Romania is territory’s.

  15. Natalia

    I am from Moscow, Russia, but have been living in the US since I was 15 (I am now 30). I was born in the 80s, and lived there through the 90s. We had A LOT of gypsies, and ALL of them were unwashed, swindlers, sent their toddlers to beg in the subway, walked around snatching purses, etc. If you saw a gypsy, you moved 10 meters, cause it was trouble. They all had gangs, so you couldn’t just tell one to get lost: there would be retaliation from the whole group.
    As far as Romania: I have never been there, but since it is close in mentality to Russia, I can say that most of my Russian friends think that Americans swim in cash and eat it for dinner. Also, it is clear that Russia has an inferiority complex, because only a person with that complex would concentrate so much on others and ignore their own issues.
    NOT all Russians obviously think that way, but a good amount.
    PS Back to gypsies: I have actually met some in the US, at a hotel where I worked: they swindled half the gift shop, didnt go to sleep AT ALL, ruined the room, and then left without paying. Pretty much everyone hates them, rightfully so. I am not racist, I just judge things on how I see them.

  16. Hi! Interesting article and comments.

    I’m Romanian living in Bucharest.and I want make some remarks.

    I noticed Joe’s “negative” comment and I have to agree with him for most of his assertions, but I would say that the situation is not uniform. Maybe Joe lived mostly in southern Romania, perhaps Bucharest, where there are a lot of rude, primitive and immoral people (maybe not the most of them anyway). The situation is better in Transylvania and under some aspects in Moldavia (eastern Romania).

    I also would like to say that, refering to most Romanians, not (only) to my case, that Romanians are friendly toward the West, but this may not be apparent in contacts of Westerners with them because of Romanians’ fear.

    Romanians suffered a collective and personal trauma during Communism (far more than any other Eastern European peoples, closer to what North Korean suffer), being isolated and deprived of the sources of personal development people in Western countries had. Also during Ceaușescu time they’re deprived of food, heat and many other facilities, they were living in grim commie apprtment blocks (they still live in them but the conffort improved radically) and that lead to their brutalizing.

    About Gipsies, most ‘stereotypes’ are unfortunately true for most of them, nevertheless there are good people among them as well.

    It seem that the situation is changing to the good, people get more educated, the civil society get stronger and the values of civilty, respect, politeness become more and more important, pace with the economical development which really is on the good way.

    This was about Romanians, now I would like to say something about Romania. You have to leave the cities to understand this country, although many cities (in Transylvania almost all) have interesting things to see.

    The rural and natural Romania is an unbelievable hidden treasure. Nowhere in Europe there is such a mix a cultures, so many ethnicities living together for centuries, such a contrast and difference between regions. Is like there are several countries, not one, each with their own kind of life, mentalities, traditions, architecture. If you study the history of each historical region, or travel by yourself, you’ll discover this richness and contrast: southern Romania with Byzantine and Balkanic influence, Bucharest with its pretensions of being a little Paris (due to orientation toward French language and culture in 19th century), Dobruja which was inhabited mostly by Turks and Tatars up to 19th century and is filled with historical mosques, as well with ruins of ancient Greek and Roman cities, Danube Delta (a sort of European little Amazonia) where a group of Russian religious refugee lived as fishermen since 17th century, Moldavia that had an original culture in middle age influenced by both Byzantium and Western world through Hungary and Poland, later by Russian empire, Transylvania, where Romanians, Hungarians (half of them being a special ethnic group, called Székely) and Germans (called Transylvanian Saxons) have lived together for more than 800 years but preserved each one their distinctive culture (the Romanians in the form of a myriad of very different ethnographic zones) and leaving an impressive architectural heritage (the German area is a open air museum of medieval architecture, with fairy tale cities and villages having fortified churches and peasant castles), the Banat and Crișana (the Western part of Romania, bordering Hungary and Serbia) where 18th-19th century colonists from Germany, Slovakia and Bohemia have created a different sort of civilisation and where there are magnificent Baroque-Neoclassical cities and towns, Maramureș in extreme northern Romania where Romanians developed a unique wooden civilisation and finnaly Bukovina, the heart of Moldavia, with mirific landscapes and traditional architecture.

    Also from the pov of natural heritage, Romania is incredible wild, we have the last primeval (prehistorical) forests of temperate and southern Europe and half of Europe’s bears, wolves and lynxes live in our Carpathians, who are mountains with an extreme variety of geological forms and who surround Transylvania like a sort of giant natural fortresss, crossed by magnificicent canyons that were and still are the main passes between the historical provinces.

    Also, Danube is a magnificent river, the biggest in Europe and with the richest history and cultural significance from all European rivers. It has the longest canyon in Europe (134 km) and one of the biggest in the world by water flow (a sort of Yang Tze of our continent) and on its 1050 km Romanian sector has many wild habitates, including the 5,000 km² Delta, a world of water channels, lakes, floodplain forests similar to Amazonia, inhabited by millions of animals, especially birds. Is the most precious complex of ecosystems of Europe and has incredible beautiful landscapes.

    What is characteristic for all Romania (except the arid parts of Dbrouja) is the unexpected richness of vegetation, also its healthy condition, the innumerable wild flowers that covers the fields and mountains, something you would find only in very well preserved natural areas of the world, like the alpine zones from Western Canada and NW US. Romania is like a wild garden or unexplored territory, most of the places are unspoiled and the way the land is owned and (un)fenced makes a pleasure to travel, bike or hike almost everywhere, even in the flat areas. It gives you a very “at home” feeling, no matter you’re Romanian or foreigner.

    So, with all bad aspects, Romania is a very attractive and pleasantful country and as the road and touristic infrastrucutre is much better than you’d expect (and is getting better by day), visiting it would make an wonderfull impression.

    • Artist

      You are correct. I traveled far outside of the city and experienced much beauty. Romania has a lot to offer and its countryside is stunning. The people were nice and it is a different world from the perverted hell found in Bucharest. My host was a lowlife. Her and her mother almost spoiled the day and our time in the countryside. However despite them I still enjoyed the time I spent outside of the city for the most part. I hope my host ( ex gf) rots in hell along with her entire family.

      • Bucharest can be a mess at times but it’s only because people from all over Romania came here to work. Andrei, i live in Bucharest but I’m 75% Hungarian. And I’ve been visiting my relatives in Ardeal often and yes, you are calm and kind. The only difference is that we are always in a rush. If you take time to know us, Artist, because we are not all like your ex. You people need to stop generalize.

  17. sean xavier

    IM FROM INDIA FAIRER THAN TANNED COLOUR(dark n white somtimes)im going to romania in 1 month to a city called ARAD!!to become a DOCTOR!!!AND everybody here are just SCAAAAARING ME!!!please i need some advice… :(

      • Oana

        Dear Mr. J.S. Bangs, even if you write another article about Romania, it is not going to erase this one and all the bad comments that followed.
        I have a request for you. Please, do NOT write another article about Romania because you don’t know a thing and you offend an entire country. You don’t have this right!
        I am very sorry for you that your wife gave this impression to you: that we ask for money, we feel inferior, etc. I don’t want to insult her, but you insulted a whole nation. Just to let you know, Romanian are educated people that don’t need money from “western people”. How dare you write such a thing? Is this what your wife did when she met you?
        I suppose that you saw how many Romanian people started to write here to defend their country against all the lies you wrote!!! The educated, civilized Romanian people that you were so blind to see because of your marriage with that woman. I really think that she has an inferiority complex if she allowed her husband to write such awful things about her own country. And all her family, too, if they gave their consent for this article. But just to inform you mister, all the other Romanians are not like that! Too bad for you!

      • RB

        Nu sunt de acord cu Oana când spune că omul de rând cu o educaţie medie (adică marea parte a populaţiei) nu simte că România a fost tratată nedrept de lumea occidentală. Adevărul este că România s-a simţit într-adevăr trădată când, după Al Doilea Război Mondial, a fost practic “servită” Uniunii Sovietice în urma jocurilor “din culise” (citiţi pe Wikipedia articolele intitulate “Vin americanii!” şi “Percentages agreement” ca să înţelegeţi mai bine chestiunea).

        Totuşi, ea are dreptate când spune că după un articol scris într-un ton destul de dojenitor care, să fim sinceri, nu face deloc cinste românilor şi reacţia înverşunată din comentarii, orice articol aţi scrie va părea a fi doar aşa, un efort palid, ca să mai împăcaţi spiritele, şi cu greu puteţi să spălaţi impresia lăsată şi sentimentul de jignire creat. Practic, sună cam ceva de genul “sunteţi cu toţii nişte xenofobi needucaţi şi încuiaţi la minte, dar sarmalele voastre sunt grozave!”.

      • The ones with inferiority complexes and who cannot think out of their outraged national vanity are you, Oana, and the lot feeling so overly offended.
        JS, I find your articles inspirational and they will help me in what I want to write about Romania (my home country) and Romanians.

      • Marta

        Mr. Bangs, thank you for writing this true objective article. Many Romanians need to start caring besides their money and education about their internal values and how they see and treat other human beings, no matter what skin colour they have.

        I have personally witnessed racist comments towards gipsy children who were sick in hospitals made by the nurses who had been trained to help everyone get better, especially children. This is the deep humanitarianism and professionalism that exists in Romania!

    • Artist

      Don’t be scared, just be careful. Watch your back, especially the women. Romanians have turned lying into sport. It’s just natural for them to lie.

  18. Sleeping Beauty

    I love Romania /so/ much, and ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by it (not just because of Dracole and his/Bran’s Castle), and plan to make a fantasy series (/not/ vampires/werewolves, those are so two/three years ago, lol) based around it, what with the darker times and wars and all. So, just wanted to say that the article really helped with my research on Romania/ns, though I know every individual is different.

    Especially Transylvania. Gah<3

    - Love,
    Aur

  19. Dragos

    Want to learn real stuff about Romania? Here is something more clear, not what you see in a small poor city like Suceava:

    Hope this makes things more clear

  20. Artist

    I am of part black american origin and I resided in Romania for almost two months. I can tell you that much of the material written here is true. I was never treated badly in romania for my color, other than a few cruel stares. Usually from women, however overall my experience was okay when dealing with everyday romanians. I will say that romania is totally corrupt. The romanian people could be so much more. They have a lot of potential to be a significant world player. But they simply cannot break free of being corrupt. Also they are so obsessed with hating gypsies. The only reason why they do not come down on blacks as much is as a result of how much time they devote to hating gypsies. My host lied to me, insulted me, used me and tried to get me to take care of her entire family. As well as pay her college tuition! I had no valie beyond that. Romanians worship money and embrace the absolute worst of western (usa) capitalist culture. They are also into reality tv bigtime and dream of living in southern california. My host’s mother was a gold digger who would sell her own daughter out. Totally corrupt people who somehow believe that they are moral. They make TD Jakes and other american tv evangelists look like saints. I got my heart broken in romania but it serves me right. Many people tried to warn me not to go there. But I did not listen and I got abused and used. I do hope that my host rots in hell, her entire family actually. However, despite my poor experience. I still view the romanian people in a positive way. There are some treasures to be found in their land and I admired their men for maintaining some level of respect for themselves despite all that they have suffered thru. I actually have more respect for romanian men than the women. The women are just a bunch of arrogant, ignorant gold digging prostitutes. Romanian men deserve better. My heart still hurts after my experience in romania. All that i can say is that it was a learning experience. I was deeply disturbed though with the lost dogs and so many broken homeless children. I saw a boy with no feet. The romanians spat on him for asking for money. It was truly the third world horror. Though the situation of blacks in the usa in some places can partially approach that level of poverty. I still will say that romanians treated me far better than usa whites. There was at least a respect for my intellectual/creative accomplishments. Which in the usa are generally dismissed and ridiculed by american closet racists. ie- ‘liberals’ and other two faced american lowlifes. At least the romanians are honest in their hate.

    • Ct

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m an Asian married to a Romanian living abroad and while I would love to see and respect my husband’s culture, I am also highly anxious about it due to my experiences with them here (his family hated our union). Reading your comment and the angry Romanian comments here certain do not help. I am also interested in knowing what they think of mixed children. Can anybody with experience in this please reply to the thread.

      • J.S. Bangs

        Did you read my follow-up article about the good aspects of Romanian culture? Despite the negative elements that I explored in this article, I really think that Romania is a wonderful place, and Romanians are generally wonderful people.

        You will probably have some difficulties with your in-laws. This is inevitable and nearly universal. However, I think that you’ll find that things are not as bad as you fear, and that it’ll be possible to have positive, friendly relationships with almost every Romanian that you meet. Remember, internet comment threads don’t represent the best of Romania or anybody else :).

      • Roxi

        Who wouldn’t be angry if reading some false things about their country, culture or people. I think, and I’ve said it before here, in every country you’ll se the same things, If I would go in Asia and marry do you think my husband’s familly would aspect me with the wide open arms? I didn’t think so either, especially old people. But with pacience things will be ok. By the way, many mothers with boys don’t love their spouses cause they think no women is good enough fot their precious little boys, but it’s the man job to give you the right place. Don’t forget when you describe Romania not to mark some things that happens all over the world, there aren’t romanian things but just things.

  21. andy

    im romanian as well
    and yes we are racist people towards the gypsies and there are many good reasons for that , im not going to explain why now
    and we romanians arent that great ether were the nomber 2 in europe as the most corrupted country and the as well one of the most expensive country in europe

  22. Alexandra

    Interesting article!

    There are some nice fine Romanian people but the majority can be pretty rude, materialistic, envious and ignorant. And you can hardly find genuine or stylish personalities. AND THEY ARE VERY RASIST INSPITE OF THE MILLIONS THAT HAVE LEFT THE COUNTRY AND SETTLED SOMEWHERE ELSE. One would think that this should have taught them some humanity and tolerance. But this kind of experience is not enough for the dear wise Romanian people. Maybe a few centuries from now on…YOU WILL HEAR ROMANIAN PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY HATE GYPSIES BECAUSE THEY STEAL, ARE AGGRESIVE, CAN’T BE TRUSTED, ETC. THAT IS NOT THE WHOLE TRUTH. THEY SIMPLY HATE ANY PERSON OF GYPSY DESCENDENCE OR WITH A DARKER SKIN WITHOUT TAKING IN CONSIDERATION THE QUALITIES OR THE BEHAVIOUR OF THAT PERSON. BECAUSE THERE ARE NICE DECENT HONEST INTELLIGENT PEOPLE OF GYSPSY ORIGIN WITH A DARKER SKIN/OR NOT AND THEY SUFFER DISCRIMINATION AND HUMILIATION ALL THEIR LIFE. In the last years quite a few people of gypsy lineage have become famous in Romania because of their talent, they are good citizens, honest, decent, and even successful but they are still regarded as ‘gypsies’! There are many gypsies that have nothing ‘gypsy’ in them but still there are so many Romanian that despise them for the simple fact that they have a gypsy origin and/or a darker skin. So, no, not all the gypsies are thieves, dirty, etc. But many Romanian people see no difference and feel no difference. Shame on all these wonderful Romanian people who don’t evaluate their conscience and have no healthy objective criteria when evaluating other people.

    In my opinion, the country is very beautiful but most of the people are not nice people. They may be very friendly to tourists coming from more developed countries, but their mentality is soooo retarded and prejudicial.

    Racist tendencies can be found in many countries but people don’t express them openly because of the social pressure and because we are now learning that racism is bad and unfair but ROMANIAN PEOPLE ARE RACIST AND VERY PROUD OF BEING RACIST!

    • Roxi

      Sincer tu esti mai mult decat rasista, numai prin faptul ca generalizezi, cel mai rusinos lucru la unii romani dupa parerea mea e ca isi vorbeste propriul popor de rau numai poate ar iesi intr-o lumina mai buna in fata strainilor.

      • Marta

        Whenever the Romanians generalize about all gypsies and simply prefer to forget about the amount of honest hardworking gypsies that are in Romania or they just despise them all anyway because of their dark skin or gypsy origin, they deserve the same generalizations applied to them. Many foreigners actually do generalize about Romanian emigrants…and the Romanian emigrants tend to get upset and feel it’s unfair, but well, hopefully, they’ll learn something valuable out of that and become better people. Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you, they say.

  23. Kelly

    My ex-husband is from Romania. I am from NY. We traveled to Romania with our son back in 2004, and I really felt like I was in that movie, Meet the Parents, I unfortunately in Ben Stiller’s role. Everything I said and did was misinterpreted. My brother-in-law prepared pork chops for us on an ingenious indoor grill pan I had never seen before. Just making conversation, I remarked what a great pan it was. Well, it was assumed that I was asking him to give me the pan. When I mentioned that my mother-in-law’s cooking reminded me of my German-American family meals, oh was that a can of worms I opened up – the Germans stole everything from Romania…..His family was very kind and the countryside beautiful. But I did feel that sense of being resented the author was talking about. And a bitter pessimism that insulted my sincere good intentions. A popular phrase there is, “Brother, brother…But the eggs must be paid for…” Not to mention the misogyny.

  24. Cezar

    There are cultural and behaviour differences between every single country on this planet. For a certain reason, most of the stereotypes regarding romanians are related to poverty (when they see u as a westerner they think you’re rich, well, guess what: you don’t earn 200 euros a month on average!) , discrimination against gipsies and an inferiority complex which romanians display.
    On each point there is a piece of information which is missing from this article:
    1. As somebody coming from the western world you could not possibly understand what it actually means for your monthly salary to be smaller than the basic rent for your house.
    2. The person that posted this article visits north and north-east Romania. Maybe one of the few places where gipsies acutally behave, resort themselves to selling in the market and other such jobes. He did, on the other hand, forget to mention the south, center and west of romania, where mafia type gipsy clans are terrorising the streets of each major city. You americans have enslaved black people in the past but they were never feared. Romanians have NOT enslaved gipsies but they fear them. Romanians were not involved in slave trading with gipsies and romanians did not bring them in for their own benefit.
    3. You will find an inferiority complex in Romania with almost each person you meet. It is due to the fact that international communities treat this country in such a way. There is a lot of unfairness going on in the EU, most western countries talk about “eastern europeans” as a big source of problems in their countries. Given that the average east european is willing to work more and harder for their money, posting as a serious threat for the average “western” citizen, who is not able to adapt to competition. Western media enjoys highlighting corruption in countries like Romania or Bulgaria but turns their eye from the one in their own country. All over the news, Romania is presented as the Cinderella of the EU and the list can go on forever.
    My main point is: Understanding the situation of a country before visiting it could be a good way to judge its people.

    • Cezar

      There are cultural and behaviour differences between every single country on this planet. For a certain reason, most of the stereotypes regarding romanians are related to poverty (when they see u as a westerner they think you’re rich, well, guess what: you don’t earn 200 euros a month on average!) , discrimination against gipsies and an inferiority complex which romanians display.
      On each point there is a piece of information which is missing from this article:
      1. As somebody coming from the western world you could not possibly understand what it actually means for your monthly salary to be smaller than the basic rent for your house.

      2. The person that posted this article visits north and north-east Romania. Maybe one of the few places where gipsies acutally behave, resort themselves to selling in the market and other such jobes. He did, on the other hand, forget to mention the south, center and west of romania, where mafia type gipsy clans are terrorising the streets of each major city. You americans have enslaved black people in the past but they were never feared. Romanians have NOT enslaved gipsies but they fear them. Romanians were not involved in slave trading with gipsies and romanians did not bring them in for their own benefit.
      Gipsies were generally brought to the romanian principates by the Otoman Empire which had sovereignty over Moldavia, north Transilvania and other territories. The people that actually exploited the gipsies in these territories were the ones put in power by the turks, not etnic Romanians.

      3. You will find an inferiority complex in Romania with almost each person you meet. It is due to the fact that international communities treat this country in such a way. There is a lot of unfairness going on in the EU, most western countries talk about “eastern europeans” as a big source of problems in their countries. Given that the average east european is willing to work more and harder for their money, posting as a serious threat for the average “western” citizen, who is not able to adapt to competition. Western media enjoys highlighting corruption in countries like Romania or Bulgaria but turns their eye from the one in their own country. All over the news, Romania is presented as the Cinderella of the EU and the list can go on forever.
      My main point is: Understanding the situation of a country before visiting it could be a good way to judge its people.

  25. Ionut-Mihai

    Hello world!
    First of all, please escuse my writing because i know i write “horrible” in english. So, I was living unill a few years ago in romania, i am a romanian citizen, i lived in a quite intresting city around sibiu. I did had time and whith some eforts the necesary money to travel (working), but in my opinion, and i don`t know how many of “my kind” will agree whit me sayig this but we are a fuckt up countrye, I don`t say that americans are better, i have a impresion that they are idiots and can`t “mind their own bussines” and they are obsesed by weapons, wars and some of them dont know that u.s.a. is not the only place on the planet and other people live here. The fact that made me write a comment on your article started when i needed a lemon to wipe my nausea caused by your article. I think you dont know shit about our country, i think you meet the whorst people romania can have. Like you, other idiots camed and sayd “aa, we know what is wrong with this country, with this part of europe” but the sad fact is that you dont know shit. It was the same when america whent in all thous wars, all the countryes they fucked trying to “fix” . You cannot see the imense pile of shit standing in your “back yard” but sudenly you know the solution for world peace? Everybody is fuckt in his own way, we all have problems but we all have something in comon: we don`t need you. Answer this question, where you feal safer (whithout wearing a gun) in america where a fuckt up kid whit fuckt up parents can go whit a gun in a school and kill everybody, a place where everybody diferent is seen as a potential “next bin laden” , a place where when you walk on a street and you might be hit by a lost bullet from a gang fight for drugs or in romania where we have problems whit everybody because everybody whants to steal from us, a place where good people ar shadowed by the bad ones? Can you be onest and answer that? You say romanian know americans only like “hollywood version of california and new york” and you are wrong again, some people know your “violent history”, some people can see you as who you are not as you pretend to be. You want to find more about gypsyes and why romanian hate them so much? try to tipe in google or on youtube “tiganii” not gypsyes and you will see not the “fabulos” culture and how pore they are but you will see that is no place in the world where they have been and dindt make us look like “monkeys”. Reed about the real gypsyes not the one you see on tv, poor with no education and so on, see how many of them are going to school, see how many of them work for a living insteed of stealing or beging for money, how many of them are not involved in human traffic or prostitution…you have a big list to see so for the future, if you meet 10 persons, dont hurry to judge a entire country. If you have real things to say, say them but if you dont, like they say in “your movies” : shut the fuck up!

  26. No, No, No… I’ve lived in Romania (in a very small village in the Carpathians) for almost 5 years now. The Romania above, and listed in so many comments is NOT the Romania I know. Yes, paperwork is terrible and it seems like the one computer that every office does own is a 486 with dial up access, but with joking aside. I love this country more than my home of Canada. Yes, I’m asked for money sometimes, and just like any other person who asks to borrow money from me, I make it a personal choice based on how well i know that person. When you say Romanians are “Corrupt” what else do you expect when you’re given a salary of around $200 USD a month? Of course a doctor will see you faster if you hand him 100RON of course the city will enter your paperwork without any problems if you give them a gift bag with some wine and chocolates. But wouldn’t anyone, in any country?

    The gypsies, at least where we are, are fantastic, some are wealthy, some are dirt poor, but every single one knows us, knows we’re good people, fair, and hard working. They are NOT out to steal your stuff and would rather work for you doing odd jobs or work off a loan than have to beg in the streets. Many migrate to Italy to work in agriculture, and many gypsies are very proud people. The few that you see give the rest a bad name, and even the gypsies have a name for those ones.

    The countryside, and people and traditions are facinating, rich and very proud, the culture and thoughtfullness of the people are awe inspiring, and the hospitality, save a very few is over the top especially when you consider a family who has you for dinner affords a feast on less than you spend on a pair of shoes.

    I’m my humble opinion. Americans are arrogant, they have been brainwashed into thinking they have the answer to everything, they believe their culture is the greatest on earth and that the rules and mindset that they live by should be the rules and mindset that everyone should adhere to. Westerners are foolish, ignorant, arrogant, haughty and they think their shit doesn’t stink. Trust me, I’ve seen some Americans pass through here, They were the same narrow minded assholes I left behind.

    If you decide to come to Romania, leave your opinions at the gate, and come with a clear and open mind.

    • J.S. Bangs

      I actually agree with basically everything you say here. I love Romania, or else I wouldn’t have gone to live there for a year, and I wouldn’t have married a Romanian. But apparently NO ONE reads the followup article that I posted, in which I mentioned all of the awesome things about the country.

    • Nice comment Dale but i wonder if you are of romanian heritage? if not you said pretty bad thinks about americans which are not totally true. An American he would not call someone with an accent “hey eastern european” like in canada. an american he has more patriotism than canadians (check olympics for the national anthem how they tear down and stupid canadians they’re laughing) and guess what – canadians new generations are all from eastern europe or arabic countries which are the most racist people and they don’t or never like the canadian system or the economics they will never integrate as true citizens and they will look back to the country of origin. ( i can see this in myself I’m not proud of that but that is the true) this cases you don’t see in usa and when i travel to seattle like every 2 weeks i really enjoy my time. they never asked me where i am from because of the my accent, but every single fuckin’ canadian asked me that. FYI i live in bc for the last 16y and i love my country but don’t tell me that BS about gypsies, they’re all fukin the same crooks.
      BTW you didn’t see arrogant and ignorant romanians ??? i think are more than americans and they think they are smarter too, even than you Dale , where are you living now ? in a small village , just take a train and go to the big cities or even Bucuresti than you’ll see the real arrogance.

  27. Melanie

    Thank you for posting this. I’m a Filipina American, born and raised in LA, and am going to Romania next week for a quick vacation for 10 days. It will just be me and my sister and we’re a little worried about how people will react to us. We know we’ll stand out, of course, but we’re hoping the reaction of the locals would be of curiosity rather than a complete negative reaction towards us. We’re staying in Bucharest for the majority of our stay and will be taking a side trip to Brasov as well. Is there any advice you have for us in regards to safety or what to expect? Neither of us speak the language and we actually don’t know anyone in the country. Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • J.S. Bangs

      Your expectation is pretty accurate: you’ll definitely meet a lot of curiosity, but I doubt you’ll meet very much hostility. Bucharest in particular is a lot more cosmopolitan than the more outlying areas of Romania, and I doubt that many people will treat you poorly. If you stayed in the country for longer you’d probably see more of these attitudes in action, but I don’t think that you’ll have a lot of trouble for your length of stay.

      Enjoy your trip! Brasov in particular is gorgeous, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

    • cristina

      don’t worry, nobody is going to treat you badly , I feel weird just saying that because I never thought that somebody will feel that they are going to be treated poorly in my country ….enjoy your trip, keep an open mind and let us know how it went! LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU

      • Melanie

        Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate it. I didn’t mean anything by my post and hopefully you didn’t think I was stating that I’ll be expecting to be treated poorly in Romania. I’m just being cautious seeing that when we do travel, most people don’t know what a Filipina looks like and we get mixed reactions, especially since we have purely American accents and it’s somewhat unexpected when looking at our faces. I’m excited to go and can’t wait to meet some fun Romanians!

  28. cristina

    make sure you visit the old center where all the nice cafes and bistros are …and if you decide to leave Bucharest do go to Brasov and if by chance you get to Baia Mare ( N-V part of Romania , near the hungarian border ) i’ll be more than happy to show you around :)

    • Valerie

      Am Zambian, am scheduled to be in Romania next year February for a whole year. Ill be in Valcea County, what should I expect? I must say some comments on this post are scary, I ve been watching documentaries on Romania, I think it’s a beautiful place, it’s just nerve wrecking for someone who has stayed there to say “you may be taking a walk in the park and you will be beaten” .
      Nevertheless am looking forward to my 12 months in Romania.

  29. Those were a lot of comments to read man. So … here’s my point of view : I guess I fucking hate my country when it comes about certain things but when I hear a foreigner talking shit about Romania, I get pissed. If a Romanian would say bad things about his country, I’m pretty cool with it. Because a native Romanian knows all the upsides and downsides so he’s allowed to say how stuff really are.

    I do want to leave somewhere else because of the corruption and lack of support coming from the government side. It’s not my fault that people who have the power are corrupted and greedy. It’s not my fault that the wages are small in Romania.

    Despite of all that, I still have a moral values system. And just like me are a lot of young men. Most of them. As you may see, a lot of Romanians are replying on this post using your native language that should make you see that you are talking with people who got educated. And education means civilization. Please keep in mind that English language is not at all alike with Romanian language. How many languages most of the Americans know ? You got the idea ?

    It’s normal to have these reactions on your article because Romanians had enough shit from others and we can’t take it anymore. We’re fed up ! We feel that we are always treated with superiority by the western culture.

    If you are a person who plans to visit Romania, you are more then welcome to do so. You’re not coming in a savage country, we’re not cannibals, we don’t have rules that could harm you like in the Arab countries. You could have the same life in Romania just like in USA or any other country. Most of us don’t afford it because the damn wages. The economy sucks but that’s an advantage for you as an outsider. You get a lot of cheap stuff here.

    PS : Germany can suck my balls with their nazi mentality towards Romanians and Bulgarians ( feel free to delete this last part if you don’t want it post it on your website ).

    Cheers from Romania mate ! You got a nice place here !

    • J.S. Bangs

      Pasagerul:

      Am invatat si eu limba voastra, deci sa nu vorbim aici de capacitate cu limbi straine. Eu apreciez foarte mult tara voastra, altfel nu as fi petrecut atata timp acolo. Totusi, ai demonstrat foarte bine in comentariul tau faptul ca multi romani se simt jigniti si nerespectati de catre tarile din europa de vest, si aceasta atitudine se dovedeste in interactiunea lor cu oameni straini. Cat despre mine, sunt pe partea voastra: Romania este o tara minunata, care are o imagine proasta in strainatate care nu o merita, si vreau sa-i incurajez pe oameni sa mearga acolo, sa invete cate ceva despre o tara mai necunoscuta. Dar tema acestui articol este sa le si spun ceva POZITIV dar REALIST, fiindca este foarte probabil ca daca stau mai mult timp in Romania se vor intalni cu atitudinile descrise aici, si vreau ca ei sa fie pregatiti. Daca am fost prea negativ, poate ca oamenii vor fi surprinsi in mod placut ca lucrurile nu sunt chiar asa de rele.

      Sper ca oamenii citesc si celalalt articol despre lucrurile mele preferate din Romania. Probabil ca ar trebui sa fac link-ul mai vizibil.

  30. Ghita

    I think the real asshole , is the arrogant , Beta male , middle-class North American , who thinks his western morals are holier than thou. The guy is ready to brainwash his entourage with his marxist PC bullshit ideologies.

  31. Lucian, I’m Andrei, the one you addressed (don’t know how my name will appear at this new post).

    21 years ago (in 1992) me and my brother (I was 20 back then)have obtained the right to emigrate in Canada at our father’s request (he was living there). My brother emigrated and I remained in Romania. Now he (my brother) regrets his decisionand me, I don’t. In fact, even if I had the papers to emigrate made by my father, I never thought to do this, because one year before that (in 1991) I had stayed a month in Canada and didn’t liked at all.

    As I refused their acceptance, I had problems afterward in obtaining a visa for visit.

    The rest of your message (like mine previous one too) is redundant :).

  32. Bucharest born and raised

    I think it’s great that you chose to comment on an issue many Romanians sweep under the rug. The mere fact you got so many hostile comments is proof of the inferiority complex you were talking about and the huge chip on their shoulders. Yes, I am a Romanian, but I choose not to pretend these problems don’t exist, like so many people do.

    This attitude is not just visible in dealing with foreigners but also among Romanians. There is a Romanian saying “sa mai moara si capra vecinului” I’m sure you know what it means but for the others, it means something like “I hope the neighbour’s goat dies too”, as in, everyone is getting ahead, everyone else is better, why don’t I belittle them a bit so they’re at the same level or below me? instead of trying to improve their own condition, they put others down. Classic low self esteem behavior. This is borne out of the age-old condition of the Romanian peasant, being a serf to the feudal lord (a practice which only finally disappeared around 100 years ago), thus, seeing people get ahead is a cause for major frustration and makes people have the exact same behavior, because it’s supposedly “their turn” to be rich.

    One of the best examples of this is how Romanians behave in traffic, especially in Bucharest or on the main highways. If you ride a bicycle or motorbike, you can kiss the right of way goodbye, because some people who own cars (especially 4×4′s) like to vent their frustration by behaving like the kings of the road. The mentality is “I am opressed and put down everywhere, at least on the road I’m king, look how I cut that little bitch off, I’m so awesome”. This sullen bullied kid mentality extends almost in all walks of life: those who differ from the norm are sometimes met with hostility (LGBT parades as just one example), minorities who ask for their culture and way of life to be preserved are ignored and thus leave the country en masse (Germans), or are actively put down regardless of background or political opinion (Hungarians).

    The fact that some girls (almost all of them uneducated) are very attracted to foreign money only serves to feed this resentment. On this note, another opinion I hear sometimes is that “nowhere is it worse than in Romania”, I heard it said about Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, just to name a few places where the situation is similar to here, Spain and Greece, where apparently the economy is doing very well even compared to Romania (sarcasm) and obviously with the rest of western Europe. Probably the most ignorant opinion I’ve ever heard, expressed mostly by people who have never been in these parts (or have been there only as tourists) or who have never even spoken to a Russian, Turk, etc.

    There is still the situation that most people in Romania (I would say around 60%) have never actually discussed or had any meaningful contact with a foreigner. That’s why some people are completely oblivious to other countries and cultures or even what goes on in the world at large. There are jokes about Somalis being skinny and people laugh about it, but if you make a joke about Romanians being poor beggars it’s not okay. And if some Romanians would see a news title that says “90% of Italians scientifically proven to be retarded” they will laugh it out. But if they hear the same about Romanians, suddenly it’s not so funny anymore: the inferiority complex again. To this day, it’s difficult for me to fathom how offensive some conversations sound if they would be translated in English, it would probably provoke hostility or at least make any decent Westerner’s blood boil, these mysterious people Romanians aspire to be and be paid like. What these people don’t realize is that first there was the mindset, the behaviour, then came the money and welfare as a direct result.

    And to people who complain about the witchcraft part, everyone should remember the case in Oltenia from just a few years ago, where some villagers actually thought a guy who recently died came back from the dead as a vampire/evil spirit (strigoi), exhumed him, drove a stake through his heart, burned his heart at a crossroad and drank the ashes mixed with water. That’s just one of the most extreme cases but these kinds of behaviors are everywhere, in the countryside especially but also in the city folk, yes, in Bucharest too. If witchcraft and magic weren’t that popular here, then why are there actual ads in the newspapers (some even have websites) for witches and healers?

    And I disagree with the person who says that these issues are all over the world. Another slice of the Romanian belittling mentality: so if racism and laziness is everywhere, apparently that makes the problem magically go away? that is exactly the opposite mindset of Western society. We may have these problems but we can fix them and be better than the rest, if we choose not to act because it’s the same everywhere, we would still be in the stone age :)

    I think the best example is the following very sad but true conversation you’re bound to have if asking the “right” persons about this issue:

    American/Westerner: Do you consider yourself racist?
    Romanian: Me, a racist? Never!
    A/W: What do you think about blacks?
    Romanian: I love blacks!
    A/W: What about jews?
    R: Sometimes, yes.
    A/W: Secui? (Ethnic Hungarians with Romanian nationality)
    R: I dislike them.
    A/W: What about gypsies, do you like them?
    R: KILL THEM ALL!!

    It’s true, the Romanian Gypsies are not always the best examples of how to behave in society. But the Romanians are not innocent either, and only by building friendship and contact between ethnic groups would it be possible to have a united society where everyone can coexist for the greater good. To that extent it’s very important NOT to give money to beggars (of any ethnicity or age, anywhere) but to assist established charities in actually helping these people get good food and education. There are tons of them in Bucharest alone.

    Thankfully not all people are like the ones I described in this post, but like I said I choose not to sweep these issues under the rug. Major cities like Bucharest, Iasi, Timisoara, Constanta etc. and most of Transylvania are quite modern and cosmopolitan, and are genuinely nice places to live in, with a few rough areas where even most locals won’t go.

  33. socialgameshack

    You all speak about gypsies like that because you have never been mugged by one or beaten to a pulp for the mere reason that you looked at them in a “particular” way! yes we are quite racist, but keep in mind that, like back people or “color people” we have been oppressed in the past by Secui and Turks, and for this reason some of that hate has been passed from generation to generation. Look at this matter for our point of view! They all say that white people are the racist ones but is not true… in America (USA) for example, black people call white ones “crackers” and nothing happens or there is a small chance to offend someone by calling him this way, but if you call a black person “nigger” you have a big chance to stay in the prison for the rest of the night. And please keep in mind that we are not the racist ones in Romania, try asking a secui about us like a people or a gypsy – we simply respond with the same amount of hatred towards those who hate us.

    I am not offended about your article, but please try to get the facts right! We are not always the bad ones in this equation. As you said, some people will be assholes because that’s their nature, but the big majority or Romanians are kind and warm people.

    We, sometimes get frustrated because we are confused abroad with gypsies because the official nomenclature: they are official called ROMANES and we are ROMANIANS. And there is no stereotype that gypsies are thieves and hustlers (search YouTube!) – at least 90% of them; and if you have that much of a courage try going at the down on a walk trough Ferentari (a neighbourhood from Bucharest) – that will change your opinion about gypsies FOREVER! :))

    PS: Sorry for my bad English, and I hope I didn’t offended anyone reading this comment, or the Author.

  34. Mister J.S. Bangs Let me ask you a few things about gypsies.

    Did you know that our passed president Ceausescu gave them houses to live in and they took their horses and stabled them inside those houses while the gypsies slept in tents?

    Did you know they receive a lot of help from the state generally because they make 5 to 10 kids that live in poor conditions because their parents like to gamble and drink the money they get?

    Did you know some of them break their children’s legs so they can “beg more convincingly”?

    Did you know a lot of them do not pay any electrical bills but instead steal electricity or they simply never get it cut down by the authorities because they’re afraid to enter a gypsy neighborhood?

    Did you know gypsies can rob you blind or beat you on the street if they don’t like your face?

    Did you know that most gypsies receive no education because their parents simply won’t allow it?

    Did you know that racism towards gypsies does not equal racism towards any other race (Romanian perspective)? Explanation: We don’t tolerate them or their behavior, we fear them.

    Did you know there is a large quantity of gypsies that have a driver licence without knowing how to read?

    Did you know a gypsy might throw his baby on your slow moving car and then mug you for money because you ran over his child?

    You might think I am inventing these things, think again. I admit that I hate gypsies but not because they are black, yellow, red, green or blue. I don’t hate a race based on color, culture or religion beliefs. I judge a race based on the individuals in it and I have yet to meet a good gypsy, take in consideration that I have met plenty.

    Where I am trying to go with this is that I’ve been living in Romania for over 20 years and trust me when I tell you, they are extraordinary to say the least. You will rarely find a decent man that is gypsy. The stereotypes that you mentioned are in fact true and in no way a misconception formed out of ignorant minds. Almost all Romanians had a quarrel with gypsies at least once and 90% of the time not started by the Romanian himself. You might say that I’m an ignorant prick, but I live near one such neighborhood and you wouldn’t believe your eyes of the things I’ve seen them doing. Most Romanians are indeed trapped in a long forgotten era and they can’t cope with the present that well, most of them (specially the ones from the rural part of the country) are uneducated individuals that only go about their daily lives, but at least they work hard to bring some food to the table. Gypsies will generally procure money and then waste them on gambling or drinking, but never on raising their kids or rising from poverty. The wealthy gypsies which literally have palaces are the ones that either have a singing voice and made a hit in this country with commercially, not so smart music, or the ones that are in political roots.

  35. RB

    I’m afraid Kain Alin and socialgameshack are right in most of their assertions, Mr Bangs. You should watch any of the many documentaries carried out not by Romanians, but Western television companies about gypsies and their lifestyle to see it for yourself.

    Indeed, it’s very easy to assume we’re all a bunch of narrow-minded racists hating them for their skin color – if, that is, you don’t know how stubborn they are as a group to preserve their backward habits such as those described by Alin above me, with any efforts to fix the issue being condemned as “disrespecting their cultural identity”. You know what’s the really sad part? The gypsies who are indeed honest, hard-working and strive for a better life for their kids, as well as gypsy kids who are respectful, hardworking and bright students are all lumped together with the more criminally-inclined ones, to use a euphemism, and are all hated and discriminated despite being at no fault whatsoever. THAT’S the real drama, Mr Bangs.

    So, unless you know the issue in-depth and only have a narrow insight into it, you should not be so quick to show up with holier than thou principles and order Romanians to be more open minded, since – not gonna lie – it comes off as hypocritical.

    • J.S. Bangs

      I don’t think that Romanians are narrow-minded racists. Quite the opposite, there are very good reasons for Romanians to feel as they do, and I pointed out some of them in my article. This may have been overly subtle, but the reason that I referred to the holier-than-though Western view as “Stuff White People Think” was to satirize that view (alluding to Stuff White People Like), since it’s typical of the way that American liberals think about racism, especially other people’s racism.

      In fact, my main goal in writing about the situation of the gypsies in Romania is to point out that the condescending purity of thought which is so treasured by Western liberals is essentially useless in both dealing with Romanian attitudes and actually helping the gypsies.

      • RB

        Well, now that you put it that way, I’ve reread that part in that light, and indeed it starts to makes more sense and I can see your point better now. I apologize if I came off as caustic or abrupt.

        Unfortunately, most readers here didn’t get the subtlety and like I said in another comment somewhere around here, it’s very difficult to wash away their bitterness. On another note, you should read the Wikipedia articles on “Vin americanii!” and “Percentages agreement” to get a better view of why Romania felt betrayed and mistreated by the West.

        Anyway, thanks for your quick reply. And congrats for your command of the Romanian language. Vă descurcaţi destul de bine. :D

  36. Manish

    I find some of the comments ridiculous. I come from India, lived in Bucharest for 7 year, and have had the opportunity to study in this beautiful country. Yes. there are problems, some people might be greedy, some might want money and laptops while some Romanian women might not be that nice. Great deal! Tell me one country where all the natives are so so nice that flowers bloom themselves. Romanians are an amazing lot. They make good friends and are decent to core. Of course, their women are adorable. You have to live there (for as long as I have done) to get the essence of its culture and people. Its unfortunate, to make small comments on smaller things on this site and abuse each other of human weaknesses we all have!

  37. Melanie

    I replied onto this page back in February before my 10 day trip to Romania. I didn’t know what to expect and by the end of my trip, I was crying dramatically to my sister at the airport telling her I didn’t want to return to LA. I fell in love with Romania when I was there to the point where I booked a one month trip this August. I’m a Filipina American, born and raised in LA, and yes the “exotic” face definitely grabbed attention, but not at all negative. The attention was actually quite overwhelming at times, but it never crossed the line of making me feel uncomfortable. It was even comical sometimes seeing the reaction of people’s faces when I spoke to them in English because they assumed I would have an Asian accent. The people there are so warm and incredibly hospitable to tourist. I even met with a CNN photographer who took me to the outer parts of the city to meet with a gypsy to get my cards read. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to return. This was my first trip to Romania and my first trip to Europe in general. No one understood why I chose to visit there, especially the Romanians when I could have chosen the typical European countries to visit like Italy or France. But, after my trip, I’m telling everyone to visit Romania. The country and the culture are amazing. I can’t wait to return this August!

  38. Manish

    Roxi pointed out something important

    “”What Romania misses the most is the romanians who help their country, honest people who work before blaming people for what they have, who look the bright side of it, not only the bad things that every country has it, Romania misses the confidence of the romanians”.

    I think its a problem with any country dealing and dwelling in the imperfections of capitalism…

  39. Vlad

    I`m glad you find Romania interesting and exotic, anyhow its myriad problems obscure by far interesting things and people.
    No, no, I`m not talking about almost general filthy manners on the street and not only, littering and poverty – this is common to I think 2/3 of this world and this doesn`t make those places not (even very) worth living there. Left apart funked agriculture.
    I`m talking about:
    1) poor funked infrastructure – Romania has the population of two large cities in China (if still), but everywhere you go in China (in the urban area, but not only), infrastructure is very fine. I`ve been living in China for several months recently.
    2) Very poor education and health funding, which makes many Romanians very proud in comparing themselves with peoples they hardly know everything about (“Nigerians”). Everything that is stupid and underdeveloped in Romania is simply not Romanian, but Nigerian-like. How funny.
    2) Arrogance – totally dazing and with no real ground – O.K., if you are a person with remarkable professional accomplishments, than it can be acceptable and, if you are such a person, maybe you`ll also be arrogant in a very subtle way. But people with no
    real merits in this life and world are actually just frustrated that they pretend from others to give them priority even when they clearly don`t deserve it – on the street, in traffic, standing in line, etc. They think standing in front of you (until you simply kick them off your way, literally or not) and insulting your family are attributes of a “civilised”, “European”, “superior” people – this is actually their way of trying to get attention, because they lack other qualities. Nowhere in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Israel, countries I know quite well is insulting one`s family a habit, as if an attribute of superiority and intelligence.
    3) Only some of the Romanians advertising Romania abroad are gipsies. But it`s Romanian culture (in general) to blame others and find scapegoats instead of being responsible and taking initiative. If Romania had e.g. a Filipino minority, maybe they became no1 to blame.
    4) Romanians, horribly many like to tell many stupid and dirty things about people from Western Europe and not only, even if they were given a chance there, a loaf of bread, a shelter, a chance to make more money than their lousy jobs in Romania. Lots of people think that Romanians are more intelligent and cultivated than other peoples. Many, quite many Romanians are not honestly hospitable, believe me, they are just in for some money and easy gain and ready to do that with everyone. I`ve also been cajoled and when refusing to do a favour, ignored afterwards as if I never knew those people.
    5) Show-off mentality: rather ridiculous than purely annoying, this is something Romanians have maybe borrowed from Russians and share with most of our Balkan United League. Why – because it makes you not “fraier” and fancy.
    6) Hosting dogs inside blocks and feeding them there until they empty their bowels in pure joy there. It is not something of religion or symbolism like in India and I could bet Indians don`t shelter cows in their homes.
    7) Where are the money from FMI?
    8) There was a crime recently last November in central Bucharest. A 29-year old KILLED for asking a shithead politely to appologise for insulting his girlfriend. In the centre of a developed, European country. How nice. Where was the police? Where was Europe (I guess too far). In awfully many countries this would be inconceivable in such a place.
    9) Women are frequently harassed and aggressed in public transport, on the street, in some companies. This would not happen in another part of Europe or in an Islamic country, e.g., and not only.
    10) Romanians are so poor at commerce, no offense and no surprise Bulgarians (not much better overall) attract much more tourists. If you want to gain money without offering quality instead, then go beg on the street in another country.
    11) Why did Brancusi and Grigore Moisil leave (to mention only a few)? They were very intelligent, gifted men who… were not considered really important for their country.
    12) Why is it so hard to change a context for the good in Romania – because of laziness and scapegoat-finding mentality.
    Correct me if I`m wrong, please.

  40. Vlad

    Comment was erased. Dear friend (I mean the word) sorry if I upset you in any way. If you think what I said about Romania is wrong, I will still stick to my opinion and not argue. The shit is shitty enough around here, anyway., in Romania. I wish you a fine time everyday and, just as a suggestion, you might also want to visit Hungary (and Austria) and compare especially the former with Romania. There is still quite a difference, comparing just Budapest with Bucharest. And screw people who blame it on socialism yeah!!!

  41. JJ

    Romanians’ racism runs very deep. They don’t only reject Gypsy people for being dirty uneducated thieves, because there are many honest decent and hard-working Gypsy people who suffer the same discrimination just because they are tanned or they may not even be tanned actually.

    British newspapers published at the beginning of this year racist comments made by Romanian people about other nationalities living in Great Britain. Those Romanians were all interested in emigrating to GB but even before stepping out of Romania they were rejecting and giving offending names to people of other nationalities that according to history are more entitled to be given a chance for a better life over there. Yes, India, Pakistan, etc., have been British colonies for many years and those people tanned or not, have more right to emigrate to GB than Romanians could ever have. Ridiculous, isn’t it? That’s how Romanians looked like when all this was published, especially because several international campaigns were made at that time for allowing Romanians to emigrate to GB.

    Racism is bad, ugly and unfair. It’s retarded. It’s against everything humanity has learnt throughout history. It’s never justified no matter what.

    • altul

      Romanians are very critical, even towards their own families. It is not necessarily out of hate towards a certain group. In communist Romania the motto for schools was “never tell them they did good, so they will always strive to better themselves”. Now we know that this is not necessarily true and actually encouragement is better to improve one’s self esteem. But unfortunately there is still a generation which is educated in the old ways. That does not necessarily make Romanians very racist. Because they are critical towards everyone with no discrimination.

      • Marta

        No, ALTUL, Romanians are not critical. They are judgemental, selfish and narrow minded. Nice try though!

  42. ANA_MATEC

    After reading all the Romanian remarks to J.S. Bangs, alot of AMERICANS are reading the things romanian people are saying and are shocked…you guys seem mean and un-willing to accept anyone elses opinion.I am 22 years old and I have been to Europe many times! I know alot of romanians in america too and they are nice (the ones I know) but he is not saying “all” Romanians.

    Another thing, some of the things he says are true (as we have PROOF from some people on this site that it can happen) it has happened! to american people that I know. But romanians are very beautiful, romantic and can be good friends if just stopped letting “some” make it our opinions. I love Romania, I just wish the Romanian people reading his article, do not get offended.
    My first time in Europe “some” people werent nice to me, but now its “‎Buna dimineata!” and sometimes “salut” and I love it!

  43. well,I haven’t read all yet,but I have to tell you how romanians really see themself(yes,I’m romanian)
    first,about the racism:
    we really hate gypsies,a lot,because most of them don’t pass the 5th grade,and if they do,that’s cause the teachers let them pass,even if they had only Fs,and that whould NEVER happen to romanians,and as someone who met many gypsies,I can say that they are shitty
    and then,we dislike hungarians,because they keep saying that the Ardeal (Transilvania)is theirs,and if you are from Transilvania(just like me)that grinds your gears
    then,we dislike french,that’s a fight that started much time ago,because french make a confusion about romanians(half dacians,half latin)and romas(the gypsies,which came here from india,from the 14th-15th century)
    about black people:no.we don’t dislike them,but you only see them in bucharest,or another big cities,I like black people,like dr dre,snoop,many others

    and about the peoples asking for moneys,yes,we are friendly,and we assume that if we help you,you should help us too,cause that’s what friends are for
    and another thing,in a city from austria/croatia,there was a group of burglars,and the news papers assumed they are romanians ’cause they were speaking something on the phone that sounded like romanian,and they keept saying they are from romania,but the cops got them,and found out they are russians,actually,but NONE of the news papers wrote something to apologise!

  44. altul

    I have many things to say about these comments here. first of all I am a Romanian living in USA since over 20 years ago. I think that there are good points on both sides and that’s what makes it so difficult to come to an understanding. first of all all the westerners have NO RIGHT to accuse the Romanians. you have no idea what it means to live in a communist country and just when you think things will get better the whole political system gets highjacked by all the immoral opportunistic bunch of people who sold the country for a fist full of dollars. as of now entire factories have been systematicly dismembered and sold for scrap metal. most of these factories have been bought by foreigners which have no compassion for the Romanian people. and on top of that they expect all the Romanians to behave like an ideal citizen. yes Romanians have very low self esteem. they have no production factories no more. people have to go outside to work in demeaning jobs for the west. most of those people have degrees in medicine science etc. Also they are surrounded by people who given the opportunity will destroy them in heart beat. Only Israel knows what that feels like. Romanians always had to make deals political wise and economical ,that were not beneficial for them. As a result the economy suffered greatly. As of now most minorities have rights in Romania. Go to Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia,Greece, Ucraine and see if you even are able to find a school in Romanian language or any kind of Romanian representation on their political arena. There is none in all those countries. And Romanians have been a minority in those countries for centuries. But in Romania you will find representatives for all minorities including gypsies. Not rroma. And another thing, nobody asked us Romanians if the name rroma should be accepted. Those people who chose this name for gypsies were not even gypsies themselves. But this was done on purpose to create a confussion and to denigrate the Romanian people. Yes Romanians have had it. They hardly seem to see a better future for themselves. And just when they thought to finally be accepted by the European community these gypsies come along and pretty much destroys any opportunity for the Romanians to be seen as a civilized people. Think about it. A gypsie goes to any country in the west and commits a crime. He or she is send back to Romania after entire news stations create a sensation around the crime. The criminal cannot be tired in Romania because he of she did not commit the crime in Romania and the authorities lets them free.They keep applying for a visa to go back to a western country and the authorities cannot say no out of fear that this person will scream discrimination. And they travel again abroad and the whole cycle continues.It is a problem created by the west not Romania. Yes there are many good gypsies who are integrating into the society. But unless most if not all gypsies try to integrate and become upstanding citizens this problem will continue and it will affect all western countries…

  45. James Caudill

    I am an American, and have visited Romania twice. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I think Romania and it’s people are wonderful-I hope they can build a feeling of pride in their country. We must all realize that every country has bad and good-things to be proud of, and things to be ashamed of…….and also, we all like to complain about our own land, but don’t like it when others do. I was as surprised to learn about some Romanian’s view of Americans as they were of my preconceived ideas. What a beautiful country Romania is, and so much history!

  46. It is very easy to laugh and to talk bad about a country and its people. Please you all americans and europeans come here and live with minimum or average payment and then talk about us. Your govs distroyed our economy and make us slaves for life. We were a rich country, with good economy and agriculture. Then US involved in our business and all ruined. American gov did that to many other small countries. Your govs came here and gave bribes to our stupid leaders and they fucked this country without thinking a second. And now you americans come here and judging us. For what? We try to struggle every day and you want us to welcome you and to treat you like kings maybe? Europe and America distroyed our economy and now selling their shitty products here. The romanian products ( as much as we have) are all going to export and we are forced to eat your shitty products full of chemicals and expensive. You all should thank us for being your trash bin and not to judge us. But ask yourself why we accepted? Because we had no choice. We are a small country and how can we say no when great America and Europe ask for something. If we would had said no then we would had been attached like other countries from Middle East. Yes we are the dust bin of America and Europe, many of us are greedy and behind the money, many of us are poor, many are very proud, many are racist and so on but i think similar you will get in your countries too. So if you want to exercise your skills in writting better write about you, your countries, your people and let us live the way we can. I don’t have such a great life in Romania but i will never go to work and live in America. At least here i work for me and my people not for some stupid racist that are hating me and my birth country.

  47. Roman man

    Foreigners are lacking the knowledge required for proper understanding of gypsies “culture”. Below we have a small part from a gypsy song which should guide you as to why Romanians don’t like most gypsies.

    “Cine m-a-ndemnat pe mine,
    Si nu m-a-ndemnat la bine,
    M-a-nvatat sa fur de mic,
    Si sa fiu mare bandit

    Intr-o seara eram beat,
    De prin vecini am furat,
    Truda lor de ani de zile,
    Sa pot trai si eu bine.”

    Albatros vol. 4

    Translation:

    “Who was it that advised me,
    And did not guide me to do any good,
    They taught me to STEAL since I was a child,
    And they taught me to be a great BANDIT.

    One evening I was drunk,
    And I STOLE from my neighbors
    All their goods that were earned over many years,
    So I can live good.”

    There is no need to look anywhere else, just listen to the lyrics of the gypsy songs; using music, the gypsies themselves are expounding their “culture” of thieves and bandits. Now according to westerner/foreigner logic, it would appear that gypsies themselves are RACIST…

  48. steph

    Your opinion on gypsies is complete bull. I am from britain and in the past 5 years my country has seen mass migration of gypsies. I can tell you that every stereotype is very real. From my experience All gypsies are eithrr beggars, thieves, or prostitutes. Their culture is not beautiful but quite disgusting

    • cristina

      Now you can understand why Romanians don’t want to be associated with gypsies especially in the UK where there are upfront campaigns against Romanians (please do not deny it ). Yes, some gypsies are like that. Not all, but the majority of them, and unfortunately they are the reason that Romanians got a bad name. I know plenty of Romanians working in the UK who suffered because when they said they were from Romania, people would think they are gypsies who steal and beg , and I am telling you this is not the case with most Romanians. How can we not be angry with the Gypsies when all they do is make a bad name for Romanians abroad. ( The main confusion was made when the gouvernment let them change their nationality from Gypsies to Rromani – which is not the same thing as Romanians but sounds very much like it thus the confusion with Romanians. )I lived in UK for a while and my boyfriends family is English and I did not have any problems regarding my Romanian heritage but I know lots of people who had.

      • Marta

        Come on, Cristina! I’ve lived abroad for a long time and I see and hear many white Romanian people who make me understand why so many countries don’t want to have them there!

    • Marta

      Well, many British people who decide to live abroad engage themselves in some kind of illegal business, but that can’t be what all British people do, don’t you think? I’ve personally read more articles in newspapers about felonies committed by British emigrants than by Gypsies or Romanians and I don’t need to open any history book to read muuuch more about the same.

  49. Matt-Engluzu-BV

    So then in Summary we are ALL guilty of Xenophobia.
    (A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.)

  50. heliana

    Dear Mr. Bangs,

    You are making some terribly sweeping statements about Romania, Romanian culture, and Romanians. I’m certainly not going to argue with your experience in Romania, but please keep in mind your experience was limited – by time, circumstance, and place. Roma people do carry a very heavy burden of prejudice and racism in Romania – that’s a fact that can’t be argued with, but the rest of your argument is tenuous and simply reflects your own circumstances and the Romanian social and economic milieu you’ve married into. Not all Romanians take their American cultural cues from hip-hop songs and super violent movies. Not all Romanians expect gifts from ‘rich’ foreigners. Not all Romanians have an inferiority complex. Not all Romanians think Roma people are witches. You pass judgement from a position of superiority you simply don’t have – although you may come from better circumstances – social and educational. I don’t know if you do this with your Romanian acquaintances but a slight superiority complex does have a negative emotional effect on an audience. And you may also be correct to a certain degree – but only in your own Romanian social circle. Please remember your social circle, as wide as it may seem is not Romania, it doesn’t fully represent Romanian people, and you only have a very shallow, colloquial knowledge of Romanian culture. In fact, you’re just as guilty of misinterpreting Romanian culture as any Romanian is guilty of misinterpreting Western culture, with one glaring difference – you’ve been immersed in both. Frankly, your blog post is both disappointing and revolting.

  51. alex

    Ended up here by chance… and can only say this… I am shocked.
    Never in my worst nightmares have I imagined shallow impressions combined with unchecked preconceptions in such a form.

    I can understand the anger and unfortunate past experiences… since most of you are on the topic of generalisation, when was the last time you read a book about anything that connects in any way to the romanian culture.

    How many of you can say at least 20 things about us without a google search, what we like, where do we live, what are our major cities, rivers, mountains, neighbours, history…
    If the first thought that crossed your mind is who cares, you just proven my point. Ignorance is not bliss.

    • J.S. Bangs

      I’m not sure who you’re directing this at, but I lived in Romania for a long time, my wife is Romanian, and I speak the Romanian language fluently. I probably know as much about Romanian culture, geography, and history as you do. I’m not speaking out of ignorance, but giving an honest impression. I will grant that some of the things here are out of date, since I last lived in the country in 2004, and things have changed a lot since then.

      • alex

        That is the bitter tragedy, that you are probably one of the few americans that actually know something about us.
        The unfortunate thing is above all this you learned so little and shaken so few of your preconceptions even after you “tried” to understand us.
        I don’t know about american trends but basic human relations and attitudes don’t change in a decade. If we where so bad in 2004 we can’t be that good in 2014.
        I wouldn’t have bothered with a reply but surprisingly I really did felt offended. And ironically not by your words… even if most phrases contained cliches spread with “typical”, “everyone”, “all”…

        I felt more offended by you trying to justify your words with things being SO different 10 years ago something even more disrespectful. We are who we are “people” not the new re-imagined iPhone.
        So no, trying to bring your wife in to the equation hasn’t really helped you to better understand us. Unfortunately it’s not the get out of jail free card you hoped.
        Usually this kind of remarks followed by arrogance is annoying. And romanians will tolerate things that others may consider intolerable, but arrogance they will not usually tolerate. I suspect at first some of your opinions where just as bold in public and you got some remarks that made you feel bad. It’s like when people ask stupid questions about dracula, make confusion between budapest and bucharest or ask if we are called romanians because so many go searching for work in rome. What is the expression… “they had it coming”?
        In the information AGE it’s two clicks away simple to find out something about someone before he/she makes an assumption that can insult. If he/she is to lazy for the two clicks, insists on coming here and insists on behaving accordingly, what would he/she expect?

        PS: I have nothing against you, you are probably a nice person. Many cheers to you and your wife.

      • alex

        One last remark on the positive trend. If by chance you really want to shake your view about Romania you will find out just how little this culture has been studied, perceived and understood in the states. And not saying as a frustration more as a possibility for YOU. The best way to understand romania and romanians is in romanian, an edge that most americans don’t have and will never be able to comprehend when studiying them.
        PS: Your work looks interesting.

  52. I think you are perfectly right!!!
    I am a Romania and this is why I do not stay with Romanians .
    They are extremely rude, nasty and they have no respect at all for anybody and anything.
    However yes they are very racist even with the gypsies and they speak Romania too they don’t even like each other even though they grow up in the same country.
    Every single Romanian I meet they were racist. I speak, I was born and I grew up there and I know exactly how it is. They love to receive thigs from you all the time no matter what you are! Romanians only wants things from you.
    Now you all know that I am a pure Romanian and my personal opinion is that they are very: rude, disrespectful, nasty, ugly, selfish, racist, greedy, they only like to get things from you, love to copy, trick people, and most very poor and always like to put you down if you have more than them.

    • I can only say I feel very sorry for you. Are you never asking yourself how you only got people who wanted things from you, ugly (mind you, that’s not a choice), selfish, racist, greedy and disrespectful ones?
      Are you a rich person? What education you have? Which is the last book you’ve read and the last relaxing thing you’ve done?
      Cheers from a Romanian you have never met and your chances are very dim.

  53. Ravel Parsham

    Have you ever heard of the Rothschild, Goldman Sachs, the federal reserve bank of the US and central banks of the world, control over media and information etc.. Pretty Jewish!
    Don’t be ignorant ok

  54. nicholas williams

    i found the commments to be true & also false! my race /black! i moved to romania almost 4 years ago after i met my wife, (did not give up my u.s. citizenship & still maintain home in u.s). i have found live living in romania to be strange, different, scarey…but quite wonderful & full of suprises. i brought a lot of negative but also positive ideas with me but most of all i tried to approach it as new start, a chance to experience something new in my life. i am retired. a week after being here i had to have back surgery (found out sunday & had operation on wednesday), after care was entireley different (than what i would have gotten in the u.s. =..there was none)! lost my dad (u.s.) in 2005 but i traveled half way around the world to find another another set of extremely wonderful parents! i have found that life is too short to think small & be a slave of your past… romania like any other country does have its problems. i am sometimes amazed at the things i took for granted in the u.s., but they are lacking here (..which is ok), [like being very afraid when ever i venture out to ride my motorcycle, or just drive in traffic, misssing a lot of the fast foods, (& especially NO BAR B Q), do people stare, are they rude…yes to both but, often times the stares they are because of curiosity,rude…not always just there way of doing things. …remembering the first (only) time i was stopped by a police (heart was pounding 100+ beats per miute:>)… but it was just a routine stop (officer was just as shocked when i got off of motorcycle & took off helmet…ha ha! …if you have noticed my spelling, grammar, & punctuation in this note has been terrible… but yet i have communicated my message (no i am not uneducated / 14 years of school, jr.colledge, served in navy, 25 years a fireman & worked many partime jobs. married once before, have son & daughter in u.s, lost a daughter (accidently shot by a friend)& i have a daughter here in romania… in conclusion (a read a short poem (s) when i was a young child: 1-..everything i need to know to have a happy life is most times learned in child hood= watch young kids as they play & enjoy the moments of thier lives…2-there was this poem /story about a caterpillar that wanted to find the true meaning /true happiness of life so it set out on this dangerous journey (leaving behind his best friend)…he never completed his quest because the danger became greater than getting the answer…he found it just as hard trying to return & when almost there…he saw the most beautiful creature, but it also looked so familiar / it was his friend…now a butterfly…the whole idea of this fable is that the seeds of happiness & joy are almost always there within us just waitng to grow… life is life, you will always find good and bad moments… not much matters until you eventually come to the end of your life…THEN IF YOU ARE FORTUNATE TO KNOW THAT THE END IS NEAR.. but to smile knowing that the quality of your moments greatly out weigh the negative ones…that you have few regrets…you have had a good life. romania is indeed different…but u.s is also, but we carry happiness & adventure within us… experiences can be good or bad…but we ultimately have a choice to view ALL those moments as good or bad!! nick

  55. Marta

    I’d like to share a direct English language class experience I had once. Nine adults of five different nationalities had to prepare a description of their best friend that could be real or not. A Romanian woman from the group specified ”white skin” in her physical description and obviously that comment wasn’t made from her need to practice the new vocabulary. No one else needed to specify something like that in their descriptions and besides, one of the students was a dark-skinned Brazilian. Draw your own conclusions!

    • heliana

      Here’s my conclusion: ONE Romanian woman mentioned her friend has white skin. May have meant ‘fair” or “porcelain” but didn’t have the vocab resources.

      • Marta

        There was a certain emphasis on the ”white skin” term, Heliana, that lacked in the other elements of her description. She wouldn’t have had any problems in simply asking how do you say ”piele de portelan” or anything similar, because asking the teacher for different words or expressions was a normal part of the class.

        Here is my conclusion: as long as Romanians hide their deep racism and superiority complex beneath the false declaration that they hate gypsies because they steal, cheat, etc., when they actually despise any person of gypsy origin even if it’s perfectly integrated in Romania, honest, educated and hardworking, Romanians deserve to face racism and rejection, despite their good intentions and efforts, when looking for a better life abroad. Having a taste of your own medicine is only fair.

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